City Councilwoman Laurene Weste smiles during a council meeting. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Laurene Weste: Explore the city this summer on wheels

With more than 100 miles of picturesque trails including paseos, multi-use trails and bike paths, Santa Clarita is a city you can easily explore on a bike. Aside from our convenient network of trails, our city is the perfect setting for an afternoon ride thanks to the natural, scenic beauty of the rolling hills that surround us.

Summer is the ideal time to bring out that bicycle that has been collecting dust in your garage and take it out for a spin. Better yet, invite some friends and family members to join you on a trail ride around Santa Clarita Valley!

Bicycling is an excellent activity for the entire family. The motion used in bicycling helps build muscles, while cycling also improves navigational skills, both of which are wonderful benefits for young children. Meanwhile, adults can benefit from bicycling because this low-impact sport is a great way to stay in shape, improves lung health and strengthens the immune system. Cycling in Santa Clarita is a fun, free and healthy outdoor activity.

If you do not own a bike, check out the city’s bike-share program called Pace. The Pace program allows you to check out a blue beach-cruiser style bike from one of the multiple docks located around the city for a small fee. Docks are located in areas such as the Iron Horse Trailhead, the Old Town Newhall Library and by the Westfield Valencia Town Center. All you need to rent a bike is the Pace app on your mobile device. To learn more, please visit the city’s Bike Santa Clarita website at BikeSantaClarita.com.

Bike Santa Clarita is the city’s official bike website – a one-stop shop for all things bicycle-related in Santa Clarita. The website is a wonderful resource if you’re looking for digital and printable bike trail maps, bike safety tips, upcoming events, information on bike clubs and bike facilities and bike trail news.

City staff work on maintaining existing bike trails and constructing new ones every year, to ensure the community has bike-friendly connectivity to major landmarks and neighborhoods. Most recently, we added new bike trail connections as part of the Newhall Ranch Road bridge widening and the new Sierra Highway pedestrian bridge.

To increase bicycle safety, the city is working on adding bike detection features to more signals as part of an intelligent transportation systems project. As part of the city’s Safe Routes to School program, our staff has also been working closely with local middle schools and high schools to study ways we can improve opportunities for our students to walk and bike to school.

If you are already making use of our trails, you may have seen our wayfinding signs. These signs include directional and distance details to popular destinations including trails, roads, Metrolink stations and libraries. We also recently installed new emergency location system markers, which have been posted every eighth of a mile on all city-owned trails to assist with emergency response. Each marker showcases a number that can be shared with an operator to help them pinpoint your location and dispatch emergency personnel.

The city is also in the midst of working with a consulting agency to gather community feedback on ways Santa Clarita can provide trails and facilities to encourage non-motorized mobility – such as riding your bike to the mall instead of driving your car. The feedback gathered will be used to build a pedestrian and bicycle master plan to develop a clear vision for the future design and implementation of even more bicycle and pedestrian facilities, paseos and trails within the city.

Now is the perfect time to explore our bicycle-friendly community. I hope to see you out on our trails. Let’s all stay safe and healthy!

Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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