SANTA ANA RIVER TRAIL
DETOUR




The Santa Ana River Trail (SART)  has a 1.3 mile detour due to widening of the 91 Freeway Bridge over the River.
CalTrans is in charge of the project and the SART will be closed until October 2015
CalTrans has established & posted a detour for BICYCLE TRAFFIC, but (in our opinion) has done so with out due consideration of the majority of SART users, or the full spectrum of bicyclists.
Many Bicyclists who ride on SART have a high degree of riding experience and are comfortable at effectively driving their bicycles in traffic. More who tend to use the SART are less so, and prefer the Class I Bikeway experience over Class II Bike Lanes or Class III Bike Routes. When riding on streets, most of these prefer Edge Riding and Sidewalk Riding.
The detour directs users onto Tustin and Lakeview for a short block to the parallel Riverdale Avenue. Riverdale is a 2 & 4 lane road, with sub standard narrow bike lanes and does not have side walk on all of the north (west bound) side. Pedestrians and Equestrian SART users have not been considered beyond an assumption that they will know how to traverse the detour or stay away...

OC Parks has jurisdiction over the SART and it is a precious recreational facility. It is not actually an optimal transportation corridor, as it has a 10 MPH speed limit and is closed after dusk, so it was surprising that a full mile of perfectly usable parkway facility has been fenced off unnecessarily-

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition met with OCTA, CalTrans, OC Parks and Anaheim Traffic staff on May 5th to explore options to improve the detour, and some improvements have been made, but more issues are outstanding.

Already closed in March 2014 it will be shut down until October 2015!
(DETOURED from Class I Bikeway / Multi Use Trail to surface streets. for the next 2 summers!)
Here is a virtual tour of the conditions to date:

Red Outline shows actual construction & staging zone - closed to all public access:





Downstream (West) on SART from North Lakeview Street to North Tustin Avenue in Anaheim.


Even though the construction zone is only just east of the 91 Freeway bridge over the Santa Ana River, a detour
is required to go around the construction zone, but CalTrans put a fence across the entire trail a mile east of the
closed work zone, apparently with OC Parks' approval... With OCBC & OCTA input the fence was backed up to just west of the Riverdale Park entrance, so public access within the detour has been extended - but the fence across the entire
trail makes no sense here. It should be moved 1 mile west to the actual construction boundary, allowing access
to the parkway for those not intending to reach Tustin Avenue.

In stead of just saying "BIKE WAY CLOSED" A sign saying:
RIVER TRAIL CLOSED
1 MILE AHEAD
DEAD END - NO OUTLET

THROUGH TRAVEL
USE DETOUR (1.3 MILE)
ON E RIVERDALE AVE

would let folks know they can enjoy the trail to the construction zone, but not get to Tustin Ave or beyond, and will have no outlet...

And pedestrians could be directed to go through Riverdale Park
                                                       (Anaheim actually prohibits bicycles in Riverdale Park!)


The public could still enjoy the portion of the trail parkway between N Lakeview Dr & the closed construction
zone a mile west.  Pedestrians could opt to detour through Riverdale Park to get to the side walk on E Riverdale Ave.
Instead they fenced off the entire trail width to all users (Bikes, Pedestrians, Horses, Emergency & maintenance Vehicles)
and a detoured all users onto South Bound N Lakeview Ave for one block to E Riverdale Ave.
N Lakeview Ave can get pretty busy - and the bike lane ends right where the detour turns onto the street so for
the side walk or edge riding cyclists they will tend to stay on the side walk or dangerously ride in the gutter to E Riverdale Ave. Bicycle drivers will merge with traffic and control their lane to the right turn pocket at E Riverdale Ave.

A Sign for SB at the SART connector saying
SANTA ANA RIVER TRAIL
CLOSED 1 MILE WEST
DETOUR AHEAD
BICYCLES
ENTERING ROADWAY

could help alert motorists and direct bicyclists heading to SART to ride down stream before they enter the connector . 
 
