Two decades after a Stanford expansion was OK’d, San Mateo County gets $5.2 million

After a decades-long debate on the regional impact of Stanford
University’s expansions, Santa Clara County has awarded its
neighbor to the north, San Mateo County, with $5.2 million to add
more trails and make recreational improvements at parks throughout
the area.

The funding commitment, which stems from a Stanford General Use
Permit approved in 2000, was finalized by the Santa Clara County
Board of Supervisors this week. It will help fund seven projects
across a handful of San Mateo communities, including Menlo Park,
East Palo Alto, Redwood City and Atherton.

“Development is increasingly regional, and the impacts of
development in our area are certainly felt on both sides of the
County line,” County Supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district
includes Stanford University and who led the effort to award the
funding to his nearby neighboring county, said in a news release.
“I’m pleased we’re able to work collaboratively with our
neighbors in San Mateo County.”

A Stanford University expansion plan approved by Santa Clara
Countyin 2000 allowed the institution to add 2 million square feet
of academic space and 3,000 housing units. But since the increased
development would inevitably place unforeseen demands on nearby
recreational facilities, the university was required to pay for
trails-related and recreational mitigation measures.

As part of an agreement between Stanford and Santa Clara County,
the university offered more than $10 million in grants to San Mateo
County to improve 2.1 miles of the Lower Alpine Trail, which runs
along Alpine Road. That offer expired before San Mateo County put
the funding to use, and by agreement, the funding then reverted to
Santa Clara County with the expectation that it be used to provide
recreational opportunities to Stanford campus residents and
facility users.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors put $5.5 million of
that money toward Palo Alto’s Adobe Creek/Highway 101 bicycle
overcrossing project and $400,000 for the Midpeninsula Regional
Open Space District’s Ravenswood Bay Trail Connector project in
East Palo Alto.

The remaining funds, which were approved this week, will go
toward the following San Mateo County projects:

  • Addition of new amenities at San Mateo County’s Reimagine
    Flood Park in conformance with the Park Landscape Plan, including a
    new baseball field and a track for mountain and dirt bikes
  • Construction of new accessible pathways at Holbrook Palmer Park
    in Atherton
  • Installation of lighting fixtures at East Palo Alto’s Martin
    Luther King Park.
  • Construction of a new pedestrian overcrossing at the US
    101/University Avenue Interchange in East Palo Alto
  • Construction of a tunnel underneath the Caltrain railroad
    tracks at Middle Avenue in Menlo Park
  • Conversion of a closed portion of Alpine Road in the
    Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District to a multi-use trail
  • Construction of a new public park adjacent to the Downtown
    Redwood City Public Library, across from Redwood City Hall by
    converting an existing 0.45 acre parking lot

San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said he was thrilled San
Mateo County leaders recognized the impacts of the university’s
development across the region and that he was proud to offer these
projects to residents.

“I think it’s incredible of  Simitian to lead the way and
realize that there were impacts and needs for San Mateo too,â€
Callagy said. “It’ll go to great use and serve many communities
across the county.â€

Longtime East Palo Alto Councilman Ruben Abrica said that he was
“thrilled that the deal came through†not only for the
recreational needs in his city but also for public safety
improvements as well.

“When one of these large developments — like Stanford or
others — happen, we need to think beyond the boundaries and
address the regional impacts, and this is a great example of
that,†Abrica said in an interview Thursday. “Projects with
parks and bridges are local but they serve our entire
region.â€

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Menlo Park Councilman Ray Mueller said the new source of funding
will help make it feasible for the city to continue studying its
plan to build a tunnel under the city’s Caltrans tracks and that
he was “super grateful†that Santa Clara County remembered his
city when choosing which projects to help fund.

“The great thing about that is it’s not just a recreational
tunnel but hopefully will be used by people who will bike to work
and school,†Mueller said. “This will open up a safe route to
go east-west.â€

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Two decades after a Stanford expansion was OK’d, San Mateo
County gets .2 million