Will Floral Park NIMBYers Stop the Santiago Creek Bike Trail Extension?

Santiago_Creek_Map_with_current_and_missing_trail.jpg
Courtesy of Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance
Click for a larger image.

See that map? It represents the new Santiago Creek Trail, which runs from the Orange County Water District Ponds near Cannon St. in Orange, all the way to the Santa Ana River--with one quarter-mile exception through Jack Fisher Park to Flower Street.

The trail, as built, stops at a chain just past the bridge under the I-5 freeway, near a Red Roof Inn. Beyond the chain is a barely-broken path that leads past a stunning amount of trash, including empty bottles of malt liquor, syringes, and medical marijuana vials. Eventually, the path ascends up the bank and into Jack Fisher Park, a small park with scratched playground equipment and tagged picnic tables.

tagging.JPG
Dave Lieberman
The area in question, tagging, trash and all

The reason for the gap? Several concerned homeowners, using the title "Save Santiago Creek Alliance" and represented by Santa Ana attorney Mark Rosen--who also just happens to represent Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido--have sent up the usual hand-wringing, won't-someone-please-think-of-the-children objections in the form of a letter to Acting City Manager and Chief of Police Paul Walters.

chainedoff.JPG
Dave Lieberman
The trail resumes outside of Jack Fisher Park--where residents have chained off the main entrance to the park so that bicycles cannot use the path--onto a Class II (painted on the road) bike lane along Flower St. and Memory Lane, sending bicyclists from Villa Park and Orange out to the Santa Ana River Trail, which runs from Corona to the beach. Given that the Class II bike path already exists, no one is suggesting a continuation of a Class I (separated) bike path west of Jack Fisher Park.

Bruce Bauer and longtime good-government activist Shirley Grindle of the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the City of Santa Ana in September, asking it to release e-mail correspondence on the subject; the city sat on the request until Bauer copied OC Weekly and every other OC media outlet he could on a follow-up e-mail in December.

Letter From Mark Rosen to Paul Walters, 10-18-2011
One of the letters produced as part of the FOIA request--attached here for its hysterically imperious tone--is from Rosen to Walters. It complains about fires and crime, accuses Walters of having phoned in a study to determine whether the area should be fenced off, and demands that Walters stop the development, fence off the creek, and lock the gates so that only residents can have access. A nice way to have a private park, isn't it?

The Save Santiago Creek Alliance website quotes a report done by SafeTREC for Caltrans in 2010 that, they say, proves that crime will increase. Their logic is that increases in pedestrian traffic cause rises in crime. The problem is that the Caltrans study, which concentrated on bicycle use in San Diego, actually says that Class I bicycle paths in our neighbor to the south are used almost exclusively by bicyclists--and does not mention crime at all. They created a change.org petition to that effect, which sent to the city after being signed by 38 people, 8 of whom live in Santa Ana; signatures came from places deeply affected by this issue such as Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Australia, and Croatia.

Meanwhile, Sgt. Dan Adams of the Orange Police Department said that after the City of Orange finished its 8.5 miles of the Santiago Creek Trail, there were a few incidents of tagging that resulted in arrests, but there has been no increase in crime. By contrast, the remaining quarter-mile from the 5 to Jack Fisher Park is completely tagged over.
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28 comments
Mark Lindsey
Mark Lindsey

Mark Lindsey says:  The “inclusive needs of the many” to be able to enjoy this creek and all of the areas it connects outweighs the “exclusive desires of a few” to fence it off from the public and keep it private for themselves (the City of Santa Ana owns a 15 ft wide section of this area of the creek)

The City of Orange just opened up their new bike trail extension giving us 8+ miles of trail on the creek. Many families are enjoying it just like those that live in Santiago Park in Santa Ana. Lets finish this 0.25 mile missing link and connect Santa Ana with Orange for all to enjoy the outdoors together. 

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens stated at the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance Mtg that this can be achieved through “Environmental Design”. A path that we (law abiding public, park staff, police, and fire) have access to.  

