Levi’s Stadium pilots trail entry for Cal – Oregon game Friday

Oregon Ducks vs Cal Bears

After meeting with community representatives and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition board member Scott Lane, the city of Santa Clara and Levi’s Stadium management agreed to a limited trial to open the San Tomas Aquino Trail between Agnew Road and the south side of the Great America lot near Gate C.

For events with over 20,000 participants at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, policy has been to close the popular San Tomas Aquino Trail between Agnew Road and Tasman Drive, as shown in red in the below map. People who walk or bike along the trail must take the detour shown in green, adding 1400 yards through busy parking lot traffic to those who travel between Tasman and Agnew.

San Tomas Aquino Trail closed by Levi's Stadium

Santa Clara police chief Mike Sellers met with Scott Lane of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, mayoral candidate Deborah Bress, Santa Clara BPAC member Craig Larsen, bike activist Andrew Boone, and myself to discuss the impact of the closure on trail users. Sellers and stadium management agreed to a partial opening of the trail in this pilot.

“Working with cool heads, we’ve been working step by step together with the SCPD, Santa Clara through the Bike Advisory Committee, and the Forty Niners Stadium Management Company in a whirlwind fashion that has required a lot of commitment from all parties,” said SVBC board member Scott Lane.

For Friday’s game, only cyclists with tickets to the California vs Oregon game can travel on the trail north of Agnew to a new valet bike parking location near Gate C at the south side of the Great America parking lot.

The trail will be closed to all traffic between 9 AM and 3 PM on Friday, October 24, 2014 for a security sweep, and will open only to cyclists with game tickets after 3 PM. Those with “will call” tickets, all pedestrians (including those with game tickets), and all other trail users without tickets in hand will be required to continue using the trail detour. The existing bike valet along Tasman Drive approaching Gate A will continue to be staffed.

This is a big first step and we appreciate the work of Chief Sellers, his assistant Chief Phil Cooke, 49ers VP of Operations Jim Mercurio, and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition bike valet volunteers for making this happen with just three days of work. Even with this pilot, however, the all day closure on a weekday will impact a significant number of trail users. We will continue to lobby to keep the trail open during all events.

One of the problems with the detour has been the heavy tour bus traffic. Santa Clara PD and stadium management are now aware of the issue and say they will work to clear the bus congestion in the parking lots and on Stars and Stripes Drive. They will also watch for illegal bus parking in those areas along the bike and pedestrian detour.

This is an interesting day for a pilot. The game will likely be lightly attended because (1) Levi’s Stadium is 50 miles from the University of California, Berkeley, and (2) kickoff happens during Game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals at AT&T Park.

VTA will also make adjustments for this Friday night game. The crowds will arrive during the evening commute. VTA will continue to provide regular commute service during this peak travel time as well as direct service trains to the stadium. For commuters, this means your trip home will remain the same. For stadium-goers, this means there will be direct light rail trains to the stadium from the Alum Rock and Santa Teresa lines before the game. For everyone, this means planning ahead and leaving extra time. For full details, read the VTA headways blog.

Finally, SVBC still needs several volunteers for the Friday night game. Please sign up to help make this happen!

Berkeley and Eugene are both known for their high population of bike hippies. How many of their alums will bike to a Friday night game?

Important notes about San Tomas Aquino Trail pilot opening

  • Trail will be closed to all traffic 9 AM to 3 PM, Friday, October 24, 2014.
  • San Tomas Aquino Trail will open only to those on bike with tickets in hand to the Cal – Oregon game. Security personnel will know to wave cyclists through on the trail at Agnew.
  • To discourage people from parking in neighborhoods south of the stadium, pedestrians will still be required to take the detour to access stadium entries at the north side of the stadium.
  • Bicyclists with tickets will park their bikes at the valet bike parking near the electric vehicle charging stations, proceed through the security check and magnetometers, and will be held to the same criteria (e.g. bag policy) as the balance of the stadium attendees.
  • The trail will reopen to all users shortly after the game.


  1. 9am is cutting into the morning commute for some people if that’s near end of your commute. Are they really going to spend six hours actively security sweeping the trail? I find that hard to believe and would be interested in knowing the actual time spent security sweeping the trail section. I’m guessing its more like 30min, and the remaining 5.5 hours is just to punish non-ticket-holding trail users for complaining about the closure.

  2. “To discourage people from parking in neighborhoods south of the stadium, pedestrians will still be required to take the detour to access stadium entries at the north side of the stadium.”

    Obviously, this will not work if someone drives their bike to the neighborhood and cycles from there.

    I had actually done this with the NASA Ames Open House last weekend. I parked by the Stevens Creek Trail just a couple of miles away and biked the rest of the way, and it seemed quite efficient. I avoided all of the Ellis entrance traffic, passed the line of pedestrians that stretched along the freeway overpass, and got in very quickly. Likewise, getting out was very easy since there was little traffic on Moffett Blvd. besides shuttle buses since that gate was closed to automobile traffic.

  3. Hello,

    We’ve got an important compromise for the hundreds of uses of the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail from SCPD and the Forty Niners Stadium Management Co.

    My thanks again for the quick compromises to find reasonable solutions while maintaining safety and security for ALL users of the trail and for those setting up before this (and future) events.

    This posting will also be on facebook. Please feel free to share this. We want as many people (cyclists and pedestrians) to know about their ability to use the trail up until 1pm. But to exercise extreme caution near Levi’s Stadium as it will be an “active work site.”

    Scott Lane
    Bike Soiree


    UPDATE: We now have the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail open from 9am until 1pm…. with the assistance of “Flaggers” and stadium staff.

