Who would have thought US Bank would prove to be the most dangerous property owner in Diablo, the high-end enclave adjacent to Mount Diablo State Park? On September 28th, 2023, a fence was built across a critical pedestrian pathway, reportedly with permission of the property owner, US Bank. This blockage endangers the lives of thousands of people.
For the last 109 years, Diablo, and more specifically Alameda Diablo, has served as the primary access to the higher elevations of Mt. Diablo. Initially, this access was in the form of a private toll road, but after the establishment of Mt. Diablo State Park in 1931 and many later chapters of development and infill, a pedestrian, equestrian, dog-walking, jogging, and cycling path remained. The path has been in steady use ever since. This path connects Alameda Diablo to Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. It is part of the property located at 2354 Alameda Diablo – a property US Bank acquired as part of a foreclosure.
This path has been used by the hundreds of residents of Diablo and thousands of visiting recreational users, uninterrupted, for more than 50 years. As Danville has grown, the alternate routes to approach the park have become heavily trafficked and dangerous, making this heavily used pathway a critical resource for safe walking, riding, and simply strolling the neighborhood with family and friends.
In 1979 continued development in Diablo threatened to close this connector; the influential East Bay Area Trails Council asked the County to protect this trail or pathway. The County responded that as a condition of approval of the development, “a requirement that a riding and biking trail easement connecting the two roadways be established.” The easement was recorded on the 1979 parcel map as a “25-foot riding and hiking easement dedicated to the Department of Parks and Recreation of the State of California.” Hundreds of hikers, cyclists, and Diablo residents use the connector pathway weekly.
Until it was blocked by the new fence.
On September 28, 2023, a small group (18, to be exact) of extremist homeowners in Diablo, known as “The Intervenors,” constructed a fence blocking the path. That’s right: 18 people decided to endanger thousands of adults, children, and dogs, including their neighbors and other members of the public, just so no one would walk or ride by their fancy homes. The Intervenors claim the streets are private (a few in Diablo are), but most Diablo roads are maintained with public tax dollars and “subject to a public right of way” per Contra Costa County.
How did this happen? The Intervenors told the Contra Costa County Sheriff that US Bank had approved their plan to build the fence and close the path!
Did US Bank actually approve of the blocking of this historic and life-saving path? If yes, shame on them for placing at risk the lives of over 200 students in local high school and middle school mountain bike clubs, compelling them to ride on dangerous Diablo Road, and putting at risk thousands of people who annually traverse this path with their friends, families, and dogs.
PLEASE reopen the path in Diablo to allow safe access for people going to Mount Diablo State Park. The 8-10 foot wide graveled pathway between Alameda Diablo and Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd has been used by Diablo residents and the public for over 100 years to avoid walking or riding along narrow winding roads. Don’t force them to risk their lives.
Keep access to Mount Diablo State Park safe for everyone. Open the path.