Adobe to become more important as staging area to new Ridge trail

More parking, restrooms, one-way Old Foothill Road as through street part of plan

The Pleasanton City Council has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the East Bay Regional Park District to add a new trail to the Pleasanton Ridge, using the Alviso Adobe Community Park as its primary staging area.

In addition to giving the park district approval to start the trail from the Adobe, the MOU proposes new parking, a restroom and a water fountain to accommodate more visitors to this expanded public open space.

Specifically, the plan calls for converting Old Foothill Road to a southbound, single-lane, one-way street and using the existing "extra lane" to provide 45-50 parallel parking spaces.

It also calls for creating an access point to the Ridge immediately west of the Alviso Adobe Community Park and a commitment from the park district to construct an additional trail-head, to be known as the Garms Staging Area, a mile to the north within five years.

The park district and a city task force saw the 231-acre Castleridge Property as a way to increase the size of public open space on the Pleasanton Ridge and provide an additional access point to the Ridge and its existing trails system.

Although moving parking and a staging area for a new and less-strenuous trail close to the Adobe, which has been under-used since its restoration, makes sense to many, not everyone agreed.

The city's Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Committee voted unanimously in support of the plan, but the city Planning Commission opposed it, expressing concern about the aesthetics of the restroom and potential impacts of the parking and trail on Alviso Adobe programs.

Others also have objected, including Dolores Bengtson, a self-described Alviso advocate and regional park supporter. She was concerned about the impact on the park's ability to maintain a peaceful, rural atmosphere. A regional park staging area is contrary to good park planning, she said.

The city's Parks and Recreation Commission also felt that the proposed parking plan will introduce too much activity next to Alviso Adobe Community Park and will detract from the park "experience." But city staff said that to reduce parking along Old Foothill Road would diminish needed parking and lose the effectiveness of the project.

The City Council agreed and has voted unanimously to endorse the new trail plan.

Councilwoman Karla Brown said that she supports the plan as an interim solution to gain access to the ridge, although she also asked city staff to look for parking elsewhere.

Under the terms of the MOU, the park district will pay for the parking on Old Foothill. If the parking was moved, the city would have to foot the bill.

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