Continuing the Iron Horse Trail

Residents to help brainstorm on best path for new section

Plans are being made to close the gap in the Iron Horse Trail from the Pleasanton BART station to Santa Rita Road, and officials want to get ideas from the public.

The city and the East Bay Regional Park District, which oversees the trail, are hosting three community meetings to discuss the 1.6-mile extension, which will cut across Hacienda Business Park.

"The difficulty is that some areas in the business park were not set aside to accommodate a trail like this," explained city landscape architect Mike Fulford. "We will need creative solutions."

The first meeting will take place from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, June 22, at the Veterans Memorial Building, 301 Main St., Pleasanton.

"The idea is to pull ideas from the public," said Fulford.

The proposed alignment will pass under Interstate 580, follow the utilities through the BART main parking lot, pass through the Kaiser/Oracle offices, then through Creekside Park, according to Sean Dougan, resources analyst with the Park District's Trails Development Programs. It will then navigate the Stoneridge Drive/Santa Rita intersection to meet with the existing segment of the Iron Horse Trail on the south side of Santa Rita Road.

"We have not chosen an exact alignment at this point," said Dougan in an e-mail. "There was talk at one time of placing the alignment along Owens Drive and other streets as an alternative alignment but this was met with resistance from residents and the Pleasanton City Council who stated that Pleasanton wanted a '"real" Iron Horse Trail alignment!'"

Callander Associates has been hired to perform a feasibility study on the alignment. Its representatives will show maps and graphics at the June 22 meeting and solicit comments from the public.

"Callander Associates will evaluate the proposed alignment challenges, environmental impacts, traffic and arterial roadway crossing issues, existing utility conflicts and, most importantly, comments and concerns from Pleasanton residents and business owners," said Dougan.

"This is a really good consultant to have on board for this project," Fulford noted. "It has completed a number of projects similar to this and has a solid success rate."

Two years ago the portion of the Iron Horse Trail from Santa Rita Road to Busch Road was completed, and its landscaping is maturing nicely, said Fulford.

The Iron Horse Trail, when completed, will follow a 33-mile route that connects two counties and 12 cities, from Suisun Bay in Contra Costa County to Livermore, passing through residential and commercial areas and business parks. The multi-use trail is located primarily within the former Southern Pacific Railroad right of way that was established in 1891 and abandoned in 1977.

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Posted by Bike Advocate
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 11, 2010 at 11:22 am

I can't resist this one - I spoke publicly at the City Council meeting about 15 years ago when Hacienda Business Park received approval to encroach on the Iron Horse Trail. I urged the Council and Hacienda to reconsider, but they agreed it would be too expensive and disruptive to traffic to put the Iron Horse through. My parting shot was an open question that why they could not make it work when Bishop Ranch and San Ramon had. Now the costs will be an order of magnitude higher at a time when the economy may no support it, but the environment does. The lesson learned is that long term planning is much less expensive than short term reactions.

Like this comment
Posted by Kurt Kummer
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 12, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Yes 'Bike Advocate,' I know what you mean. It's so frustrating to lose a portion of a future trail when you know that may be the only chance to keep it. Then years later people say "What were they thinking - we have this nice trail up here, and a great trail down there, but they're not connected! Now what do we do? Why didn't folks realize how vital that little link was to the whole trail system?"

Very much like the trail link we just lost up at Oak Grove, unfortunately.

I hope E.B.R.P.D. can figure out a way to connect the Iron Horse Trail conveniently through Pleasanton, but I bet your comments 15 years ago, had they been taken more seriously, would have saved us a lot of time and money.

Thanks for your support for trails in, around and through Pleasanton. They're good for all of us. And I hope you have time to come and voice your thoughts at the public meeting June 22nd at the Vet's Hall. See you there!

Like this comment
Posted by frank
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm

when will the trail that parallels 680 and johnson drive (ending at the Hilton/Club Sport) be connected under 580 to the iron horse connector on the other side in Dublin? I've been waiting years to see that get finished too.....

Like this comment
Posted by Kurt Kummer
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 13, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Frank, that portion of Pleasanton's 'Trails Master Plan' will be under construction next Spring. It's called the Chabot Canal Trail, and you're right, it will be a great link in our trail system. People from Pleasanton will be able to go underneath 580 and immediately be at the Dublin Library, and then hook up with the Iron Horse Trail all the way to Martinez. How cool will that be?

It has taken longer that we'd have liked because we needed approvals from U.S. Fish & Game, EBRPD, CalTrans, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, B.A.R.T., Pleasanton and Dublin (am I missing anyone? Probably!) And then when those folks all agreed it was good to go, we got a grant from the U.S. government, but it required another environmental study to be done. So we wait another year but the feds pay for it. Or rather, we all pay for it, but it's spread out a little more.

Anyway, bottom line is pretty soon folks from Dublin and Pleasanton will be able to walk or bike to each other's town without having to brave the freeway overpasses. WooHoo!

Like this comment
Posted by Tango
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 17, 2010 at 12:28 am

So when the trail hooks up wth the part that goes from Sants Rita to Vally Ave near Busch rd , then where will it go?

Like this comment
Posted by Kurt Kummer
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 17, 2010 at 8:44 am

The plan is for the Iron Horse Trail to continue south along Valley Avenue to Stanley, where it will turn left and connect to Livermore. In fact, you can see the wide, meandering sidewalk already in place after you cross Busch. That piece was put in years ago in anticipation of it being part of the trail.

Like this comment
Posted by Tango
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 17, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Thank You Kirt. I thought the trail was to be for horses also, but what you are saying it dosen't sound like it. THe Mayor was the one who told me that the trail could be used by horses,

Like this comment
Posted by Kurt Kummer
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Hi Tango. The Iron Horse Trail throughout its entire length has a hard surface, and sometimes DG (decomposed granite)in a narrow path alongside. Most equestrians would simply ride their horses along the side of the hard trail, I think. We had several horses at the grand opening ceremony of the I.H.T. at Santa Rita / Busch, and they seemed to do just fine walking in the dirt alongside the path.

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