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Would you like to Ride Your Bicycle to Work?

by the Social Diary San Dieguito River Park's Columnist Dick Bobertz
Column #1, January 6th, 200

If your answer is yes you should start following (and helping) the many ongoing efforts to establish a county-wide hiking and bicycling trail system. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors gave us all a New Year's present last year when they adopted a County Trails Program. The program proposes developing trails for hiking, biking and equestrian uses on a regional basis and coordinating regional trail segments with other public agencies and cities.

This is a December 1, 2005 shot of the ribbon-cutting for a bicycle lane along Vial De La Valle (taken at the west end of the Black Horse Grill parking lot). Center is Scott Peters next to Dick Bobertz.. The rest of the group are members of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition including Kathy Keehan and City staff.

Why was that so important? Because, believe it or not, prior to 2005 there was no government plan to coordinate the provision of a regional trail system - not in the County and not in the City of San Diego. Yes, various trail segments were being constructed in both jurisdictions largely as requirements of individual developments. But, no one was charged with the responsibility to see that those segments were connected to form a regional system.

The County's regional trail map includes five trails extending across the County from east to west including: The San Dieguito River Park Coast to Crest Trail, the Trans-County Trail, The San Diego River Corridor Trail, the California Riding and Hiking Trail, and the Otay Valley Regional Park Trail. When completed, there will be five east-west regional trails across the County, all connecting to the north-south Pacific Crest Trail on the east and the ocean on the west.

I admit to being an optimist, but it seems obvious to me that the next step will be to provide north-south links at various points along these trails to establish a grid of regional trails overlaying the entire County. If such a system can be established people will actually be provided with a practical alternative to getting in their car for every trip to the store, school or work. How many people will choose a 30 minute bicycle ride that is completely separated from traffic over a similar time spent in a car in congested traffic? How many people will take advantage of an accessible regional trail grid for mental and physical health benefits? How much will San Diego's quality of life improve? Let's find out.

Log on to www.sdrp.org and find out how you can help.

* Dick Bobertz has been the Executive Director of the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority since 1998. Prior to 1998, he had a diverse career leading government and environmental organizations in Utah, Nevada and California. Most recently he served as City Manager for Gonzales, California and Planning Director for Alpine County, California. www.sdrp.org

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