San Ramon planners are working on preliminary designs for rest and activity areas along the Iron Horse Trail and want residents' help in the process. Through presentations at farmers markets and a survey on Open San Ramon, officials will refine their ideas.
The city aims to build a number of seating or rest area"nodes" along the trail in conjunction with a separate project funded by Bishop Ranch owners Sunset Development, San Ramon District Engineer Robin Bartlett said. In the survey, residents are asked to prioritize a list of possible amenities for the nodes, including drinking fountains, exercise stations, shade structures and native plant landscaping.
"What were doing with Open San Ramon effort and and upcoming effort at the farmers market is to gather basic info from residents and users of the trail to help us guide where the project is going," Bartlett said. "There's a range of answers being given that seem consistent with what we would expect. Not surprisingly, shade seems to be a high priority, which has been built into the concept. Drinking fountains and trash cans related to dog waste have as well."
Of 40 survey respondents, several residents wrote that they would like to see San Ramon's stretch of trail look more like Danville and Walnut Creek with additional plants.
"I think shade and water are the higher priority but some better landscaping would be nice. I like to bike at weekends in the summer and it can be very hot. I prefer to take my bike on the car rack and drive to Danville since the trail there north to Walnut Creek is shady and pretty. Would be great if, over time some trees can be planted and mature, giving us a more shaded and picturesque trail," wrote David Willmore.
Many bicyclists and runners responded, imploring the city to add mile markers, bike racks, water fountains and restrooms.
"I bike commuted along the Iron Horse trail right of way for over 15 years....Summer commutes home were relentless as there was zero shade my entire route...which ranged from Crow Canyon Roadd south past the Bart station," wrote Paul Hoffman."I was very envious of all the shade on the trail in Danville and Alamo. And I wished there had been a bathroom here and there."
The city is working on design using $100,000 from its beautification fund as well as a $350,000 grant from the Contra Costa Transit Authority for improvements. Bartlett said planners are looking at a range of sites near schools and at city entry points, but hope to create eight nodes within city limits excluding the Sunset Development sites.
Sunset Development's Chris Truebridge, senior vice president for planning and entitlements, said his company's conceptual plan is 85 percent complete but is on hold while San Ramon completes its public outreach. The goal, Truebridge noted, is to be compatible with the city's designs.
Preliminary Sunset designs have10 nodes evenly split between Norris Canyon and Bollinger Canyon roads. Each would generally have a seating area, shade structure and "enhanced planning." Truebridge said the plans tried to mimic the historical use of the Iron Horse Trail, using some type of railroad theme or artifact.
Truebridge added that, while implementation is vague, Sunset might phase in the ndoes to see how trail users react. In the meantime, the company will wait for the city to begin several planning procedures.
"The city is also just about ready to launch the outreach and preliminary design for the Iron Horse Trail pedestrian overcrossings, one at Bollinger Canyon and one at Crow Canyon," he said. "Obviously you need a very significant setback from those roads to do the construction and I think that would impact any trail construction we would do."
Bartlett said the Open San Ramon survey will be available through March 31 and will take the results to the Parks Commission in April, followed by the City Council and county planning department in May. He expects construction to begin in the fall.