San Jose Trail Network Toolkit Planning & Design

by City of San Jose - Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services


San Jose Trail Network Planning And Design Toolkit


The City of San José is a recognized national leader for trail development and its network approach to ensure equitable access to recreation and active transportation trails. The high quality of San José’s trail network occurred through a focus on innovation, data-driven decision making, access through major barriers, beneficial partnerships, and focused and rapid paced development. This Toolkit documents the City’s approach to quality planning and design to ensure a common understanding by all persons involved in the championing, planning, and design of trail projects.

Use of this toolkit and adherence to its guidelines ensure that trails meet functional and aesthetic objectives, provide common and familiar infrastructure, and advance the state of the practice. The Toolkit is purposely general and broad when defining preferred planning and design approaches.

San José has one of the nation’s largest trail networks which leads to numerous opportunities and constraints. Planners and designers should view the Toolkit as a starting point and rely on related local, state, and federal documents for detailed guidance based on specific site conditions.

The Toolkit has been formatted for quick access to key details. It serves as a starting point to gain a general understanding of the “why” and “what” of planning and design decisions. Photographs, figures, and charts are used when possible to reinforce subject matter.

Published July 01, 2018

About the Author


San José has hundreds of unique and breath-taking venues perfect for an outside day. Visit one of San José’s 200+ parks, hike along 60 miles of scenic trails or visit a regional park.

More Articles in this Category

Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design

Exhibitions are complex presentations that convey concepts, showcase objects, and excite the senses. However, as museums recognize the diversity within their audiences, they realize that exhibitions must do more: exhibitions must teach to different learning styles, respond to issues of cultural and gender equity, and offer multiple levels of information. The resulting changes in exhibitions have made these presentations more understandable, enjoyable, and connected to visitors’ lives.

Equestrian Etiquette - Protecting Trees and Park Structures

Responsible equestrians should actively protect trees and other park structures when out on the trail. Equine expert Lora Goerlich gives her take on this topic.

Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience

In the context of mountain bike trails, excellence is realized when a trail design merges the desired outcomes and difficulty that a rider seeks with the setting in which the outcomes are realized.

Virginia’s Long-Distance Trail Network: Connecting Our Commonwealth

The purpose of this plan is to assess progress to-date and develop a strategy to connect local and regional systems into a statewide trail network reaching to all areas of the Commonwealth.