SART is a Nationally recognized & designated hiking & equestrian trail, so closure also directs those other users onto
N Lakeview Ave or the side walk, even though a much nicer pedestrian option is only 200 feet beyond Lakeview through at
Riverdale Park (City of Anaheim)
Who's Road Is It?
CalTrans chose to alert motorist to the increased presence of bicyclists on the detour
with big orange SHARE THE ROAD signs: these signs - aka "STR" -
used all over by CalTrans and local agencies but have real world problems.

The newer standard highway sign, supported by the OCBC, and far better choice is
BMUFL
aka "BMUFL" - same intended message but with far less mis-interpretation.
The reasons are not so obvious until you look at what they say in very different ways to motorist and bicyclists;

BMUFL tells motorists the FACT that it is legal and safer for the bicyclist to use their full lane when needed / advised. Motorists must expect to find bicycles in the lane, and must slow, signal, change lanes & pass the bicyclist safely as they would any slower traffic.
STR tells motorists who don't know the law, & think bicycles belong as far to the right or on the side walk that any rider in their way is WRONG. Motorists then tend to honk out of road rage, right of speed mentality or even to be helpfully teaching the bicyclist a lesson by honking, close passing, throwing objects etc.

BMUFL tells bicyclist that if the lane is narrow or there are other hazards, they may control their lane, they do NOT have to stay in the gutter & invite cars & truck to share their lane.
STR is misunderstood by some bicyclists that they MUST move as far to the right & share their travel lane with motor vehicles, so they will often ride in the gutter at greater risk of having a close-passing motor vehicle hit them or for them to not be able to avoid a hazard on the road edge.


Redirected SART users are only one block out of their way on East Riverdale Ave. East Riverdale has 4 travel lanes and a center turn lane at the east end, a posted speed limit of 45 MPH, and some of the narrowest Bike Lanes in Orange County. 
The California Highway Design Manual dot.ca.gov/hq/oppd/hdm/pdf/chp1000.pdf minimum legal standard for a Bike Lane is 1.5 Meters - that is 59.0551 inches (from the face of a curb to the 6" wide white line). The standard further requires a MINIMUM of .9 meter (35.4331 inches) of asphalt / road surface outside the concrete gutter pan.   Many cities exceed this minimum by having generous 8 foot wide Bike Lanes, that also make it safer and easier for cars to use as a right turn. Anaheim has painted such narrow Bike Lanes that the Word BIKE barely fits.

These sub-standard Bike Lanes could be left as ridable shoulders
& have Sharrows painted in the right travel lane
if the speed limit was reduced to 35 MPH during this detour period.


If you are a pedestrian, you will wish to have crossed to the south side of the street at N Deerfield St, as there is no sidewalk on the north side after N Torrens St, 2 blocks away.  There is no sign suggesting to do so at Deerfield so if pedestrians continue they will end up walking on the road way in the bike lane, illegally facing with traffic, or will cross with out a cross walk at N Torrens Street.

Farther west the road is reduced to 2 lanes, and goes over a bridge above the 91 freeway. At Tustin Avenue the posted detour directed users to cross Tustin to the NW corner (no cross walk - so again pedestrians were not considered for direction to cross Tustin then Riverdale). South Bound Tustin has a free right turn onto West Bound Riverdale, so extreme caution is prudent as motorists will not have a signal to stop them before turning through the cross walk. The original detour turned north on the side walk against traffic (on the wrong side) of Tustin Avenue to connect with the SART connector to resume traveling west bound.  Fortunately, at the urging of OCBC Board members and SART users, CalTrans promptly removed the fence blocking the underpass below Tustin, and OC Parks reopened the gate to SART so now SART users can turn right on N Tustin and resume the SART from the east side of NB Tustin. NB Tustin has a side walk but no bike lane.


Upstream (East) on SART from North Tustin Avenue to North Lakeview Street in Anaheim

The Detour begins just west of N Tustin Avenue. 
Tustin can get pretty busy - so for the side walk or curb riding cyclists they will tend to stay on the side walk to Riverdale.

