Officials from the city, East Bay Regional Park District and consultants Callandar Associates are grappling with the pros and cons of different routes and hope to present a proposal to the City Council before the end of the year.
One problem is how to get the trail across two busy, multi-lane streets: Santa Rita Road and Stoneridge Drive, said Sean Duggan, resources analyst for the Park District, which operates and manages the Iron Horse Trail. The favored route crosses Santa Rita north of Stoneridge to eliminate the second crossing.
"There's pretty much one proposed route now but we're going to have to do further research," Duggan said. "There are a lot of utilities in the area, mainly Zone 7's large demineralization plant on the corner."
The Iron Horse Trail, which stretches 30 miles from Concord to Pleasanton, includes 49 street crossings, including two bridges over busy roadways in Walnut Creek. The $6.8 million bridge crossing over Treat Boulevard near the Pleasant Hill BART station just opened Oct. 2.
"We've discussed overcrossings but for this project we're not looking to do anything like Pleasant Hill," Duggan said. "We're looking at elegant ways to cross streets without spending millions of dollars."
Three alternatives were presented at the second public meeting, held Sept. 29 at the Veterans Memorial Building in Pleasanton. Concerns from residents centered on plans for Owens Plaza Park at 5700 Owens Drive, who voiced fears about potential conflicts between commuting cyclists and neighbors using the trail for walking, rollerskating, etc.
Officials noted at the meeting that the improved trail will be as much for residents in the immediate community as for those cyclists passing through the area.
Plans for this new section of the Iron Horse Trail call for keeping the existing pedestrian pathways and upgrading the linear parks that are already in place.
"The trail corridor will go right next to Owens Park Plaza through the linear park on the west side of the wall," Duggan said. "A tennis court and a basketball court is within our right of way and we are proposing those be relocated in Owens Park."
Plans also call for separating the playground from the trail.
The $50,000 study is being paid for by matching funds from the city and the park district for $25,000, and another $25,000 from a Measure B grant from the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority.
The Iron Horse Trail has connections to three BART stations, 30 schools and eight parks.