Seaside shifts gears on bike path
City scraps rec trail plan for General Jim Moore Boulevard.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
M onterey Peninsula Recreation Trail is a poster child for eco-friendly planning. The popular hiking and biking path passes through Seaside and Monterey safely buffered from the whizzing cars on Del Monte Boulevard.
Fort Ord Reuse Authority plans called for another Class I path to separate pedestrians and bikers from vehicular traffic along General Jim Moore Boulevard in eastern Seaside. The path would connect upper Canyon Del Rey Boulevard with the sprawling recreational trails of the former Fort Ord.
But the city of Seaside ditched that plan and is instead constructing a 10-foot-wide sidewalk and a marked shoulder, known as a Class II bike lane, along General Jim’s east side.
Keith DeFiebre, president of the Central Coast Cycling Club and co-founder of Fort Ord Recreational Trails Friends, isn’t happy about the change.
“They should think of the families and the kids,” he says. “If you want to highlight your city as biker-friendly and pedestrian-friendly, you’ve got to have a Class I lane.”
FORA’s plans actually called for a triple play—a Class I path, Class II lane and sidewalk—along the entire length of General Jim, according to Seaside Deputy City Manager Diana Ingersoll.
But in the first phase of General Jim’s realignment—the northern stretch from Normandy Road to Coe Avenue—military housing parcels limited the slope that could be cut into the road’s east side, making it impossible to build both a Class I path and an extra-wide sidewalk, she says. So city planners scaled back to a sidewalk and a Class II path.
General Jim’s second phase, from Coe Avenue to Del Rey Oaks, is designed with same right-of-way width in order to cut costs, Ingersoll says. That means a 10-foot sidewalk and a Class II lane, but no Class I.
However, that could change. City officials intend to ask a future developer to build the rec trail, Ingersoll says. And the sidewalk could be converted into a Class I path, at least until east Seaside development starts.
In this economy, when new construction seems about as far off as hover boards, that last idea could have traction.