A Sign on SB Tustin saying:
SANTA ANA RIVER TRAIL
CLOSED TO EAST
DETOUR AHEAD
BICYCLES
ENTERING ROADWAY
could help alert motorists and direct bicyclists heading to SART to ride up stream, before they enter the connector from Tustin Ave.  

South Bound Tustin has no bike lane and has a free right turn onto West Bound Riverdale, so extreme caution is prudent as motorists will not have a traffic light to stop them before turning across the cross walk. Bicycle drivers will merge with traffic and take the left turn lane pocket at Riverdale. Unfortunately Anaheim has chosen to not cycle the signal, but only give a left when the sensor loop detects a waiting vehicle, and it would not pick up a wheel as of May 5th 2014.  That forces bicyclists to illegally turn against the red light or wait until joined by a motor vehicle. If warned, Bicyclist could be directed to do a "box turn", proceeding across Riverdale in the cross walk, then proceeding east on Riverdale.

The Bike Lane on 2 lane Riverdale runs over a bridge above the 91 freeway, then expands to 4 travel lanes with a center turn lane. It has a posted speed limit of 45 MPH, and very narrow sub-standard bike lanes. (see above) There is only a side walk on the south side (east bound) side of East Riverdale but it continues to cross walks at N Lakeview. To short cut through Riverdale Park, Pedestrians should use the cross walk at Deerfield to get on the side walk on the north side of the street.

At Lakeview the detour turns left onto north bound Lakeview,  again at the mercy of Anaheim to cycle the signal, not only give a left when the sensor loop detects a waiting vehicle. That forces bicyclists to illegally turn against the red light or wait until joined by a motor vehicle. If warned, Bicyclist could do a box turn, proceeding across N Lakeview Ave in the cross walk, then proceeding north on N Lakeview Ave. back to the SART. Pedestrians have a cross walks to get to the east side of  N Lakeview & easily back to the SART.

The detour concludes at the connector to SART. Unfortunately the curb bulbs out where a 90 turn onto the connector from the north bound Bike Lane on Lakeview is a bit risky... going up the drive way onto the side walk is a more prudent approach that edge riders and side walk riders will prefer.  CalTrans is looking into putting an asphalt ramp up the curb to help edge riding get off the street safely, however that could facilitate encouraging wrong way riders illegally flowing south bound onto the edge of the north bound road.

Remedies Proposed May 5th; 4 members of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition Board and a concerned local resident met with OCTA, CalTrans, OC Parks  and Anaheim representatives on May 5th and discussed several improvements.

1: Remove the blocking fence west of N Tustin Avenue, to allow use of the trail under the road to the east side - for connection to N Tustin Ave Northbound, and to allow west bound SART traffic to turn onto N Tustin Ave & connect to west bound SART - open existing gate.  (Done in 48 hours) (CalTrans / OC Parks)

2: Change the DETOUR direction to turn right on N Tustin to get to the SART on the correct side of the street, and end detour at connector from NB Tustin Ave. (CalTrans)

3: Remove the blocking fence just west of N Lakeview Avenue, to allow pedestrian / equestrian access to Riverdale Park and the rest of the SART between the detour and the full closure at the construction zone. (Moved back 200 feet in 48 hours, but should be at construction site & not block entire trail parkway access for local use) (CalTrans / OC Parks)

4: Change the SHARE THE ROAD signs to BIKE MAY USE FULL LANE signs. (CalTrans)

5: Re stripe the Bike Lanes on E Riverdale Ave to standard width or more, or black out the Bike Lane symbols to leave them as ridable shoulders, lower the speed limit to 35 MPH and paint sharrows in the right most lanes. (Anaheim)

6: Consider ramping the curb from NB Lakeview to SART connector at east end of the detour.

One question raised was
"Why didn't the detour use the road on the north bank of the river instead of Riverdale"
;
OC Parks indicated that that road was not paved all of the way - so it would not be sufficient for road bikes, but having ridden it, the graded dirt portion would be a viable detour for equestrians, pedestrians & durable bikes... unless the 91 widening will also eventually close the north bank as well...
There are access gates that could be opened and under passes at
both Lakeview and Tustin that would provide access to both sides of both streets...


