San Luis Obispo Council of Governments held its first community workshop at Templeton Community Center to discuss its proposed Northern Salinas River Trail Master Plan Project for northern San Luis Obispo County and the vision, issues and opportunities that such a proposed project represents.
Nearly one hundred local residents, mostly residents of North County, attended the workshop to learn about the proposed project along the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail from SLO County planning professionals. Residents were asked to share their personal experiences with the hiking and other undeveloped trails and how and where they currently use the river corridor. The residents also discussed project area assets, issues, constraints, opportunities and possible trail alignments with the planning officials.
The proposed project could encompass 35 miles of public and private land within the Salinas River corridor, which includes numerous trail fragments, various levels of open space and natural areas and development, as well as limited rights-of-way in some places. If the project is approved, the ultimate goal of SLOCOG planners is to maintain a trail system that has less than an eight-percent slope, with a three- to four-percent slope preferred, for maximum stability and to prevent potential erosion of the pathway. Any future trail would likely offer multiple routes of pedestrian and bicycle connectivity through a series of braided trail and would feature surfaces of loose sand and gravel, decomposed gravel, soil binders, asphalt, concrete and/or permeable concrete, depending on the expected design or use of the propose trail.
The goal of the workshop was to help develop a vision for the future trail between Santa Margarita and San Miguel, according to Geiska Velasquez, planning director for SLOCOG. Velasquez said SLOCOG planners are depending on longtime community residents of North County to share important information and personal observations about the river corridor to help ensure that the agency has the most accurate and comprehensive information available when evaluating all aspects of the proposed project. She said SLOCOG received a $100,000 planning grant from the California Department of Transportation that has enabled SLOCOG to define what is feasible in the short term, as well as the desirable long-term alignments, for the Anza Trail through North County.
Those who participated in the workshop also took part in several self-guided exercises at exhibit tables, as well as mapping, table topics and a workshop survey. Residents who were unable to attend the workshop are encouraged to fill out the workshop survey online as soon as possible at http://www.salinasrivertrail.com. Residents are also encouraged to make their wishes known to the project’s Steering Committee and the SLOCOG Board, which must approve any future project. The next step in the process will be an alternative analysis in March 2013. Community members are encouraged to connect with the Web site in late January to see a draft of the Existing Conditions Report and other materials, including an update on the input received through the surveys. A second workshop will be held in February or March.
For more information, contact Geiska Velasquez at (805) 781-4219 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Web site at www.salinasrivertrail.com, Facebook at Salinas River Trail Master Plan or follow on Twitter at @salinastrail.