Bicycle Bigotry 0, Bicyclist Advocates 1

Update: the Extension is Open, March 2016


Looking east on the new SJ Trail extension, toward Ortega Hwy underpass.

Junction of the new San Juan Trail extension at Ave. Siega.

Junction of the new San Juan Trail extension at Ave. Siega.

That’s right. The good guys won this time. Almost immediately after SJ City Council voted to get out of the way, Rancho Mission Viejo paved the final link from the the eastern end of old San Juan Creek bike trail to Reata Road and the new Reata Park.

The trail takes you under Ortega Highway to the Park and Sendero Field.  Bonne Route!

SJCTmap Cycling is fun. It’s good for you. And it should be good for future generations, too, if people would just get out the way.

As an experienced cyclist you know that some motorists resent our being on the road. But did you know America’s bigotry toward bicyclists extends to bike paths, too? Two examples of narrow mindedness confront us today: Peters Canyon Regional Park and the San Juan Creek Trail.

Bigotry as Public Policy

You may have heard about Peters Canyon, how a small bunch of influential residents surrounding that Regional Park are using bogus claims about “safety” and “habitat” to keep a long-planned Class 1 trail from being paved. A trail that would open the park to families and recreational riders unable to use the park’s many rocky dirt trails, to enjoy the peace and respite from the surrounding suburbs. A trail that would complete the Peters Canyon/ Mountains to the Sea Trail and provide commuting alternatives to thousands of Active Transportation users.

The real concern of the Friends of Harbors, Beaches, and Parks Foundation and the Foothills Communities Association is this: No More Visitors to Peters Canyon. At meetings and in conversation their members will admit it, they think the park is “over used” and should be reserved for citizens lucky enough to live around it.

If some parks are too popular the answer is more parkland, not “pull up the drawbridge.”

Publicly funded parks must be optimized for their intended use, not reserved for the exclusive benefit of local residents. That’s Not In My Backyard-ism at its ugliest.

Trouble on the San Juan Trail

The same is happening now to the popular San Juan Creek Trail, which ends now at San Juan City limits. For years the developer of Rancho Mission Viejo has promised to complete this scenic trail to Caspers Wilderness Park, seven miles up Ortega Hwy. The developer has plans drawn and has funded the extension. The problem: the horsey folk in San Juan Capistrano want the trail all for themselves. And they’ve packed the City Council to be sure no paved bike trail ever reaches Caspers Park.

Arguments about “safety” and “crowding” are bogus. The easement is 40 feet across, wide enough for equestrian trail users to be separated and screened from bicyclists. The section in question is only 1,000 feet in length, but it’s crucial because without it bicyclists will be forced out onto Ortega Highway eastbound as it approaches Antonio Parkway.

Fortunately you can turn this tide of ignorance and privilege around: Attend the San Juan Capistrano City Council meeting, Tonight, Dec. 15, 5:00 PM at City Hall.

From the I-5, Ortega Hwy exit,

Turn NORTH on Ortega Highway

Turn LEFT onto Del Obispo Street

Turn LEFT onto Paseo Adelanto.