December 22, 2007
San Gabriel Trail Grant Follow-up: Lakewood Accountability Action Group
Earlier this month I wrote about a grant received by the city of Seal Beach, for work on the San Gabriel River Bicycle Trail.
A few days ago I received an e-mail from the Lakewood Accountability Action Group, in Lakewood, CA., another city along the trail.
The LAAG is a California Non Profit Association "Demanding action and accountability from local government".
Laag had something to do with this.
We began harping at the city back in July 2006 (per our email records).
Our Nov 3 2007 email below was timed perfectly.
We also do a lot of interfacing with LA County DPW and city of Long Beach on the trail north of the 405.
Just take a look at our website.
Here is the e-mail, from Nov. 3rd, that was sent around to Officials and activists:
Subject: SGR bike path 405 to 22 fwy (seal beach)
Once again I am bringing up the subject of getting the San Gabriel River bike path repaved between the 405 and the 22 Fwy. It appears from the attached documents that section has not been repaved since it was installed via a cooperative effort by Orange County, LA County and Seal Beach in 1976 (30 years ago)
With age, weather, heavy equipment use (by LA County), gopher/sink holes and a poor roadbed initially laid down, it is time this section of path be upgraded. It is about 0.8 miles long.
I can say with confidence that this is one of the worst sections of Class I bikeway in either LA or Orange counties. Riding a road bike on this section of trail almost requires a kidney belt. It clearly fails to comply with the CalTrans manual on bike paths [see section 1003.6(2); Surface Quality. ....For rideability on new construction, the finished surface of bikeways should not vary more than 6 mm from the lower edge of a 2.4 m long straight edge when laid on the surface in any direction.]
I had spoken about this subject with both county of LA and Andy DaSilva at Seal Beach and got nowhere as the section of trail covers two counties on a river run by LA county DPW.
The old 1970 era documents are not a model of clarity today as to who should be responsible for repaving this section. One point seems clear from the 1976 permit. LA County maintains that it controls this river and is issues the permits.
Also, then as now, it is clear that both LA County and Orange County residents use this river path which somewhat divides the two counties, along with the Coyote creek. Also it is quite clear that Seal Beach benefits from much of this bike traffic which for the most part heads straight to Seal beach pier and related shopping and eating establishments. So all three agencies have an interest in fixing this section. (I might add that Seal beach should also repave 1st st. between Marina Dr. and Ocean Ave much the way it finally fixed Ocean ave from that intersection to the pier as that is how all the bike trail traffic gets to the pier; as you know bikes are more sensitive to bad pavement than cars)
My suggestion is that the two counties and the city figure out a way to do this.
As far as what needs to be done and the cost the County of LA is currently "rebuilding/repaving" the section of the same bike path between Carson and Wardlow (near the Long Beach Towne Center). So far it looks like the contractor is doing a good job and what needed to be done. This 405/22 section will need the same sort of rehabbing as the roadbed is disintegrated and adding more pavement over the top of what is there currently is not a long term solution.
The good news is once you fix it you wont need to do it again for 30 years.
While I agree that work needs to be done (I mentioned the current work being done near the Long Beach Town Center in my Ride along the River.), I certainly DID NOT require a Kidney Belt on any stretch of the 44 mile trail or I would certainly have written about it. ;-D
It is clear that work has not been done in decades, all up and down the trail, and needs to be done to ensure that the trail remains in rideable condition.
In the last decade, with the increase in activism among cyclists and the birth of BikeBlogs, government awareness of its responsibilities to this segment of their communities, nationally and globally, has grown, thus efforts by government to keep their constituents happy by fixing exisiting trails and adding new ones are growing.
As the Nov. 8th reply to the above shows, the people responsible are paying more attention:
Thank you for your e-mail to the City of Seal Beach discussing items of concern with the operations and maintenance of the San Gabriel River Trail. Currently, the City of Seal Beach is working with the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy within the State Resources Agency to secure funding to improve the River Trail from the Trail’s terminus at the Pacific Ocean for approximately 3.5 miles through the section you mentioned between SR-22 and the 505 Freeway. Pending approval of grant requests, this project will also help restore and rehabilitate certain amenities at the 1st Street Entranceway to the River Trail.
The City looks forward to working with the community and other interested groups in the implementation of this project. Any suggestions and comments you have will be a great benefit. Please feel free to contact me at any method listed below should you have any additional questions or observations.
David Spitz, P.E.
Associate Civil Engineer
City of Seal Beach
The LAAG website has a few links related to Cycling Activism, and 3 archives devoted to issues along the Bike Trail.
Except for the 2 characters that I encountered in Irwindale I encountered no problems and saw no Homeless Encampments or gatherings of gangbangers the day of my ride.
In Santa Ana, at 2 points of the Santa Ana Trail, there are what appear to be permanent Homeless Encampments on the side without a trail, and the characters that hang out there leave trail users alone as far as I know.
I encountered a Santa Ana Park Ranger parked on the trail across from one of the encampments, the other day, and asked him about the issue and who I needed to contact about cleaning it up.
The guy appeared to be in his 60's and his response was less than helpfu, as he first said the state tied their hands with regards to removal, then gave me 3 different answers when I insisted on trying to get info on who I needed to contact to learn more, including that he didn't have an info card to give me.
Don't let the occasional report such as this spook you about riding the river. Just be aware of your surroundings and even prepared to leave the trail when neccessary, hell even riding with a friend is a good idea.
I agree that more law enforcement efforts are needed on all the river trails, not because the problem is out of control, but just as a matter of public safety responsibilities of the agencies in charge and plain old common sense.
sand buildup problems on the SGR trail? Well, yes, there's some, but don't bring your beach balls or set up a volleyball court. ;-D
Having new bicycle trails that would connect paths from the San Gabriel River to the Los Angeles River would be a cool addition to the region. ;-G
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