The grand opening of the Arroyo Seco Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail is tentatively set for the morning of Saturday, Feb. 24, Community Services Director Sheila Pautsch announced Monday. Festivities will be catered toward families, said Pautsch, and will likely include helmet giveaways and bike safety educational activities led by members of Bike SGV.
With the opening of the trail, which Pautsch said is roughly 80 percent complete, the strip of the city extending from Lohman Lane along the Arroyo Seco River and past the golf course driving range will be accessible to citizens for the first time since 1955, when the golf course was originally constructed. Council Member and four-time Mayor Michael Cacciotti, who began working on this project in 2006, sees the trail as an important “open-space corridor that has been cut off from our citizens for over half-a-century.”
“80-90 percent of the project was funded with state and local grants,” Cacciotti said at a recent Council meeting. “I’d like to thank the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and Assembly Member Chris Holden for pushing this through current and former Councils.”
Cacciotti envisions the trail one day becoming part of a larger network of bicycle and pedestrian paths connecting the Los Angeles River Trail to the Rio Hondo Trail in Whittier. That dream presently has roadblocks, however, as the trail currently ends abruptly at the City’s Los Angeles border, out of the City of South Pasadena’s jurisdiction. An 800-900 ft. path continues under the York Street Bridge, but is unpaved and unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists.
South Pasadena, said Pautsch, is interested in working with Los Angeles Council Member José Huizar (representative, District 14) to connect the Arroyo Seco Trail to the Arroyo Bike Path. “From our public works department to community services to our transportation person, Margaret Lin, we’re all trying to communicate with Huizar’s office, working with his staff to look into grants to connect that strip,” said Pautsch. “Even if the answer is not necessarily a concrete path, even if it’s asphalt, right now there are way too many divots and holes to be a viable means of transportation.”
With this action, Pautsch and Cacciotti believe the City will receive the secondary benefit of increased safety in the Nature Park, a pocket of the city that vagrants occupy and taggers frequently vandalize.
The trail narrows by the York Bridge to 12 ft., but Pautsch doesn’t see that as an inhibiting factor to continuing the bicycle and pedestrian path. “A bike and a person can cross in 12 ft.,” she said.
The trail is 80 percent complete to date, said Pautsch. “We are just in the final phases of putting up signage and finishing up irrigation and planting,” she explained. Construction of the trail has been accompanied by the repaving and resurfacing of Lohman Lane, which has slowed business at the golf course in recent months but is expected to be completed by the Feb. 24 grand opening.
Additionally, the City does plan to address an unintended negative consequence of the trail’s construction, the accumulating number of golf balls flying over the driving range net and into the Arroyo Seco River, by conducting golf ball trajectory tests, Pautsch said.