Ode to San Jose.
Ask around about the San Jose creek bikepath just a year ago, and insiders would tell you- It's a pipe dream. Broken up into multiple project sections, shelved off into the undefined future, the project was complicated, expensive, and seemingly, going nowhere. While many locals had no idea about what it even was, those in the know couldn't wait for a path connecting under the freeway to Old Town and out to Goleta Beach and UCSB. Just like Maria Ignacio trail, but better located, this path has been a long held dream for bicycle advocates and Old Town advocates.
And if you are like me, you've gotten muddy and crawled through the creek under the freeway, railroad, and Calle Real, dreaming and drooling over what could be, and how it would benefit daily life for so many.
Well, Goleta has just learned that fortune favors the bold. Just one month ago I wrote with glee that THE SAN JOSE BIKEPATH IS NOT DEAD! Not only did it refuse to go away to the dustbins of planning history, but it got its foot in the door of the fiercely competitive CA Active Transportation funding. One million dollars! Perhaps more significantly was an odd asterisk. Yes, this- *. Don't forget to read the footnotes! in tiny print at the bottom of the scoring table read: CTC will work with the jurisdiction to secure project funding.
It turns out that was a $13 million dollar footnote. One month later, just days ago, the California Transportation Commission adopted funding distributions not just for a million dollar, foot in the door. But instead invited us inside for dinner with $14 million sitting on a plate at the head of the table.
How did this happen?
The City of Goleta staff, who deserve medals of honor for their work, got both bold, and creative. Instead of applying to fund one small, expensive part of the project, why not ask for the whole enchilada? Show the benefits of a broad connecting pathway. Run the numbers and see how it might score... Why not compliment the adjacent Ekwill-Fowler, long delayed project as well? Previous efforts for just one section of path had been written, re-written, and gone unsubmitted at the last minute, not ready for prime time. But this time was different.
The City of Goleta, on behalf of Goodlanders have shown that they are ready for prime time. The path will receive construction funding in 2021/22, which infrastructural time speaking, is fast! SBBIKE looks forward to working with Goleta Staff, dropping off coffee, checking in and pestering, to support the significant work, including finding remaining funding, that it will take to bring this project to reality.
It will have been one of the most significant gifts to the Goodland in a generation.