This creek trail plan/vision was initially proposed in 1971.  40 years to try to get 10 miles done.  Alot has been done in the last 7 years and it looks great and will be made even better.  Lets finish it to connect and share life together as part of Central OC..

KenLaysNotDead
KenLaysNotDead

Dave,

Are you sure you have your facts straight?

It is mostly the Jack Fisher Park NA people affected, while some on the south side might be, I think the naysayers live North of JFP.

Please double check that, It might piss off your boss, because it's not as colorful, but, I think thats the case.

Béa Tiritilli
Béa Tiritilli

We live behind the trail on the Santiago Park side. We see it as a blessing, not a curse, to have bicyclists and dog walkers to wave hello to. Yes,there's the occasional pot-smoking teenager or tagger, but they mostly stay away because they know they have an audience of law-abiding trail users and neighbors. To the NIMBYs: lighten up! Crime will likely go down, not up, when you have more outdoor enthusiasts outside your back gates. 

Brucetbauer
Brucetbauer

GTurner -  I have never hidden my support for the trail (and thought that much was clear in the article, and the myriad flyers that opponents of the trail have circulated.)  I do want a trail because it will make our neighborhood better.  You will be able to access more open space that is adoining that trail.   I, like you, agree 100% that the last thing we need is more cement or concrete.  We do NOT want that. That is all misinformation being spread by opponents of the trail.    I am an ardent environmentalist (as are the people who support the trail), because want to enjoy the outdoors (and want our kids to as well), and I am also a Republican (remember Teddy Roosevelt was one of the Country's greatest environmentalists!)    I want us to enjoy this open space as you do.    In fact, some opponents of the trail have actually asked that this open space be fenced off and have political allies in the City.  But they have not told that to anyone and have kept the request to fence of the creek a secret.  I agree also with your assessment of our neighbors.  Most are wonderful, accepting, open-minded people who carely strongly about our community and neighborhood, as do I.   They are not closed-minded people.  Most people, when they receive the truth about what we are asking for want the trail.    By the way, the section of the Creek that we are talking about is only now getting somewhat cleaned up because of the attention that we have turned to it!   That is exactly our point!   Daylight is the best antiseptic.  Please email me at neighbors4trail.com if you would like more information.   ThanksBruce T. Bauer

909Jeff
909Jeff

Doesn't that area fall under city or county easement and or State owned right of way land?  

Stprstn
Stprstn

To those readers: throughout the article it clearly communicates that Mr Bauer is an active Proponent for the trail. He does not hide his support and has been very courteousto everyone, even to those few opponents of the bike trail that have painted him poorly. No is advocating extending the bike trail past Flower, but that 1/4 mile path (if you dare walk it) is laden with paraphernalia & tagging. If the 1/4 mile path east of Flower doesn't become a bike trail I hope that you will demand to those who claim they own the land, to maintain and clean it up so it doesn't continue to attract an unwanted element.

Rachelh
Rachelh

There are NIMBY people in every neighborhood, and Floral Park is no different.  Some of the strongest supporters of the bike trail completion also live in Floral Park.  I live here, and have signed the pro bike trail petition and really hope it is completed so my family can use it.   

Gturner
Gturner

I live in West Floral Park. I cross over Santiago creek all the time with the foot bridge that is north of Baker street. It a nice natural  woodsy area that doesn't seem to be abused by taggers or litterers.I also go to Jack Fischer park which this article would lead you to believe is a tagger paradise and trashed. It is not.I don't know a lot about the past politics of this area as I have only lived here for 2 years. But it seems to me the last thing that Santa Ana needs is more cement.For this of you who think Floral Parkers are right wing Repubs, I can only speak for myself. I think Newt Gingrich & Rick Santorum are wrong just about everything. Ron Paul is nuts, and although Mitt Romney has shown some humanity and common sense in the past, he will say anything to win votes, who knows what he would do as President. Bruce Bauer who commented below is a active proponent of the trail which he failed to mention here.

