Trails Along Muddy Waters

San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail after heavy rains. Local agencies do the cleanup.

San Tomas Aqunio Creek Trail after heavy rains. Local agencies do the clean-up.


My headline is not as catchy as Bridge Over Troubled Waters, but that about described the situation at San Tomas Aquino Creek trail last week when we had heavy rains.

Thanks to the city of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara Valley Water District, we have a creek-side trail that stays open year-round with the exception of the gully washers we see occasionally in the Bay Area.

If you think they’re being unreasonable closing the trail, you would be wrong. Yesterday I captured a photo of some debris jammed between guard rails and left-over mud at the low spot just north of Monroe Avenue. Had that trail been open, you would not be safe there. Even if the water had receded, the trail would be coated with a thin lay of mud slicker than snot.

Now there’s an invitation for a fall by anyone using the trail. This is not the only low spot that floods. The other location is next to a fire station at Agnew Road.

I don’t know who does the clean-up, the city of Santa Clara or Santa Clara Valley Water District, but they deserve some high praise. I use the trail on my commute and it makes my day.

That leads me to a similar situation on Coyote Creek at Highway 237. This underpass could be a through trail, but it is not and according to my reliable source, there is no plan to make it accessible by bike or on foot. I have long wondered why. The reason given is that the underpass, which is lined with concrete and passable by a vehicle, is a box culvert subject to flooding. No disagreement there.

There is a way to fix that and we see it on San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail. Gates placed at strategic locations keep people out during heavy rains. (At minimum open it during the dry season.) It’s an excellent system and one that could be applied at Coyote Creek.

Coyote Creek underpass at Hwy 237. It's a muddy mess, but with a little attention it could be usable for bikes. Homeless people use it all the time.

Coyote Creek underpass at Hwy 237. It’s a muddy mess, but with a little attention it could be usable for bikes. Homeless people use it all the time.

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One Response to “Trails Along Muddy Waters”

  1. Martin Says:

    The reason that the undercrossing under 237 isn’t officially open, I was told, is that the SJ police are opposed, saying that it is dangerous, since you cannot see into it (because of the curve) and it does not offer an escape route if a user encounters someone meaning harm.

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