Town Square

Footbridge owners complying with request

Original post made on Dec 12, 2007

Despite some moaning and groaning from Alamo and Danville folks living along the Iron Horse Trail, a county staff visit Monday showed residents are complying with Public Work's request to remove footbridges.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 4:58 PM


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Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2007 at 8:26 am

Dear Natalie,

Thank you for following through on this subject of footbridge removal that most neighbors of the Iron Horse Trail see as silly:

#1 - if any drain on the Iron Horse Trail is flooded then Danville Blvd will be under >2 feet of water and the San Ramon Creek would be >4 feet above its banks. The Iron Horse Trail's average elevation is at least 2 feet higher than Danville Blvd.

#2 - Except for those permanently installed on personal property or permitted by grant, the footbridges are not attached to the ground, made of wood, and would float on any flood waters causing no obstruction or blockage.

#3 - With the footbridges gone, the risk of injury, and resulting liability for the county, increases because individuals must walk through the drainage ditches, and the typical uneven, slippery slopes and bottom, to reach the trail.

#4 - The county land map for the Iron Horse Trail is not accurate in terms of grants, permits, and grants and permits within leases, for the original SPRR right of way. The county has not provided comparison of such original SPRR right of way documents' agreed fence lines, cross-overs and access bridges established with their current county maps.

#5 - Flood control in Contra Costa County is the function of a State District. CCC-PW provides services to that district but does not act in authority for that district. Much of the Iron Horse Trail drains via private property, without active county or state district easement, as the courtesy of land owners.

Looking beyond the people and events story you wrote well, the actual reality of footbridges, and flood control drains, has not been solved, the rights of access established to the public land have been deminished, and appropriate drainage for the trail and surrounding neighborhoods remains mostly the obligation of private land owners.

Thank you, Natalie, and joyous wishes at Christmas,


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Posted by John Pulliam
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Hal, regarding item #1 you have posted, localized flooding is a problem along the Iron Horse Corridor. You suggest that Danville Boulevard would be to be under 2 feet of water in order for the Corridor to flood--that is missing the point of localized flood concerns. When there is a significant rain event over a short period of time, the Corridor quickly fills with water. Given the flat nature of the Corridor and in may areas shallow ditches/swales, the water backs up and sometimes overflows onto private property. We are not talking about the entire Corridor flooding--we are talking about localized areas where public water spills over onto private property--obviously something the County works hard to avoid.

Debris naturally catches under many of these bridges--I have seen this during the regular trips I take down the Corridor. It would not take much debris to cause a back-up in one of these ditches--one or two bridges with debris under them increases the likelihood that the ditch would back up, thereby increasing the risk that public water will flood private property.

Regarding item #2, many of the bridges are/were attached to fences or are/were supported by concrete or wood piles in the ground. While a few I have seen might float in a very large flood event, I believe many would stay put. And if a bridge does indeed float away, where does it go? Possibly downstream to become lodged in even a larger drainage structure.

John Pulliam
Contra Costa County Public Works Department
(925) 313-2165

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Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Excellent exchange, John, and excellent points!

In my neighborhood, any such drainage is the responsibility of private property owners, including me (personally not on the trail), and all bridges were simply across private property drainage channels or across muddy patches created by the lack of drainage provided by the Trail facilities.

By creating an issue of footbridges, John, you exposed the lack of county-supplied drainage of the trail. Then, discovery proved that CCC-PW is only servicing a flood control (state) district and your scope of authority is county land use which has not been properly determined by Right of Way grants and permits.

After the humor subsides, John, we are dealing with your sincere interest to do an impossible job because none of us have enough information to deal with the scope of issues that make "feetbridges" an affect of county drainage issues rather than a cause of drainage issues.

As they say in Television Land, "Back to you, John."

"I am meaningless as HAL"

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Posted by Vince Kreigher
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2007 at 5:12 pm

John and Hal,

The Iron Horse Drawbridge Consortium is ready to install drawbridges across all the poorly planned drainage on the Iron Horse Trail.

Let's get serious about drawbridges and let John deal with all the mud, mess and private property invasion created by the county drainage problems. We are so rich in Alamo, if the trail floods our property, we can have the mud delivered to John in Martinez by priority mail.

Let's get less serious,


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Posted by I'm meaningless as HAL
a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2007 at 1:03 pm

Dear neighbors,

Now, I have to admit the feetbridge controversy was fun and much ado about the affect of poor drainage planning on the Iron Horse Trail. BUT as I went for my walk this AM on the Trail, just past the yard full of life size plastic animals, a lady was leading a cow past some grazing goats.

I sat quietly on one of the welcome, convenient benches along the trail just to watch this event. It certainly topped drawbridges and other humor about the trail.

Cows, more than Alamo, are my hobby. A woman leading a cow in Alamo combines the best of both.

We certainly are "another community!"


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Posted by Hal Bailey, CDSI
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Dear neighbors,

Thank you for contacting me for information about the drawbridge plans. If you will send your contact information to with the title, Drawbridge Plans, my associates will make sure confidential distribution of the plans are made.

No contact information will be retained once the plans are sent so your confidentiality will be assured.

Joyous wishes at Christmas,

Hal, CDSI Research Fellowship

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Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Just Iron Horsing around, Neighbors

Each morning I walk the Iron Horse Trail and meet very nice neighbors that share thoughts and issues. This morning, Emma was standing on her FEETBRIDGE with one of John's less-than-lovely yellow tags stapled to it, "It's over a drainage channel that is on my property and I still can't have my bridge!"

In order to get a holiday smile from Emma, I started a discussion of alternatives to FEETBRIDGES including drawbridges, hot air balloons and riding a hippopotamus through the mud. Emma smiled and suggested something from her youth, "We might as well return to pole vaulting. You know, like The Amazing Race and using a pole to ford a stream."

As the giggles turned laughter, we defined a new R-7A recreational class in Iron Horse MUD Fording and Recreational Pole Vaulting. Emma described these special poles with a flat base, a pivot and a long pole and how it took practice to get really good at fording the irrigation and drainage canals in her hometown of Oakdale.

Slipping back into laughter, we imagined other related R-7A recreational classes quite unique to Alamo as Mud Slinging and Laughing out LOAD. After leaving Emma to her laughter, I continued on the trail in the warm sun, laughing all the way as one should do this time of year with or without a one-horse open sleigh. Come to think of it, a one-horse open sleigh pulled through the mud by a hippopotamus could be easier that learning to pole vault.

Just for the HAL of it!

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Posted by Ourseveneigh
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2007 at 9:14 am

Breaking news!

R-7A will offer classes in constructing rope and vine swings taught by Tarzan or one of his alligators. The new Spring Recreation Class Schedule will be released soon and all Iron Horse Trail neighbors should register for this important class.

With the abundance of mud on the Trail, R-7A will likely add classes in Mud Slinging, Mud Wrestling, Mud Pies and more.


Just for the HAL of it!