Brucetbauer
Brucetbauer

Please don't color all Floral Park neighbors with that brush.  Many residents of Floral Park want this trail but their voice is being drowned out.   If you support the idea of a trail send an email to neighbors4trail@aol.com

Tehuanaechada
Tehuanaechada

if Florass Park people can change even the Halloween date so Hispanic and outside people wont come to beg for candy what else can we expect from this bastardos???? Republicants?

SaveSantiagoCreekAlliance
SaveSantiagoCreekAlliance

The proponents for the Class I bicycle trail have been disseminating false and distorted information to the public in an attempt to manipulate public perception. Save Santiago Creek Alliance has obtained verifiable evidence of such, as demonstrated below. 

1. Mr. Mark Lindsey has dishonestly stated that the Boy Scouts of America would help build and maintain a new bicycle trail in the Santiago Creek. Here is the response from the President of the Boy Scouts of America:      "September 08, 2011      I have received your letter of August 08, 2011, about your property in the Jack           Fisher Park area in northern Santa Ana.       I can assure you that Mr. Mark Lindsey is not a representative of Orange          County Council, Boy Scouts of America, and is not authorized to speak on our       behalf. I can also assure you that our organization is not interested in       acquiring, maintaining or using your property and the surrounding Santiago       Creek area.       I have contacted Mr. Lindsey and requested that he cease and desist       improperly portraying himself as a representative of Orange County Council       and disturbing you.       Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused...      Sincerely,      Jeffrie A Herrmann      President and Scout Executive"2. Bruce Bauer has been manipulating the public's perception of his group's goals. Note the divide and conquer strategy in the below email obtained from a Release of Records Act request sent to the City of Santa Ana. The pro-bicycle trail group's intentions are to complete a bicycle trail all the way to the Santa Ana River, even though Mr. Bauer repeatedly denies such claims, and when caught, excuses his past statements as errors after realizing the Santiago Creek, as he incorrectly states, is not wide enough beyond Flower Street for a bicycle trail. In actuality, the October 2011, Orange County Public Works Map indicates the Creek is wider from Flower to the Santa Ana River than from the I-5 to Flower. The divide and conquer strategy is evident from the below email. 

EmailEvidence #1

From: Lindsey, Mark

To: Bruce Bauer, Esq;David Schmidt

Cc: Mark Lindsey

Sent: Wed, May 25, 201111:30 am

Subject: RE: Strategy - Santiago Creek Bike TrailExtension to the Santa Ana River

Iwould like to propose an evolutionary approach in extending this trail.

Create a paved Class1 Trail to Flower Street. Will allow for all types of bikes, and strollers, andthose who need to travel on foot only on paved surfaces:

            Createa dirt hiking, MTB trail from Flower Street down to the Santa Ana River. Thiscould even run down the middle of the creek if needed (should be an easyproject if there is buy in). Would be great for hikers and trail runners.

            Create a paved Class 1 Trail from FlowerStreet down to the Santa Ana River…

3. Lastly, per the City of Santa Ana's City Manager and Police Chief, Paul Walters, in a memo dated January 17, 2012, the land between the I-5 and Flower street is private property, not public or City property as claimed by Mr. Bauer. The pro-bicycle trail group continues to disseminate false information to manipulate public support. Part of the memo states:      "Unlike other sections of Santiago Creek, which run through public parks or       have more substantial existing public rights-of-way, this section of the creek is       unusual in that it is abutted by private properties that have property lines that       extend into the creek bed itself. The development of a trail in this location       would necessitate extensive right-of-way acquisition, which can be a       substantial expense to the City and would also be based upon the       cooperation of the adjacent property owners." Mr. Lindsey and Mr. Bauer are willing to manipulatively misinform the public. How can anything that they say be trusted if they are willing to disseminate such flagrant misinformation. Further, the OC Weekly writer, David Lieberman, wrote his article based on information from one source without confirming his facts. Sad, but true, that not even the writer can be trusted to present the correct facts. In the meantime, obtain the real facts from the Save Santiago Creek Alliance at SaveSantiagoCreekAlliance.org . We are here to help you make a knowledgeable and informed decision based on facts, not fiction. 

