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Greenbelt Alignment

Greenbelt Alignment

Since our SAVE MODOC ROAD TREES online petition got started, our 4818 (and growing) supporters have pressured Santa Barbara County to design over half of their new Class I MUP (Multi-Use Path) out of the Modoc Preserve  and up on Modoc Road, where it belongs…we have been calling it the Greenbelt Alignment…sorry, we couldn’t come up with something fancy, or catchy, like Alignment A (Awful)…Alignment B (Bad)…Alignment C (Can’t Cuz We’ll Be Sued)…etc…etc…;-)
I mean we had to name this alternative before they named it…wait for it…Alignment D (Don’t Destroy the Damn Trees)…;-)

Another way to think of the Greenbelt Alignment is simply a 3/4 mile long extension of the Class I Obern Trail MUP…the County has already moved 1/2 of what they call their new 3/4 mile long Alignment A up onto Modoc Road outside the treeline…now, they just have to continue extending the Obern Trail another couple of hundred yards…

It’s become quite visually evident, now that the County has staked out their ROW (Right of Way), that the whole enchilada should be constructed north of the tree line on this very important greenbelt along Modoc Road…

Their new Alignment A…or, is it Z?…pardon me…I forget…there have been so many iterations and they keep moving the goal posts…already goes through some of the narrowest sections along Modoc Road…which absolutely proves that they should just stop playing games and leave ALL of the trees alone…and, redesign it to fit in the existing asphalt infrastructure…like it was originally intended when SB County Public Works wrote the ATP grant back in May, 2018 for this money grab with the local bike coalitions…

The SB County Public Works application for the $5.35MM ATP grant explicitly states “The project will reduce barriers along the corridor by REPLACING SECTIONS OF CLASS II BIKE LANES WITH A MORE SAFE AND ATTRACTIVE SEPARATED PATH, suitable for people of all ages and abilities.”


Which is exactly what we have been asking for…Greenbelt Alignment…or, the Obern Trail extension… Building the MUP, up on Modoc Road, which is what the County asked for in the first place and is currently designed for the western half of the MUP. So, just like the 4.5 mile Obern Trail from Modoc Road out to Goleta Beach does not have Class II bike lanes running on either side of it…the Modoc Road MUP was never intended to also have Class II bike lanes…this is right up on the top of the application and was used to sell the $5.35MM ATP grant to CalTrans in Sacramento…

What’s that you say?

The ATP grant writer was also on a bike coalition’s Advisory Board…OH…no wonder the grant application was ginned up…more on that later…;-)

If this was all $8MM of SB County tax payer money…this would never have seen the light of day…

We have received heaps of COMMENTS on our petition from cyclists opposed to this multi-million dollar money grab…over 200 comments in opposition to this UNMITIGATED DISASTER

Here is the most recent one…

I am not sure what on earth is happening with Santa Barbara lately, however our true values have somehow eroded. The needless hacking down of so MANY gorgeous full grown trees is appalling. Santa Barbara has legendary protected the trees and habitats. I am signing this petition because I believe the eclectic and rare assortment of trees and foliage brought over here a hundred years ago matter. Santa Barbara’s true character is being wiped away. Let’s all unite and stand to stop every last natural nook and cranny from being developed. This isn’t New Port. We have history here and it deserves to be honored.

Here is a letter from a local cyclist who makes a well reasoned case against building the path at all…the “No Build Alternative”

Dear Supervisor Hart:

I write to express my opposition to the plans for a Class I Bike Path through the Modoc reserve. I am a longtime sport cyclist and bicycle commuter, and I ride along that stretch of Modoc Road an average of five times per week. I am also a resident of that immediate neighborhood and my kids attended Vieja Valley.

There is no need for a Class I bike path on that part of Modoc, and no justification for destroying trees and damaging the nature reserve to build one.

The existing Modoc bike lanes, contrary to what some may have told you, are perfectly safe for experienced adult/teen cyclists, as well as for older kids with supervision, as I know from experience with my own sons. (Indeed, I would not use a separate bike path even if you built it: the road is perfectly safe and I don’t run into small kids, moms with strollers, etc.) The needs of small children and families, on the other hand, are much better served by the existing nature reserve with its trees. Kids’ bikes can be ridden just fine on the existing hard packed dirt paths. They don’t need a Class I path.

Indeed, a shiny asphalt, two-lane, marked path with guardrail and gravel sidings — as has been built elsewhere along Modoc and Las Positas — would be entirely destructive of the atmosphere of the reserve, just as though someone built a freeway through it. To destroy trees for such a thing would be unconscionable. If the County wants something better than packed dirt, please consider a concept like the former Sheffield Reservoir nature area, where unobtrusive (but still paved) paths blend nicely with the natural setting. This could surely be built without destroying any trees.

The argument for ‘improved bicycle safety’ is a specious one. Modoc just isn’t difficult or dangerous, no more than any other road and less than most. If the County really wishes to improve bicycle safety, I could easily give you a list of 50 stretches of road in Santa Barbara which I know from personal experience to be far more dangerous, where the $5.3 million would be much better spent.

The proposed bike path also will do little if anything to reduce greenhouse emissions, because pretty much anyone who would actually use a bike in place of a car trip is already doing it with the perfectly adequate bike lanes that exist. If it’s greenhouse gases we are after, how about reimagining a future for a car-free Upper State Street? Use the now-unnecessary parking lots at La Cumbre Mall as a park-and-ride (supplemented by the Mackenzie Park lot), run free electric shuttles every 5-10 minutes, have rentable bikes and scooters sprinkled throughout, and have a nice Class I bike path down the middle. (By the way, Upper State Street would be on that list of 50 I mentioned, so this plan would help safety a lot too.)

Please do not allow the County to destroy trees and damage the nature reserve for this completely unnecessary and unwanted bike path.

Thank you very much for your time and for your many years of outstanding service to Santa Barbara.

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