The city of Santa Clarita shared details of its proposed Bouquet Canyon Trail, which would connect Bouquet Canyon Road to Central Park, and addressed some concerns from residents, who worry about potential crime incidents as the trail would be constructed near their backyards.
According to Alex Porlier, a project manager with the city, the project is designed in multiple phases and they are in the process of finalizing phase one — the design phase. The project would enable residents to take full advantage of a new connection to Central Park from Bouquet Canyon Road, which would allow pedestrians and cyclists to safety navigate the city’s off-street trail system without worrying about the vehicle traffic hazards.
“The plan began in January with outreach and early on-the-ground evaluation,” Porlier said. “We had some initial recommendations as well as from multiple outreach events. We also had online communication.”
City staff received more than 800 individual comments throughout the duration of this initial phase from community surveys, public input maps, pop-up events and stakeholder workshops.
Porlier said a recurring theme for the Bouquet Trail was a desire for additional rider comforts and additional access to Central Park. From feedback, there were approximately 99 individual capital improvement recommendations made and ranked in the plan based on a number of criteria, including characteristics, project readiness, cost, connectivity and so on.
City staff identified Measure M, a half-cent sales tax L.A. County voters approved in 2016, as a way to fund a portion of the project.
“Jurisdictions received money in three specific area or projects related to active transportation, transit and highway efficiency programs,” Porlier said.
Though there has been a lot of positive feedback regarding the new trail, city staff noted some Santa Clarita residents were concerned with accessibility between the trail and homes.
In a recent community outreach event, city staff addressed those concerns regarding privacy and safety.
Porlier noted in Santa Clarita there are 10.4 miles of class one trails that exist behind residences, and in addition the city has 29 miles of paseos, many of which are behind neighborhoods.
The city’s Parks and Recreation staff clean these trails regularly, he added. In addition, city staff proposed barriers and privacy screens along the new Bouquet Canyon Trail as an added layer of protection.
City staff also spoke with nearby school administration — Saugus High School and Emblem Academy — as the proposed project impacts them as well. Porlier noted the city will increase “safe crossing” from the Saugus High School side with additional signage, which would alert bicyclists and drivers in that area.
“This will remain open. It’s a 24-hour path. However, it will be closed during extreme flooding,” Porlier said. “It’s a practice standardized throughout the city to keep people safe and keep them from trying to get into the waters.”
The trail will be monitored by park staff, and Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies will also help ensure the path and neighborhoods remain safe.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Capt. Justin Diez addressed a resident’s concern about burglary during a recent community meeting held by the city.
“It is possible of course. There’s access to people’s homes via any bike path or anything. However, although it does happen, it’s extremely rare,” Diez said.
According to Diez, the city of Santa Clarita has various bike paths and paseos in residential neighborhoods with deputies patrolling these paths on bicycles or sometimes with off-road or on-road motorcycles.
“We’d certainly have a presence not only at this path, but other paths as well,” Diez said.
In an effort to further address concerns related to safety, Diez said there would be a crime prevention deputy assigned to that zone, where the new trail would be. Residents would be able to communicate any concerns or tips with law enforcement officials, he added.
Kevin Strauss, communications specialist for the city of Santa Clarita, said city staff continue to compile and evaluate feedback and comments received from community public outreach events held recently and in the last two months.
“Based on these comments, the city will continue with the design phase, which is anticipated to be completed by the fall of next year,” Strauss wrote in an email. “Construction is projected to follow shortly after, pending final design approval.”