University to build alternate route to ‘Scary Path’

Jan. 30, 2017, 12:24 a.m.

After a year of discussion, the Knoll Path working group has designed an alternate route to “Scary Path.” This alternate path, which will be named the Knoll Path, will ideally start construction during the spring.

University to build alternate route to 'Scary Path'
The “Scary Path” is being reseeded and replaced (MELISSA WEYANT/The Stanford Daily).

“Scary Path” is the colloquial name for the 528-foot-long dirt path that connects the area of Lake houses like Kappa Alpha (KA) and Enchanted Broccoli Forest (EBF) to Lomita Row. The path is frequently used by students to get to residence halls in the area and as a shortcut by those who attend campus parties at night.

Efforts to improve the safety of the path stemmed from the hundreds of emails that the ASSU received from students who felt unsafe while using the path.

“The new path will not be a ‘shortcut’ and will not cut through sensitive wildlife habitat, but instead will skirt the area along the Knoll building to Breer Library, where it will connect with existing paths and sidewalks and form a connection to Lomita Drive,” Lisa Lapin, vice president for University communications, said in a statement to The Daily.

The Knoll Path was proposed by the University Architect’s office and supported by the Knoll Path working group, which included students, police and faculty, such as Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman. The path will also be lighted in a way that will not disrupt surrounding student bedrooms and tiger salamander habitat, and will include a “blue light” emergency call box.

“The University has been interested in developing better pathways and circulation in that part of campus for a long time,” Director of Campus Planning and Design Cathy Blake said in an email.

“Scary Path” has been closed permanently and students have been asked not use it, as its use was never sanctioned by the University. The old path will be reseeded and restored as wildlife habitat.

Alexis Kallen ’18, a key student voice in the discussion of the safety of “Scary Path” and member of the working group, is happy with the results.

“The main goal was to get people safely from the area of KA and EBF to the area of 680 and Kappa Sig and the path will do that, and I am excited about that,” said Kallen.

Part of student worries over “Scary Path” were concerns about sexual assault. In Kallen’s view, the path being lit will increase police supervision and general safety in that area of campus.

“When you are standing on the path, you can hear anything happening near that field, so not only does it secure that one route, it secures anyone who might be being violated on this field, and that is huge,” said Kallen.

Even though the Knoll Path design was approved by the working group, its construction requires county permits that might delay the beginning of construction. Part of the complexities are that the path not only has to abide by the requirements of the General Use Permit, but also the Habitat Conservation Plan. However, if permitting proceeds according to plan the path should be completed over the summer.

“Because the Knoll Path is located within a zone of sensitive habitat for the California Tiger Salamander (a federally and state listed species), there are more constraints on design/construction than there might otherwise be if the human impacts occurred on the main quad, for example,” said Conservation Program Assistant Manager Esther Cole in an email.

Contact Ana Cabrera at acabr124 ‘at’

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