December 27, 2016 > Letter to the Editor: Mission Peak Curfew
Letter to the Editor: Mission Peak Curfew
The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) Operations committee met on November 17th to consider the curfew hours for Mission Peak Regional Preserve. Multiple members of Mission Peak Conservancy addressed the Operations committee, to oppose curfew restrictions, the thousands of curfew and parking citations, and new parking restrictions. According to a report by a park district analyst, the number of visitors to the park dropped by 29% since 2014, while curfew violations have dropped to near zero.
The recent parking restrictions will only allow 200 vehicles to park at or near the Stanford Avenue entrance on weekends further restricting visitor access. After discussion, the members of the committee including Board Directors John Sutter, Ayn Wieskamp and Dennis Waespi decided to expand park hours, agreed to by Robert Doyle, EBRPDÕs General Manager. Effective December 26th, the Mission Peak Regional Preserve operating hours will be changed from the current 6:00 pm closure to 8:00 pm. We appreciate this change which will allow the park to be available during winter evenings.
Residents behind the gates of nearby Vineyard Heights sued the district in November, to stop expansion of a new parking lot inside the park. Even though the expanded parking would reduce congestion on neighborhood streets, the lawsuit claims environmental degradation. The plaintiffs cite the presence of Native American artifacts, golden eagle habitat, landslides and geotechnical hazards near their properties.
The lawsuit threatens residents of Stanford Avenue who donÕt have access to gates and 8Õ walls around their development. The foothills of Mission Peak have many multi-million dollar homes, perched precariously on earthquake faults and under active landslides. In 1998, 22 million tons of soil sloughed off the mountain and these homes were threatened. As a result, the city of Fremont annually notifies these homeowners of the threat and the lack of culpability by the city. Environmental lawsuits should target rampant, sprawling housing developments in the Fremont foothills not a 2.5 acre paved parking lot needed to limit parking in the ungated local neighborhood. Park funds should be spent on acquisition of open space and park maintenance however supporting the publicÕs right to open space preserves is the right decision.
Mission Peak Conservancy supports access to parks for healthful recreation, while protecting the environment. We thank EBRPD for improving access to this amazing park.
Mission Peak Conservancy
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