Longtime Redwood City resident Matthew Self recounts childhood memories of adventure and freedom when he would race by bike to the nearby scenic Alpine Trail.
The trail, which is now considered in significant need of improvements, was a source of release and enjoyment throughout Self’s adolescence.
“I just found that to be so liberating, to be able to ride all over the place,” he said.
This nostalgia and want to utilize unused land for the betterment of the local community has inspired Self to take on a project proposing a new “linear park” along the Hetch Hetchy right-of-way.
The proposed recreation and bike path would make use of 1.7 miles of unused space parallel to Alameda De Las Pulgas between Woodside and Edgewood Roads and would span the length of Redwood City.
“The great thing about the linear park is it kind of comes to you and your neighborhood,” Self said. “It will literally go from city limits to city limits.”
Self said he envisions neighborhoods becoming connected through the trail that would connect Garret and Westwood Parks.
“You can take a walk or a ride or a jog and have a great family outing,” Self said.
In late February, Self created a website for the proposed park, currently named the West Side Park and Path, in order to promote the idea to fellow locals.
The website began with the belief he would start a letter writing campaign to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which currently owns the land of the Hetch Hetchy right-of-way.
His feedback has been hugely positive, he said.
Self believes the idea came in perfect time as the SFPUC has recently become more receptive of local proposals, he said, and the Parks department has been toying with ideas for the land for about a year.
“It’s really reenergized them,” Self said of the West Side Park and Path.
According to Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Service Chris Beth, Self’s visions are in the early stages of consideration as the Parks Commission is set to meet with SFPUC at the end of April in order to negotiate costs and agreements.
Self cited the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which calls for for projects to receive Measure A funds every two years, as a potential source of funding.
His estimation of total costs for the project is approximately $1.5 million.
Other potential uses of the land, Beth said, include a community garden and integrating the space into a trail system.
Self, who presented his proposal to the Parks Commission Wednesday night, said multiple proposals could be incorporated into West Side Park and Path.
“The linear park can encompass all those ideas,” he said. “The city can define what the uses would be.”
According to Self, the park would benefit local transportation, recreation, health and local businesses.
As the trail ends at the local businesses, including and , would have increased foot traffic.
Using bike as a mode of transportation, Self said, would develop community connections, safe routes to schools, possible alleviate traffic congestion and promote a healthy lifestyle.
“They’re not using their car and they’re also getting some exercise,” Self said.
The next steps in the process to making his vision a reality include negotiations with the SFPUC, approval by the Parks Commission and community outreach.
Self hopes that the inclusivity and many advantages of the West Side Park and Path will make final decisions obvious.
“In the long run,” he said. “This could have a big affect.”
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