Monday, November 26, 2012

Jumping In With Both Feet - Welcome Liz!

CGF welcomes the arrival of Liz Snyder as our Interim Executive Director. We hit the jackpot!

Says Liz, “For 50 years, Committee for Green Foothills has worked to preserve our foothills, mountains, farms, forests, and coasts. When I think of those 50 years of hard-won victories, I feel a debt of gratitude to all of the staff, Board members, advocates, and supporters that have come through these doors. Without them, much of the natural beauty of the Bay Area would be a thing of the past. I am incredibly excited to be joining the CGF team, and am honored to have the chance to contribute to such important work."

Liz Snyder, CGF Interim Executive Director
Liz is a food activist, anthropologist, and author. She has a master’s degree in nutritional anthropology from Oxford University, where she studied the complex interrelationships between the food marketing industry, nutrition education efforts in our schools, and their profound and unexpected effects on our relationship with food. Liz is the founder of Full Circle Farm, an educational, organic farm on school land that connects the district’s 14,000 children directly to the source of their food.

As a founding member of the Bay Area Children in Nature Collaborative, Liz is also working to engage schools and parents in increasing kids’ access to healthy, outdoor environments.

Liz’s most recent endeavor is Little Bee Pops—bringing healthy, sustainable summer treats to parks and Farmers' Markets in Silicon Valley. Liz will be with us until May 2013 (when the Little Bee Pops season kicks in again) while we search for a permanent ED.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Support Bay Trail and Bike/Pedestrian Bridge

Update on November 20: The Board of Supervisors voted today to fully fund the Adobe Creek Bridge and to partially fund the Ravenswood Bay Trail. Thank you to everyone who contacted the Supervisors to express support for these two great projects!

In addition, the Supervisors voted to fund two additional projects. The Stanford Perimeter Trail runs from the Stanford Shopping Center along El Camino to Stanford Avenue, then down Stanford Avenue to Junipero Serra and the entrance to the Dish Trail, then along Junipero Serra to Page Mill Road. Much of this trail already exists, but the proposal funded today will widen and expand the existing trail and will complete the gaps where no paved trail exists today. The other project funded today is the Matadero Creek Trail, which will run along the Santa Clara Valley Water District right-of-way on the banks of Matadero Creek.

 For more details about these projects, click here.

On Tuesday, November 20, at 9:00 a.m., the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will decide which of 15 trail projects should be funded from the Stanford trail mitigation fund. Committee for Green Foothills supports prioritizing two of these projects: the Ravenswood Bay Trail and the Adobe Creek Bridge. These projects will provide regional connectivity and will be environmentally beneficial in multiple ways: reducing automobile traffic, providing access to the open space and wetlands of our Bayfront, and encouraging increased biking and hiking. Please contact the Board of Supervisors and urge them to fund the Ravenswood Bay Trail and the Adobe Creek Bridge.

What’s Happening:

This will be the final stage in the long-drawn-out process of the Stanford trails mitigation. As mentioned in previous Action Alerts, there is a $10.4 million fund to be used to mitigate for the loss of trails and recreational resources due to Stanford’s development under their 2000 General Use Permit. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has the responsibility to decide how this fund should be used. The County asked for proposals to be submitted for trail and recreation projects within a certain geographical area near Stanford. The only requirement is that the projects must mitigate the loss of recreational resources for Stanford residents and facility users.

Fifteen different projects have been submitted to the County. Many of them are worthwhile; others do not provide mitigation value; but the two projects that will provide the most benefit to both Stanford residents and facility users and the community as a whole, are the Ravenswood Bay Trail and the Adobe Creek/Highway 101 bridge.

The Ravenswood Bay Trail is the “missing link” between University Avenue and the Ravenswood Nature Preserve in East Palo Alto/Menlo Park. Currently, the Bay Trail runs all the way from Alviso up to the Ravenswood Nature Preserve in an unbroken off-road trail that allows residents to enjoy the open space and wetlands near the Bay, get exercise and commute via safe, off-road bicycle trails. Once the Ravenswood Bay Trail link has been constructed, this trail will stretch for 26 miles up past the Facebook campus to Redwood City, as well as crossing over the Dumbarton Bridge to the East Bay. Thus, this short (0.6 miles) link will provide a huge benefit for regional connectivity. In addition, the East Palo Alto neighborhood, a disadvantaged community, will receive much-needed recreational resources.

The Adobe Creek/Highway 101 bridge will also provide a benefit that is greater than meets the eye. This overcrossing of Highway 101 at Adobe Creek in Palo Alto will create a safe, year-round crossing between the residential Palo Alto/Stanford area and the Baylands Nature Preserve.  It will connect to the Bay Trail and will enable commuting to the businesses on the east side of 101, including Google, Intuit and LinkedIn.
These two projects would not deplete the entire $10.4 million fund, so there will be plenty of funding remaining for other projects. However, CGF believes that these two projects are the most important and should be given top priority.

If you would like more detail on these and the other projects submitted to the County, click here: County website on trail proposals.

Why This Is Important

It is not often that over $10 million is made available specifically for trail projects, and it is important that this money be put to the highest and best use. With 15 projects competing for these funds, it is important that everyone who cares about trails and access to open space speak up on this issue.

What You Can Do

Let your voice be heard! Email the Supervisors, come to the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, November 20 and speak, or both! 

Tuesday, November 20 at 9:00 a.m.
Board of Supervisors Chambers
County Government Center
70 W. Hedding St., 1st floor
San Jose, CA 95110

To email the Board of Supervisors, use this email:

Or email the Supervisors individually:
Supervisor Dave Cortese:
Supervisor Liz Kniss:
Supervisor George Shirakawa:
Supervisor Mike Wasserman:
Supervisor Ken Yeager:

For your convenience, when you click on the above emails, the following sample text will automatically appear:

Dear Members of the Board of Supervisors,

I urge you to fund the Ravenswood Bay Trail and Adobe Creek Bridge projects. These projects will provide regional connectivity and will be environmentally beneficial in multiple ways: reducing automobile traffic, providing access to the open space and wetlands of our Bayfront, and encouraging increased biking and hiking. Please do what’s best for our community and prioritize funding for these two projects!