Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 11, 2010

Continuing the Iron Horse Trail

Residents to help brainstorm on best path for new section

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

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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