Solvang Moves Forward to Study Needed Bike Path Connection
Not everyone agreed on the specifics, but everyone in the room agreed that safe bike infrastructure needs to be a priority in the Santa Ynez Valley. Thanks to the Santa Ynez Valley Spoke and increasingly engaged community in the valley, Monday night was standing room only at the Solvang City Council.
On the agenda was the status and plans for bicycle infrastructure within its city limits and how to instruct staff to collaborate with the region for a Santa Ynez Valley Bicycle Plan. The packed house meeting ran late, really late as there were good people full of passion on both sides of the Sunnyfields Spur (a much needed connection of the bike path that connects to Santa Ynez High, but currently terminates treacherously onto Highway 246) issue, which forced two councilmembers to recuse themselves due to conflict of interest. While the crowd represented many concerned homeowners, including those with kids wanting to ride, and some young children staying up past their bedtime, everyone was in agreement that there needs to be more safe bike paths and lanes for bicyclists of all ages.
The council voted 5-0 to support the SBCAG Santa Ynez Valley Bicycle Master Plan Study for FY 2018/19 and for Solvang to be part of it.
The council voted 3-0 to direct city staff to evaluate potential routes of the Sunnyfields Class 1 Connection. Councilwoman Jameson and Mayor Richardson recused themselves because they have property within 500 feet of a proposed route.
The Santa Ynez Valley Spoke started last year as an affiliate of SBBIKE. The goal was simply for a dialogue with the two cities in the valley and the SYV and its residents as a whole to improve bicycle (and pedestrian) infrastructure. Now that dialogue is officially underway! So stay tuned and when some community workshops are announced, if you have an opinion please participate in the process and attend.
Thanks again to all of you showed up to speak and to all of you who wrote emails as well. We’re sure that working together we’ll succeed in making the valley an even better and healthier place to call home. Special thanks go to Kristi Hunt and Michael Hecker, for volunteering their time with the County Riding and Hiking Trails Advisory Committee and advocating for this need. Also to County Supervisor Joan Hartmann and her office and Eve Sanford for her work on this area.
Thanks to Mike Hecker for text and Corey Evans for the photo.