Community Meeting Notes From 27 Jan 2015 – Report on the status of the Trail Feasibility Study to date.

A second public meeting to discuss a proposed multiuse trail through the Niles Canyon was held on 27 January 2015 in Niles / Fremont. The meeting topics included discussion of three projects. 1) establishing a trail link between Niles and the Bay Ridge trail in particular crossing the rail track used by the Niles Canyon Railroad 2) the multiuse trail through the canyon 3) a trail between Sunol and the Vargas Plateau. The multiuse trail through the canyon was the topic of primary interest to the attendees. The meeting was well attended and the sponsors of the trail feasibility study (East Bay Parks, Alameda County, San Francisco Water & Power, Alameda County Water District) acknowledged their appreciation for the community interest and support. Posted on this website is the presentation which was prepared by the firm BFK Engineers who are conducting the feasibility study. The presentation contains the options for the three separate but related projects. The objective of the community meeting was to display the options and obtain community feedback, questions and comments which could be factored into the continuing work on the project(s).
The following points summarize items mentioned during the meeting:
• The multiuse concept allows for cyclists, walkers, and horse riders to use the trail. Questions arose about the interaction of the three user modes and the view was generally they could navigate the trail which would be 10 ft. wide paved and 2 ft. wide on each side unpaved. However If the trail uses the existing concrete aqueduct as suggested at several locations of the three options it might be confined to 10 ft. wide.
• The PPP contains several dashboard type slides providing a preliminary sense of the pros and cons (e.g. high risk, high expense) for the options.
• The Sunol to Vargas Plateau link would not be paved.
• One suggestion was to close the Niles Canyon Road for a Saturday in April and open it to cyclists, hikers, walkers and horse riders so they could explore the canyon on a more first-hand basis but without the traffic. This way they could better understand all the canyon has to offer and likely offer more constructive comments. The audience seemed very supportive of the suggestion but the meeting organizers did not appear to make any commitments. Probably because the canyon road is a Caltrans responsibility.
• Members of the audience asked when the trail would be built and the spokesperson from BFK explained that this is just the feasibility study. Before any commitment is made towards building the trails funding, a project sponsor (s) and an implementation plan must be must be identified. No date for completion can therefore be projected at this time.
• One suggestion was to engage environmental and interest groups early on so that their views can be factored in. The BFK representative explained that a list of stakeholder groups was assembled and they have been encouraged to have a representative at all events and their views have been solicited.
• One comment asked whether there is any link between the Caltrans intent to widen Niles Canyon Road and the trail initiative. The answer was no however Caltrans has been included as a stakeholder and has participated in several activities including the October 2014 Trail walk. Caltrans is planning to issue a proposed rebuilding plan for the Alameda Creek Bridge and hopefully they can integrate some steps into that plan which will support the trail project.
• The sponsors of the feasibility study were asked why they packaged the three together when in fact each is a separate project and the Niles Canyon Trail is the one of primary interest. A spokesperson for East Bay Parks explained that the reason they are packaged together is because of connectivity. Connecting the ridge trail to the Multiuse trail will allow for connectivity to trails like the Ironhorse trail in Walnut Creek.
• The multiuse trail if built would in essence become an extension of the existing Alameda Creek trail that currently runs from the Bay to Niles.
Comments can be directed to Chris Miley in the Office of Richard Valle, Supervisor District 2 at:
The PPP used during the meeting is available below or at the Alameda County Webpage, Supervisor Valle, Initiative

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