Big Wave “trails” are hardly worthy of the name

Letter

Posted by
Sun, December 13, 2009


Big Wave "trails" discussed in the letter are shown in orange. Click to enlarge.

Check out the onsite trail system offered by Big Wave Project.  Throughout the project documents, the “North Trail” is touted as a Coastal Trail Extension to POST property and the blufftop, a totally false claim.  This existing access road stops abruptly in a tangle of blackberries at Pillar Point Marsh. 

The “Wetlands” and North Trails together form a paved fire access road for the Project.  The combination of the two for public access provides only a loop trail hugging the back of the parking lot and tall Office Park buildings.  There is no open space or blufftop access from these roads.  Their square footage is even included in the area of proposed restored wetlands at the Project.

A hopeful improvement to the dangers of walking or biking along Airport St. might be the proposed trail along the front of the Project.  Studying the plans shows an 8 ft wide concrete walking path inside the existing roadside drainage ditch which would remain—in other words no road widening and curb with parking, as was provided by neighboring development to the north. 

Instead of road widening with a designated bike lane, or a separate multi-use trail, which this area really needs, Big Wave proposes some road narrowing.  Between the two Big Wave parcels, at the concrete headwalls where the drainage culverts pass under Airport St. to the marsh, the walking path swings out to the road and narrows to 4 ft wide.  To make room for the walkway, the road is narrowed leaving 12 ft in each direction for vehicles and bikes together with an unforgiving K rail edge.

Sixty feet of K rail would protect pedestrians as they approach and cross the culvert area, with five sand-filled crash barrels at the leading edge of the K rail.  On the east side of Airport St., same K rail and crash barrels, but no protected walkway.  K rail and crash barrels take up road shoulder space on both sides of the road.  In this era of Traffic & Trails raised consciousness, can’t we have something better than this?


Lisa, you are correct.

From POST letter to San Mateo County Planning and Building Department dated February 13, 2009:

“...[T]he Big Wave development map has an inaccurate depiction of a trail connection to POST land. The trail does not currently connect to POST nor is it ever likely to connect to POST due to the steep terrain an the unlikelihood of such a trail ever being permitted…”   

The POST letter can be found on page 154 of the pdf document linked below that shows all of the responses to the Notice of Preparation of the Big Wave EIR.

Responses to Big Wave NOP of EIR (297 page pdf file)

Comment 2
Mon, December 14, 2009 9:38pm
jlundell
All my comments

Now, Kevin, I’m sure we can beautify the trail with some fake plastic fencing and streetlights.

Comment 3
Tue, December 15, 2009 7:02am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Airport Street is an important corridor for cyclists and pedestrians looking to avoid Hwy 1. Especially for residents of Pillar Ridge, who have no other connection to their neighborhood. It doesn’t help that the shoulder isn’t suitable for cycling.

Unfortunately, more than one pedestrian has been killed on that stretch of road, which is a poorly-lit straightaway.

Comment 4
Tue, December 15, 2009 11:23am
Kevin Barron
All my comments

“...between the two Big Wave parcels, at the concrete headwalls where the drainage culverts pass under Airport St. to the marsh, the walking path swings out to the road and narrows to 4 ft wide to make room for the walkway, the road is narrowed leaving 12 ft in each direction for vehicles and bikes together with an unforgiving K rail edge.culvert area, with five sand-filled crash barrels at the leading edge of the K rail On the east side of Airport St., same K rail and crash barrels, but no protected walkway.  K rail and crash barrels take up road shoulder space on both sides of the road”

[poster gains balance from the dizzying explanation] I have to assume that only those whom live/breath Big Wave (and death therof) can actually follow what reads like the Federal tax code…

In any case, if this is private property, I’m assuming there is not existing entitlement to encroach for “bluff top views” and “open space” acccess. I’m not following the point of the article… is that Big Wave is taking away EXISTING access, or out of their own will, providing some level of recreational infrastructure that doesn’t suit your palette?  The “nor is it ever likely to connect to POST due to the steep terrain an the unlikelihood of such a trail ever being permitted…”... seems to be deceiving, as there is no map nor reference to how far away the trailend is from the POST property. Ah, if I’m a guessing man, the trail reaches POST borders, no? and all the cerebral energy spent on killing the project could be spent finding a nice Big Wave-to-POST access route, replete with safe parking. It reads to me that the gentlemen from POST is using his own interpretation of what “connect” means. Shocker, as I’m guessing POST is vehement against the project to begin with. POST has some mighty coffers, why shouldn’t we expect co-engagement around the project via a trailhead at the “tangle” of blackberries.
That “permission” is mostly likely self-imposed by no-growthers, so I’ll discount that for the time being. Also, I’m curious on some other existing best practices that both commercial and residential properties along/near Airport Blvd exhibit for Big Wave to follow…as I’m seeing rhetorical intermingling of “coastal trails” and the safety (or lack thereof) along Airport.

FWIW: the enlarged picture is pointless and just as blurry as the article version, esp. regarding small font. A .pdf might work a bit better here. $.03

Comment 5
Tue, December 15, 2009 11:38am
Barry Parr
All my comments

I think Lisa’s point is that the “trails” on the site are not exactly what they are claimed to be in the draft EIR.

At this phase of the development process, the accuracy of the *draft* EIR is precisely what’s at issue with Big Wave.

This kind of loop trail unconnected to any sort of public trail or access is a very common pattern in Bayside office parks.  It doesn’t work well even over there.

Comment 6
Tue, December 15, 2009 1:05pm
Lisa Ketcham
All my comments

Guess again, Kevin - BW does not reach POST property. Marsh and private property intervene.  Then there’s the problem of the impassably steep slide-prone bluff face there.

It was last February that POST wrote Big Wave and County Planning noting the inaccuracy and requesting the reference be “removed from this and future maps of your project so that this mischaracterization does not persist, or else it may be misleading to the public and to agencies that need to review and approve the plans.” 

Not only does the map label persist, but the false claim that Big Wave Project provides coastal trail access is repeated many times throughout the DEIR to make the Project seem more appealing and to support its purported consistency with government and agency plans and regulations.

Kevin, sorry my description of bike and pedestrian safety conditions on Airport St. was too detailed for you, but local residents who walk or bike that road will understand how inadequate the proposed improvements are. The DEIR is about identifying impacts of the Project and making sure mitigations are adequate.

You’d think anyone developing such a significant project wouldn’t want drainage ditch, K rail and crash barrels along the front.

Comment 7
Tue, December 15, 2009 2:31pm
Carl May
All my comments

If you can drive a vehicle on it, it isn’t a “trail.”

Comment 8
Sun, December 20, 2009 8:52am
Cid Young
All my comments

In reading the draft E.I.R. I found vagueness throughout, such as the proposed “trails” and in fact the water and sewer connections seem rather uncertain as well. The developers obviously want to propose the minimum…not only to save themselves money, but to give those away later as “bargaining chips”, in the final negotiation process.
  All residents of Seal Cove and Pillar Ridge will be affected with construction traffic and later on by the eventual development traffic at the intersection of Hwy One and Cyrpess, yet the developer only proposes a “bi-annual study” and AFTER five years from completion they might choose to mitigate the traffic congestion at the intersection by installing a traffic signal.

This is simply ONE example of the arrogant disregard of the existing neighboring communities.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PROFIT INCENTIVE for the developers of Big Wave.