The original early 1900s developers of Kensington created a network of public access paths as part of their subdivision plans. These paths were intended to provide pedestrians more direct access to the Arlington Avenue streetcars. Along with the streets, the developers offered to dedicate the paths to the county for public use. The county never accepted the dedication and the paths remained in the developer’s ownership. The developers went out of business, and their successors in interest were never found. As a result there is no ownership of the paths.
Historically, the paths have been used by residents as access up and down the Kensington community. In addition, they could provide vital safety routes for evacuation during a wildfire emanating from Tilden Park. However, without a resolution of the ownership issue, there is concern that this access could be curtailed.
In an effort to address the ownership issue, County Supervisor John Gioia has formed a County-Community work group to explore whether the county should take ownership of the paths and maintain them for public use. This work group is intended to empower Kensington residents to work with the county to collect the facts needed to make an informed decision on moving forward.
The work group will identify the specific paths worthy of public use, survey the paths, develop cost estimates for improvements and ongoing maintenance, gauge adjoining property owner support, identify legal options to transfer ownership, and identify funding options for improvement and maintenance. The county will fund the surveys and legal mechanism needed to transfer the paths to public ownership. After the work group makes its recommendations, Kensington voters would make a final decision before moving forward.
If you’re interested in participating, you can email Supervisor Gioia at firstname.lastname@example.org.