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Fence blocking common path renews conflict between public entry, personal property

DIABLO — For many years, cyclists by the hundreds have reduce by way of the bucolic, rich enclave of Diablo on their upwards trek to the sweeping trails and woodland vistas of Mt. Diablo State Park.

Now, a 6-foot black iron fence with a “No Trespassing” signal and path cam is obstructing a preferred exit of that path — posing an “imminent and grave” risk for many who at the moment are compelled take a “much more harmful route,” in line with a criticism filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court docket earlier this month.

Development of the fence in late September renewed a yearslong, convoluted authorized battle pitting personal property rights towards public entry to that land.

Cyclists have lengthy stated the quiet, personal roads close to the Diablo Nation Membership present a safer route than the slender, winding Diablo Highway in Danville, which lacks any shoulders, sidewalks or bike paths and is stuffed with fast-moving motorists.

A bicyclist rides alongside Diablo Highway on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Danville, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Space Information Group) 

“It’s scary — vehicles simply don’t see you,” stated Amanda Lang, 16, a member of the San Ramon Valley Mountain Bike Membership. Although she wears vivid garments and by no means summits alone, she stated she’s nearly been hit 4 occasions on Diablo Highway, and watched a buddy “be actually inches away from getting hit by a automobile.”

Earlier than the fence was erected, many path customers took the neighborhood bypass till they reached a preferred gravel path close to 2354 Alameda Diablo, the place a 25-foot “using and mountain climbing easement” was carved out in 1979 county parcel maps amid improvement of the personal enclave, and a 60-foot roadway as soon as reduce by way of that very same land because the neighborhood was increasing within the early 1910s. Ever since, cyclists — in addition to hikers, canine walkers, equestrians and Diablo residents — have used that path to succeed in the “South Gate” trailhead by way of Mt. Diablo Scenic Highway on the opposite aspect.

Cyclists ride up Calle Arroyo Road to bypass a stretch of Diablo Road on their way up to Mt. Diablo State Park in Danville, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Residents of the Diablo Country Club are fighting to close their private roads to cyclists who use their private roads to bypass Diablo Road on their way to Mount Diablo. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group Archives)
Cyclists experience up Calle Arroyo Highway to bypass a stretch of Diablo Highway on their method as much as Mt. Diablo State Park in Danville, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Residents of the Diablo Nation Membership are combating to shut their personal roads to cyclists who use their personal roads to bypass Diablo Highway on their option to Mount Diablo. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Space Information Group Archives) 

Now the fence is obstructing site visitors from each side, and greater than 2,500 individuals who have signed a web based petition searching for elimination of the fence are pushing again.

Todd Gary, who has helped coach the San Ramon Valley Mountain Bike Membership for the previous decade, stated if the barrier isn’t moved, the group may have fewer choices to supply entry to riders with out placing them in hurt’s method.

“The fact is that the general public has been utilizing this (cut-through path) for therefore lengthy, as a result of it’s so essential to entry this mountain,” Gary stated. “For my specific person group, that are these younger children, that breaks my coronary heart as a result of we’re going to lose it. We’re going to lose riders, and we’re going to lose the group’s entry to half of the mountain. It doesn’t must be this manner.”

Todd Gary, a San Ramon Valley Mt. Bike Club coach, uses his hand to show where a gate should be installed along a wrought iron fence located between Alameda Diablo and Mt. Diablo Scenic Boulevard in Diablo, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 12 2023. A fence is blocking a long used cut through path that has been used by cyclists, walkers and hikers for many years that allowed access to Mt. Diablo. The iron fence was installed at the end of September. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Todd Gary, a San Ramon Valley Mt. Bike Membership coach, makes use of his hand to point out the place a gate needs to be put in alongside a wrought iron fence positioned between Alameda Diablo and Mt. Diablo Scenic Boulevard in Diablo, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 12 2023. A fence is obstructing a protracted used reduce by way of path that has been utilized by cyclists, walkers and hikers for a few years that allowed entry to Mt. Diablo. The iron fence was put in on the finish of September. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Space Information Group) 

The authorized battle stretches again to December 2017, when Diablo resident Robert Tiernan sued his neighbors on Calle Arroyo, claiming that no formal public easement had been correctly zoned on the cut-through, and the sheer quantity of public path customers within the in any other case personal neighborhood had created a nuisance.

A county Superior Court docket choose agreed with Tiernan and almost a 12 months later signed a ruling declaring the general public had no proper to entry the street — a call that even the sheriff’s workplace agreed lacked enamel for enforcement.

By Could 2020, a bunch of 18 Diablo residents added their very own criticism into the lawsuit. These plaintiffs, which some have dubbed “the intervenors,” basically picked up the place the unique lawsuit left off. They declare the “security, safety and peaceable residential high quality of life” was nonetheless being threatened by the path customers circumventing different site visitors corridors.

Notably, they are saying that rights to make use of the gravel path on the personal property expired as a result of the easement was by no means correctly recorded with the California State Division of Parks and Recreation.

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