    As long as you go under Tasman and don’t try to go up to the street at that point in the trail, you’ll be fine.

    Please exercise caution and look for the forklifts and other heavy equipment putting the “magnetometers” into place at the security stations. (They’ll be taking the equipment from east of the creek across to west of the creek)

    The trail will be completely closed from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm for all. It will reopen for cyclists with Cal vs. Oregon ticket holders ONLY after 3:00 pm.

    We hope that this compromise solution works.

    If you are volunteering at the Bike Valets, or the stadium, we hope to find a solution for that too. Hopefully they’ll be done with the sweep a little early. Otherwise, if you are biking in, you should probably expect to take Great America Parkway or the Detour off of Agnew Road.

    Thank you!

  4. At least things are moving in the right direction, good work.

    SCPD sort of is trying to get the word out, the 9AM-3PM closure notice was sent out on their Nixle update system on 10/23 at 9AM or so.

    Then they sent out the updated notice with the 1PM-3PM closure times at 12:45PM on the 24th (today). So anyone receiving those updates would have only seen the 9AM-3PM closed times and never known about the change until it was too late.

    I guess the SCPD notification process rates an E for effort, not very useful information though.

  5. I had planned to walk up the trail to the game last night, but was turned aside at Agnew to walk pretty far out of the way to Great America Parkway. Not far on a bike, but quite a hike on foot. I had no idea it was going to be closed, and can’t imagine a single legit reason why it would be. Residents to the south don’t want people parking there? Tough. You got street parking, you get cars. Change the parking rules if that’s the issue.

    At least they were kind enough to allow me to walk south on the trail after the game. But overall, very unhappy.

  6. Interesting you got to leave via the trail as some of the given reasons for not allowing access is the trail is not designed for night use and they want to maintain a sense of leaving via the same route you arrived on. So if you came in during the light on the trail and had to leave after dark via another route, that confuses the fans, at least the intelligence level of the fans they are catering to.

    And yes, that is a fair additional distance to force pedestrians to hoof it around the detour to get in. Really discourages alternate modes of transportation to events. Maybe as the pilot program progresses, they’ll figure something out for other modes of trail use.

    For the lack of lighting on the trail for night use, put up some lights and if worried about people falling off the side into the creek, build a fence. And set up a parking permit program for the surrounding neighborhoods. That would make it easier for the locals to get in and out and keep out the event goers trying to beat the parking lot fees.

  7. Keep the comments coming. These are all useful for my conversations. Don’t worry, I’m not complacent!. I’ve gotten commitment from Forty Niners SMC (JM) that the trail will be open for the next 49ers game, Nov. 2nd. And that we’ll have the two SVBC Bike Valets is critical as well. (Timely, correct marketing outreach is key too!)

    Unclear if Nov.2nd will allow for more than bicyclists with tickets though. They’re really concerned about pedestrians – safety as well as people parking south along the trail and walking up.

    Good news is that there is more time to get things executed better.

    Even then we’ll be a long, long way from the goals of universal access called for in the 2009 EIR

  8. Cal has had numerous terrorist attacks, from animal-rights groups and even the Unibomber And yet when Cal plays at Memorial Stadium, there is absolutely no restrictions on bike or ped access through the area. So it is bizarre that Santa Clara thinks they need to implement a security zone just for playing at Levi Stadium.

    The parking concern is especially ludicrous. Santa Clara can just post some No Parking on Game Day signs. That’s what they do in Berkeley.

  9. I rode in from McCarthy Ranch via 237 bikeway. It worked out well. It took 15-20 minutes and avoided any major street hassle. Between McCarthy and Zanker I would take the southern segment as opposed to the stadium. If you follow the bike detour go across the light rail tracks go, right to find the bike parking. Gate A bike parking was great.

  10. Scott I’ll catch up with you soon but this is a good start. The history lesson to keep in mind here though is that the 49’ers didn’t want to pay for an underpass at Great America back when all of this was reviewed ~2009. An underpass there today would let the fork lifts move the metal detectors without impeding through traffic on this publicly-funded right of way. You already know my views so I’ll shut up now, but thanks for your work on this.

    @Drunk Engineer the city does put signs out but can’t enforce them as the street parking is (ironically) “public.” (This from the words of the traffic officer during the recent public meeting where many residents complained).

    So the “public” street parking can’t be closed off but the “public” trail can…

  11. I went down the trail after Sunday’s event and noted they were letting bike riders out of the Agnew gate after the game. I did go around the bike detour and there were hundreds if not thousands of fans leaving the stadium via that route. So the argument of having to close the trail to prevent folks parking south and walking in seems to be a little shaky. Folks are already parking south and walking in via the detour route. I almost could not ride north on the detour due to it being jam packed with pedestrians (5 and 6 wide across the trail). Those pedestrians were all walking south in the north bound bike lane through the parking lot, so I had to ride on the wrong side of the road there.

    Nearly got nailed by a car pulling out of one of the VIP exits but being right in front of an SCPD patrol car, the driver did eventually slow down and let me pass. I think the fans were walking in the north bound lane so as to avoid the car traffic leaving the stadium via those driveways along the parking lot.

    I did not see any buses parked back along Stars and Stripes, not sure if that is permanent or I just happened to miss them this time. In past events, it could be totally clear and then 10 minutes later jam packed. I turned around and went back and this time, one of the security/K9 patrol folks did appear to be holding cars coming out of those VIP exits as foot and bicycle traffic passed. I think he was only looking for south bound trail traffic, and this was only at one of the several driveways.

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