The Silicon Valley Voice

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San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail: Security Ignorance

The NFL and the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) awarded Levi’s Stadium the 2017 NFL Facility of Merit for Safety and Security Award. It recognizes a facility that performed above and beyond normal operations to demonstrate an innovative approach to enhancing safety and security, according to the NCS4 website.

To continue keeping the tens-of-thousands of guests to the stadium safe, the Editorial Board would hope that the Santa Clara City Council/Stadium Authority would take security suggestions from Homeland Security and our own elected Police Chief more seriously.

Having one of the country’s largest event venues means more than just stocking the concessions’ refrigerators. Preventing incidents like the Manchester terror attack and blocking other potential security threats must be a priority for those who are tasked with protecting the visitors to our City.

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At the April 4 Council/Stadium Authority meeting, the Santa Clara Director of Public Works/City Engineer Andrew Crabtree and Chief of Police Mike Sellers presented a report recommending that the Council/Authority follow the Department of Homeland Security, National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security and the Police Department’s existing security plan.

The current security plan entails closing the section of the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail that hugs the stadium to non-ticketed users during major events at the stadium. The trail is closed an hour before the parking lot is opened and reopens right after the event. There is a detour in place.

However, the Council/Authority, along with a few Council mainstays, feel that they have a better grasp on the complexities of security. So much so that they are willing to shrink the security perimeter along the stadium or keep the trail open–allowing people without tickets into the secure area–during large events.

According to the Police Chief, “large events” have more than 20,000 attendees. The stadium had 23 large events last fiscal year, according to a budget presentation at the March 7 Council/Authority Meeting.

The Editorial Board realizes that the trail is publically funded and is a lovely amenity that should be available to those who wish to use it. However, undermining professional recommendations about the well being of 20,000+ of visitors is unwise and potentially extremely dangerous.

Use of the complete creek trail is a convenience, and if trail users (which is a small number compared to stadium visitors) can’t be inconvenienced about 23 times out of the year to take a detour, then maybe trail users need to take a hard look at their own priorities.

The times that creek trail access will be interrupted are always available on the City website, and the Police Chief even offered to push out that information in additional ways to make it more accessible to the bike community.

We believe that creek trail users can get accustomed to a small amount of inconvenience for the sake of public safety. Just like in-the-know drivers know to avoid a busy area during a public event, bikers and pedestrians can also learn.

Some reasonable alternative solutions have been suggested–ones that take the safety and convenience of bikers into consideration as well–so we hope that one that aligns with the Homeland Security’s recommendation comes to fruition.

We’d like to hear from you. To share your thoughts about this or other topics, please email your letter to scweekly@ix.netcom.com for publication. Please include your name and phone number with your submission–phone numbers will not be published. Letters to the Editor should be limited to 150 words.

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