Fremont Park Closes After Neighbors Sue Due to Traffic Blight

The popular Vargas Plateau Regional Park in Fremont closed this week after a judge ruled in favor of two neighbors who were concerned about traffic and parking on the surrounding roads.

The East Bay Regional Park District will keep the park closed until the matter is resolved, but plans to appeal the Alameda County Superior Court’s decision. The district said it will comply with the forced shuttering in the meantime. 

Concerns about the park started in 2008, when two neighbors filed a lawsuit to reduce crowding along the Vargas Road and Morrison Canyon roads, which surround the park. As part of the settlement, the Park District widened portions of Vargas Road, removed roadside vegetation, installed “No Parking” signs and limited parking to 25 spaces.

But a new suit was filed by two other neighbors in May of this year when they argued that the improvements were not sufficient and asked the court to close the park until the case could be heard. Judge Frank Roesch ruled in their favor.

The 1,249-acre park was opened in May of 1993 and is known for its vast views and serene spots for bird-watching and picnicking. Since its opening, the Park District has not received reports of traffic accidents stemming from road access.

Dennis Nugent, 67, of Menlo Park, was one of the first to hit the trails when Vargas Plateau opened, and is one of its frequent visitors.

“It’s sad because it’s such a pretty park,” Nugent said.

Park District General Manager Robert Doyle is hoping the park’s appeal will be answered and given the approval to open again for the public’s benefit.

“It’s extremely unfortunate we’ve had to close this new park due to a dispute with neighbors,” Doyle said. “We will resolve this issue and re-open this publically-owned park as soon as possible.

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