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Many of the naysayers live south of the creek and the anti-trail website was registered by someone who lives south of the creek.

TVore
TVore

I think that the extended bike trail is a wonderful idea and will get people out and exercising!  Having people out doing positive things like riding bikes, jogging,walking, etc., should act as a deterrent to the "undesirables" who hang out in the creek bed and do drugs and tag.  If only people would stop using the race card and political party affiliation in their arguments!  This has nothing to do with being a Democrat, Republican, Hispanic, White, or anything else!  It should be seen as something that will improve the quality of our lives in this neighborhood.  We are experiencing so much divisiveness in our culture, and I am so tired of people working against instead of for one another!   You GO Bruce!!!

Tina Vore
Tina Vore

I think the bike trail is a wonderful idea!  And I wish that people would STOP playing the race card or political party affiliations in their arguments for or against this proposed plan. This has nothing to do with being a Democrat or Republican, White or Hispanic!  I believe that having a bike trail will get people out and exercising and should in turn act as a deterrent for the "undesirables" who are presently hanging out in that area and using drugs and tagging.  They don't want to be caught in the act, so the more activity there is by people walking, riding bikes, etc., I believe there will be a decrease in illegal activities.

Brucetbauer
Brucetbauer

The City owns land in the creek that the trail could be built on .

Sean Noonan
Sean Noonan

In response to Gturner's comment that, "the last thing that Santa Ana needs is more cement," I would suggest considering porous paving technologies that would allow stormwater to be absorbed into the soil while also mitigating against increases in local air temperatures (heat island) that some associate with traditional concrete/cement trails.  The recent Anaheim Coves project between Lincoln and Ball on the west side of the Santa Ana River is an example of this technology in action.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Gturner, I walked through Jack Fisher Park and the undeveloped area three times—once accompanied, twice by myself (one of those at night). There was tagging and trash in the park as well as in the creekbed west of Flower Street. The picnic tables and their concrete pads are all tagged, and there was drug paraphernalia throughout the park. The creek bed itself IS a tagger paradise; they've even tagged the freaking rocks.

Cross over to the east side of the freeway, where the trail and park have been developed, and it's untagged, no trash, and safe. It could be the same way west of the freeway. Right now you don't want to imagine what's going on behind Fisher Park, since SAPD can't get in there very easily.

Mustang260ci
Mustang260ci

How do you know they're Republicans? Did you ask them? Bigot.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

The land between I-5 and Flower Street is both publicly and privately owned. There is about a 15' section of public property. The trail exits the underpass onto private property for about the first 75-100 feet (depending on where the trail is laid), which is undeveloped and full of trash and drug paraphernalia.

I repeat, however: if eminent domain is your major problem, why the red herrings about crime and trees?

There is not enough room to create a paved trail west of Flower Street, which is why the City of Santa Ana created the Class 2 trail (striped bike lane) along Memory Lane, which puts bicyclists on the Santa Ana River at an already-created underpass on the west side.

909Jeff
909Jeff

then build the trail... 

cook
cook

I've been to that park many times. There is penalty of room for the trail along the southern edge with the cannon being turned. No trees need to be cut, no traffic needs to be crossed, and no picnic tables need to be avoided.

The 5 widening in the area of Floral Park, Fisher Park, and the Allstate Ins area was done entirely on the railroad right a way with room to spare. Maybe you should look and see if there is enough room left on the RR land next to the freeway to run the bike trail up to the unnamed ally and then westward to connect to Memory lane.

anon
anon

cook,Are you comparing the building of a freeway used by millions of people, to a bike trail used by a handful? The widening of the 5 did impact homes in Floral Park, Park Santiago, Morrison Park and Fisher Park, they used eminent domain and took part of many people's backyards. Noise pollution went way up, especially with the construction of the Broadway bridge (which the trees in the creek bed help to mitigate). During the construction of the 5, one home on Riverside Dr. did have its retaining wall fall during a storm and the homeowner had to replace it at their own expense with no help from city or county officials. Did changes in the flow of the creek due to the widening contribute to the retaining wall falling? Possibly, but that is extremely hard to prove and the homeowners were too busy scrambling for a fix to pursue it.The Flower Street bridge was just repaired and there was no change in the creek itself.

