Permanente Creek Trail Extension Opens in Mountain View

Bicyclists and Pedestrians crossing Permanente Creek BridgeAn extension of the Permanente Creek Trail from Old Middlefield Way to Charleston Road, including a bridge over Highway 101 and a tunnel under Old Middlefield Way, was finally opened to the public after a dedication ceremony on June 12, after 18 months of construction. The extension nearly doubles the total length of the trail to 1.2 miles, which now extends from Old Middlefield Way to the Bay Trail near Shoreline Lake. (The trail is discontinuous at Charleston Road, however, due to a central-divide median in the street.)

The trail extension is expected to be heavily used for both transportation and recreational trips that were previously unsafe or inconvenient for pedestrians and bicyclists trying to cross Highway 101 at Rengstorff Ave or Shoreline Blvd. The City of Mountain View is planning to conduct counts of pedestrians and bicyclists using the trail later this month to find out just how popular it is.

Woman with Google bike and dog

A woman with a new Google bike on the new Permanente Creek Bridge over Highway 101.

The trail passes directly through the heart of Google’s sprawling campus on the northeast side of Highway 101 in Mountain View, and gives its employees and other workers in the North Bayshore area yet another safe and convenient option for walking or bicycling to work. Google’s 20,000+ workforce has embraced bicycle commuting, encouraged by pro-bike policies such at indoor bicycle parking, availability of showers, and free bicycles for employees to use to travel between the internet search giant’s many buildings, which now extend over 1 mile along Charleston Road. The distinctive multi-colored “Google bikes” can be spotted all over the North Bayshore area (and beyond) every weekday – and Google recently purchased a new fleet of over 1000 new bikes with standard-sized wheels (the old bikes had small 20-inch wheels that were uncomfortable for taller riders).

The Permanente Creek Bridge over Highway 101 was proposed in 2004, and the original design concept didn’t include the tunnel under Old Middlefield Way. Instead, the trail would have ended on the north side on that street. But residents voiced concerns about speeding vehicles exiting northbound Highway 101 there, whose path pedestrians and bicyclists would have to cross, and in 2008 the Mountain View City Council voted to expand the project to include the tunnel. “We did the right thing,” said council member Laura Macias at the dedication ceremony.

Due to the inclusion of the tunnel, the cost of the project ballooned from $3 million to $9 million [1], since construction of the tunnel required additional acquisition of land and waterproofing with a special concrete and a joint sealing system because the tunnel lies below the water table. The City of Mountain View paid most of the project’s cost, but the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District contributed $600,000 [2].

Mountain View will open another multi-use trail and highway bridge to the public on Saturday, June 23. The Stevens Creek Trail Extension Dedication Ceremony will take place on the trail near the intersection of Sleeper Ave & Franklin Way on June 23 at 10 am. The trail will connect Mountain View to Sunnyvale (near the corner of Dale Ave & Heatherstone Way) over Highway 85.

References
1. City opens new $9 million trail link, Daniel DeBolt, Mountain View Voice, June 12, 2012.
2. Three open space projects completed, ready for public use, Los Altos Town Crier, June 13, 2012.

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