Let’s finish the Santiago Creek Bike Path! by Bruce Bauer




This came in over our transom-shaped object from a Floral Park resident named Bruce Bauer, and ties in well with Art Pedroza’s two fine recent pieces on the topic in the New Santa Ana Blog, I see they’re actually on the same side.  As far as I can tell, it sounds like a great plan, and I hope Santa Ana residents can get past these Fisher Park NIMBYs and finish this extension.   I may have to buy a bike!  Here’s Bruce…

For decades it has been a goal to establish a continuous bike trail from Santiago Oaks Park to connect with the Santa Ana River Trail in the city of Santa Ana, a distance of 9.7 trail miles. With the recent completion of 8.5 trail miles by the city of Orange, this is one section needed to complete the entire trail located in Santa Ana.

This “missing link” is the quarter-mile gap located in Santa Ana, in the Santiago Creek, between the I-5 Freeway and Fisher Park/Floral Park. This area, currently a repository for trash and graffiti as well as a haven for vagrancy, is very difficult to monitor and police. A paved bike trail will remedy much of this by providing public use and police access in addition to completing this important regional trail.

If this 0.25 mile segment is made into an official trail, it will be  joining an approx. 40 mile bike commuter/recreation beltway of 3 trails, linking together 4 neighborhoods in Santa Ana along the creek.  This will also connect these trails to South Orange County’s Aliso Creek Bike Class 1 Bike Trail that starts up in Portola Hills and goes to Aliso Woods RP (an 18 mile trail).   Map of this missing segment is attached for your understanding.

Proposed route. Click image for larger view.

Here is a video of the creek in the affected area, as it stands, and the creek where the trail should continue.  You can see the Creek is in terrible condition.

The idea of a trail in the Creek is not a new one, but has been gathering strength because of the completion of the upper reaches of the Santiago Creek and the work of the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance (I have been working with Shirley Grindle on this matter):  http://www.santiagogreenway.org/

The City of Santa Ana needs this bike trail as do its poorly served citizenry.    The entire City Council of Orange and its mayor supported the trail in their City (and it was almost nine miles), and we are having trouble getting a ¼ mile approved in Santa Ana.   I was at the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance holiday dinner – and I saw with my own eyes the depth of political support that this trial has in the community. Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was their speaker.  O.C. Supervisor Bill Campbell was there, as was Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche and her fellow Council Members Fred Whitaker and Denis Bilodeau, who is also the Chief of Staff to O.C. Supervisor Shawn Nelson.  There were a lot of other current and retired elected officials there too, as well as City Commissioners.

There is support too in the City of Santa Ana.  Michele Martinez, for example, is an avid advocate of this idea.   Most of the City Council supports the idea of a trail in this section of the creek.  There is a small cadre of well-connected politically active individuals (connected to the Mayor), who are actively trying to subvert this idea.  The Mayor has not taken a public stance on this important issue.

These politically connected individuals convinced the Mayor to have the City Manager, Paul Walters, expend City funds to explore the feasibility of fencing in this area of the creek in Floral Park and Jack Fisher to basically make it into a private gated community with its own exclusive creek section. This is an outrageous utilization of City monies since the City of Santa Ana owns a 15 foot wide section of land in the Creek.  It also calls into questions of access to government in the City of Santa Ana.  When the proponents of the trail made their position known in early summer of this year, the City of Santa Ana immediately responded to small cadre of political elites and agreed to this study!

Misinformation about the trail is being spread.

The opponents of the trail in the Creek have also set up a confusing similar name and spread other disinformation anonymously.

We’ve just created a petition entitled City of Santa Ana Mayor and Councilmembers: “Approve bike trail along Santiago Creek between 5 Freeway and Fisher Park,” because I care deeply about this very important issue.  We already have over 200 signatures on the petition.  To read more about what I’m trying to do and to sign my petition, click here.

We need your help in spreading the truth regarding this bike trail.

Please contact me (949/ 293-5311) with any questions you have regarding this matter, or if you need any additional information.

Thank you.

Bruce T. Bauer

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.