As for the bike road going on the southern side of the park, you will still have to route it through the picnic tables (unless you want to chop down even more trees) and because the playground takes up the entire middle section of the park, speeding bikers will still be streaming right next to toddlers playing in the sand and on the equipment.  JFP is extremely small and very narrow, any path the bike road takes through the park will eat up a significant amount of it. It will no longer be a park where folks can relax and let their kids run free, but just another place where parents and picnickers must always be on the alert for dangerous cross traffic.

cook
cook

I understand your concerns and I wonder how the resident in that area survived the freeway and Flower street rebuild. Both of those were much bigger jobs than a bike trail.

I’ve been to the park many times, the trail can run along the southern portion with the cannon being turned.The bike road proponents aren't asking for a widened dirt path”   No becauseThe bike road proponents aren't asking for a widened dirt path”   No because The dirt path is said to be on private property, the bike path can be built on the public property.

Have the save the creek people come up with an alterative? Either in location or design?

anon
anon

cook,Any plan that mandates asphalt paving, as in a Class I bike trail, would absolutely necessitate the cutting down of most of the trees as the embankment would need extensive grading and build up. That is a fact.

If any of the above construction were to be approved, it would mean that many homeowners would lose property through eminent domain and that those homeowners on Park Lane would lose land and privacy as the bike trail would most likely abut their backyards. The risk to retaining walls on Riverside Dr. is also very real, large scale construction in a narrow water channel always brings risk and it would require extensive engineering.

Jack Fisher Park is not like other parks as it is very,very narrow, especially towards the creek bed end. The bike road would cut between the picnic benches and would come right next to the playground equipment, not 10 ft away, RIGHT NEXT to the new playground equipment. I challenge you to walk through JFP and measure off a 10-12 ft wide bike road, I think you will find that there are no other placement options.

Even if the bike road is restricted to the city's 15 ft, that would still require the use of eminent domain as the scope of construction would impact all the surrounding properties.

In short, a Class I bike road in the creek means MAJOR construction, this isn't going to be built by a troop of Boy Scouts.The bike road proponents aren't asking for a widened dirt path, they are advocating for a Class I bike trail, so all the above concerns are legitimate.

cook
cook

Currently there is no plan, route, or survey for the bike trail in this location. So saying that trees need to be cut or property needs to be taken is unsupported opinion and not a fact.

The argument the bikes will endanger picnickers and children doesn’t hold water either. The bike trails goes though many other parks with picnickers and children with out harm.

There is 15 feet of public land available. Of course grading and preparation of the public land is needed to build the bike path.

Privacy of Park Ln homeowners and the south side retaining wall being endangered is unsupported opinion and not a fact.

SaveSantiagoCreekAlliance
SaveSantiagoCreekAlliance

Can anon, who writes exceedingly well, succinctly, and has an excellent grasp of the English language, contact me at SaveSantiagoCreekAlliance@roadrunner.com? I would like to you about a position in our organization. Thank you. Ronald Salem, Community Liaison

anon
anon

In order to put a Class I bike trail in that portion of the creek bed, which is what Bruce Bauer's group is advocating for, all the old trees would need to be cut down, the entire embankment graded and then built up and paved over. This project would require the taking of private property through eminent domain, it will impact the privacy of the homeowners on Park Lane and it could endanger the aging retaining walls of the homes on Riverside Dr.This bike road will also cut right through Jack Fisher Park which is very narrow and heavily used. It will change a safe protected pocket park to a thoroughfare for speeding bikers, endangering picnickers and children playing on the new equipment.The NIMBY argument also falls short, as the creek's footpath is open to all and has been for decades, talk of fencing the creek off has only come up since the bike road proponents have been cutting down trees in the creek bed.

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