In 1885 Leland Stanford, a former Governor of California, founded a University. He named the school after his deceased son, Leland Stanford, Jr. The school chose this phrase for its motto: "The wind of freedom blows." That wind of freedom brought many changes to Santa Clara County, and to Palo Alto, the town next to Stanford University.
Many graduates of the engineering courses at Stanford settled in Santa Clara County. They founded a number of different technology companies, including one called Stanford University Network. That Network took a new name; it became Sun Microsystems. The "computer geeks" at Sun and the other technology firms transformed the area around Palo Alto into California's "Silicon Valley."
As the "wind of freedom" that blew out of Stanford grew stronger, it eventually passed over the city of Milpitas. Milpitas, like Palo Alto, was a city in Santa Clara County. Being located close to San Francisco Bay, the city of Milpitas had joined the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). That Association guided the regional planning for the cities in the Bay area.
The members of ABAG dealt with issues regarding land use, housing, environmental quality and economic development. The city representatives in ABAG, one of whom came from Milpitas, aspired to improve life for the residents of the Bay area. They hoped to bring those Bay area residents a more prosperous economy, a cleaner and safer environment and a stronger insurance that government structures could deliver social equity.
The members of ABAG had looked closely at the needs of the Bay area residents. They had found that many of those residents wanted a place to relax and exercise. They desired a location away from motor vehicles. The members of ABAG provided the Bay area residents with such a spot. Actually, it was a whole long line of spots.
The members of ABAG offered the impetus that drove creation of the Bay Trail. That trail, which winds through Milpitas, connects 100 waterfront parks. The Bay Trail provides Bay area residents with a whole string of places from which one can observe area wildlife. The Trail also serves as a transportation alternative.
For example, if someone in Milpitas wants to go to San Francisco, but has only a bicycle, and does not have a car, then that individual can use the Bay Trail. A cyclist on the Bay Trail can get to any of the ferry terminals, bus stops, BART or Caltrains stations. From those spots a cyclist can find transport over the 37-mile stretch that carries one northeast, and carries one into San Francisco.
Admittedly, cycling the Bay Trail entails more work than riding in a car. Still, it is certainly far easier than the long trek taken by Juan Bautista DeAnza. That gentleman led a group of soldiers to what is now Milpitas back in 1775 and 1776. That group had hoped to found a mission on the San Francisco Bay.
Thanks to the efforts of Juan Bautista DeAnza, the residents of Milpitas now enjoy the "wind of freedom" that is blowing upon their city. It is a wind that's coming from a University near Palo Alto.