The Santa Ana River Trail is a wonderful facility -
even though it is not a real Active Transportation corridor
( CLOSED after dark, and only 10 MPH Speed Limit!)
OC Parks maintains it well and it is a real gem of public space.

Recently it has been sacrificed for the auto-centric 91 Freeway expansion
and will have a major detour in Anaheim for a LONG time - see more here

Orange Olive Road access point

One of the local access issues for the SART in the City of Orange -
     un-changed for YEARS other than some one crashed through teh access gate into teh trees, and teh cell tower has had a new fence put around it...

What happened at the SART Bikeway access from Orange Olive Road at East Riverdale Avenue in the City of Orange ?

The way it WAS: (before Summer of 2010)
(Note even GOOGLE MAPS still showed & routes bikes on the old East access in November 2011)

Google Orange Olive & East Riverdale in Orange

Just West of the tracks, on East Riverdale Avenue there was a curb cut to a popular staging area with parking,
a gate for maintenance access to SART and an opening in the fence for trail users with a paved connector to the path.
Just East of the tracks there was a trail access gate with an open PAVED access gap for path users to SART.
A few years ago a cell phone array was added to the existing SCE power line tower, and the old hard pack dirt was
torn up and backfilled with soft sand.  The paved access opening was not re-sealed when the access road was resurfaced,
and the closed gate says NO TRESPASSING (on SART?)

Here is what the staging area / trail head /trail access looked like before
Old Satging area & access point
Nice curb cut, parking for maybe 10 cars if well parked, signed no overnight parking,
monument to De Anza's camp just left of the drive way.
Fence on near right side separated the staging area from the rail road tracks.

On the East side it looked like this:
East access

The paved connector path was clearly torn up from cell tower array addition several years ago.
A large utility box was set in soft sand where the connector path used to be. SART pavement ends at
the gate (here shown wide open) and the pass through opening to the right of the gate is still there,
but pavement had degraded.  Connection is obviously in use daily by bikes that can manage
the dirt to the curb of East Riverdale Avenue.
The degradation of this access to SART was tolerable as the staging area left another access on the
West side of the tracks for road bikes.

But then it got WORSE!

NOW the railroad has improved THEIR crossings through Orange and have completely eliminated the
legitimate access to SART.  More riders are now using the abandoned East access, because the West staging area
has been fenced off. (A narrow DIY paved path has now been laid by a local rider.)
The curb cut was removed and curbing was installed. The staging / parking area is now open to SART but not to
the street at all.  A new access gate has been installed about 200 feet west of the tracks, and a nice new sign was
posted that said "Bike Trail 200 Feet "but the access gate has no pedestrian / cyclist / equestrian access gap, and
is always locked. (The sign may have been removed rather than provide bikeway access.)
Here is the fenced of staging area on July 18th 2010:   In 2013 it is unchanged.

It was nice that they left the historical marker (brick block on left) in place
but there was no sidewalk to get to it and it was in disrepair.

I am sure The Orange Bicentennial Commission would rather have had this monument put inside the fence
or along the SART where it could be read.
It was salvaged (before it was stolen for scrap metal), and handed over to OC Parks - who relocated it very nicely
on the SART where it can be read by trail users.

The old gate (locked) is now INSIDE the fenced area on the West side - accessed only from SART,
and the access gap is still there as well... but a NO TRESPASS sign has been added to the back fence.

Who owns this vacant lot? County Flood Control and teh City of Orange no longer wants to manage parking
so it has been closed off and left rough. The the vacant space on the east side of the tracks has been abandoned
to the utilities who tore up the access road.

Most distressing is that enough local pedestrians and bikes have created a clear path through the brush on the SART
side of this fenced off lot, just to get around this fenced off area, and then along the tracks to get to the street!
Obviously the intent was to keep people away from the tracks, but this fence is actually feeding them onto the
railroad right of way!

With no developed or maintained legitimate access, 'man gate' or equestrian access, the people have traveled
where they can & created these 'natural' connectors: (Orange lines)

Orange Lines = 'Natural' paths of travel in use now (Obvious from soil compaction, lack of weeds, foot prints & tire tracks)
Red Lines = Chain Link fences
Blue Line = Class 2 on street bike route (Bike Lane)
Green Lines = Legal routes for cyclists to and from 'Natural' paths
Yellow Lines = Questionably legal routes;
     North bound from a dual left turn or right turn lane...there is no through lane to get to SART access
     East bound left turn from SART to get to the Bike Lane... there is no cross walk to eastbound street.

Notice that the City of Orange provides NO CROSS WALKS to help pedestrians get across
East Riverdale or Orange Olive. 

Wouldn't it be nice if the cell phone company were held to replacing the paved connector
to the existing 'man gate' that they destroyed on the East side of the tracks?  

And if the City of Orange added a complete Class 2 bike lane in BOTH directions, and a cross walk or two?
And a through lane for bikes to proceed North to the SART... 
     and some Sharrows where the street is to narrow for a Class 2 bike lane?

The County could consider adding a pass through 'man gate' at the new access gate just West of the old staging area,
& add a few amenities to the rough abandoned area ...if landscaped with some ground cover, a water faucet,
hitching post & port-o-let,  it could serve as a nice picnic area for SART trail users to enjoy - well off the bike way.
How much better would this look?

If you want to see improvements, Please contact OC Parks, OC Parks Comission, City of Orange,
the SART Official Community Website and the Orange County Bicycle Coalition!
Posted Nov 2010
Updated September 2013