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Satiago Creek Trail - March 1, 2001

Area 1 – Creek Banks from Orange/Santa Ana boundary to the 55 Freeway
Community Meeting Notes

Approximately 20 people attended this meeting held at Orange High School. Roger Hohnbaum, Assistant City Engineer, opened the meeting with a brief overview of City trail projects. He noted that this is the second meeting held to address a trail along this section of Santiago Creek. At the first meeting, participants were asked to identify their interests and concerns, which he then summarized. Roger also discussed the funds available for this project, noting that the City must have authorization from Caltrans to go out to bid on the project by June 30, 2001.

Jeff Gray and Sherrill Stone of the Orange Police Department addressed the security-related concerns raised at previous meetings. Ed Miller and Mike Green, consultants to the City, then began to address the engineering and design related issues raised at the previous meeting. Ed presented an opportunities and constraints analysis, identifying various alignment alternatives and the physical features of the area that would affect the location of the trail. He also provided information regarding costs associated with different alignments and design features.

The group was divided into two workshops, and participants were asked to plot an alignment for the trail. Approximately $550,000 is available for this project, and each group was given a cost breakdown of various trail features (such as paving surfaces, bridges, undercrossings, traffic signals, etc.). The groups then worked independently to discuss their preferences for a trail alignment, reconvening at the end of the meeting to summarize their discussions.

Both groups came to similar conclusions, each expressing a desire to extend the paved trail surface as far as possible, while deferring amenities such as landscaping, an all weather creek crossing (bridge), and accessory features such as lighting, benches, drinking fountains, etc. for a future time. Participants preferred a trail surface utilizing a material called “road oyl”, which is a strong, smooth surface like asphalt or concrete, but which has a more natural appearance. The group generally agreed on an alignment beginning on the north side of the creek at the Orange/Santa Ana boundary, crossing the creek in the Hart Park parking lot, and ramping up to the south side of the park east of Glassell Street. The trail would continue through the south side of Hart Park on existing paved pathways, to the existing maintenance road east of the park and then approximately follow the existing footpaths on the south side of the creek to Cambridge. Participants favored a trail crossing underneath the Cambridge St. bridge, connecting to the existing trail between Cambridge and Tustin Streets. The new trail would pick up at the end of the improved section and continue eastward under Tustin St., along the south bank of Santiago Creek. With the 55 Freeway construction, a ledge was provided for a trail undercrossing, and participants asked that the trail cross under the Freeway and continue a short distance to connect to Palmyra, to avoid a dead-end situation.

Several features of this alignment were discussed in detail. One issue discussed at length was the location at which the trail would cross the creek in the vicinity of Glassell Street. The consultants need to evaluate the clearance of the Glassell St. bridge on the north side of the creek, to determine where it is feasible to locate the creek crossing.

Participants gave much consideration to the alignment through Hart Park. There was some desire that the trail pass through the north side of the Park, however most agreed that the trail would not be compatible with the picnic area, pool and tot lot, where there is a high level of child oriented activity. Even if the bicycle trail cannot traverse this area, there was a request to consider a connection from the bike trail for pedestrians to access this northerly park area. The consultants will look into this. In considering a south side alignment, the group acknowledged that there is also significant activity in the south side of the park, but determined that there would be less of a conflict with young children. They also noted that the restrooms and concession building in this area would provide amenities for trail users. An alignment along the existing pathways was preferred, because it would remove less vegetation, and would not require relocation of picnic tables. The vehicular access ramps to the Park from Glassell were also discussed. The group was concerned about potential vehicle/bicycle conflicts and questioned whether the access roads could be modified or removed to improve safety.

The crossing at Cambridge was also of interest. At this time, the feasibility of an undercrossing is uncertain. The consultants will determine whether there is adequate clearance to put the trail under the bridge, and whether it can be done with existing funding.

One additional area of concern was the section of trail between Tustin St. and the 55 Freeway. There is a small area of private ownership along the creek bank that affects trail alignment. The City will need to either acquire right of way or design a means of building the trail around the right of way obstruction. Determination will be based on the City’s ability to acquire an easement and the cost factors of a structural modification. If this cannot be resolved at this time, the trail will end with a connection to LaVeta just east of Tustin St., rather than at Palmyra east of the Freeway.

At the close of the meeting, the participants asked to be kept informed as the trail is designed. Roger agreed to bring back plans at a public meeting when they are 50% complete.

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