Lend your support?  PLEASE:

Contact the City of Anaheim & ask that
- Left Turn lanes from N Tustin to E Riverdale & E Riverdale to N Lakeview be
        re-programmed to cycle left turns with out demand or
        adjust the sensitivity to detect a single bicycle for on-demand left turn signals

 - Bring E Riverdale Avenue Bike Route up to State Standards
        Class II Bike Route - Make Bike Lanes at LEAST 59" wide with 35" of available road surface (asphalt) or
        Class III Bike Route: Reduce speed limit to 35 MPH and paint Sharrows down the right most lanes in both directions

- Eliminate free right turns from N Tustin onto E Riverdale ( North bound to east bound AND south bound to west bound)

- Welcome bicycles in Riverdale Park & any other city park that prohibits them!

- Next time, contact the OC Bicycle Coalition for help & input BEFORE impacting bicycle access.


Contact OC Parks and ask that ...

 - Public access be preserved in the mile of beautiful parkway between Lakeview, Riverdale Park and the closed work zone near the 91 freeway. Allow the public to enjoy walking, cycling, birding, dog walking, horse riding etc. on this stretch even if closed to through traffic past the closure.

- Provide information on the detour, duration and public access (local recreation - not through traffic)

- Next time, contact the OC Bicycle Coalition for input BEFORE impacting bicycle access.

Contact CalTrans and ask that ...

 - Pedestrian trail users be guided through the detour
           Signs at cross walks across E Riverdale Ave at N Deerfield St

PEDESTRIAN DETOUR
SIDE WALK ENDS AHEAD
<= CROSS HERE

                                                              WB E Riverdale @ N Deerfield - NE corner

PEDESTRIAN DETOUR
CROSS HERE
=>
                                                              SB N Deerfield @ E Riverdale - SE corner

PEDESTRIAN DETOUR
< =CROSS HERE

TO RIVERDALE PARK
                                                              EB E Riverdale @ N Deerfield - SE corner

 - Allow public access to SART between Riverdale Park & the Closed Construction zone
          Sign on WB Trail @ Riverdale Park:     
RIVER TRAIL CLOSED
1 MILE AHEAD
DEAD END - NO OUTLET


          Relocate the fence from Riverdale Park 1 mile west to the edge of the construction closure zone near the 91 freeway


 - Promote access to Riverdale Park from SART
             Sign on gate at Riverdale Park:
ALTERNATE
PEDESTRIAN DETOUR TO
WEST BOUND RIVER TRAIL
ON E RIVERDALE AVE
           
              Signs at Entrance to Riverdale Park walkway @ E Riverdale Ave:

ALTERNATE
PEDESTRIAN DETOUR TO
WEST BOUND RIVER TRAIL
ON E RIVERDALE AVE =>
                                                                       facing Riverdale Park @ E Riverdale Avenue

ALTERNATE
PEDESTRIAN DETOUR TO
EAST BOUND RIVER TRAIL
<= THROUGH PARK
                                                                       facing EB sidewalk on N side of E Riverdale @ park walkway


             Sign on SART facing the gate from Riverdale Park
SANTA ANA RIVER TRAIL
<= WEST BOUND CLOSED
1 MILE - NO OUTLET
<= WEST BOUND DETOUR
EAST BOUND OPEN =>


- change the DETOUR sign a NE corner of N Tustin directing right turn NB on N Tustin from West Bound E Riverdale Ave instead of WB across Tustin - with no cross walk

- Move the east construction zone fence from Riverdale Park access all the way west to the actual construction zone site.
(was moved west about 200 feet on 5/7, but needs to be moved west another full mile to give public access to the parkway and keep public out of the actual construction zone at the far end)

-  Secure BOTH of the construction zone fences east of Tustin Avenue and east of the construction zone:
         Sign the fences: People are walking around or pushing them apart like a gate to enter the construction zone...
TRAIL CLOSED
NO PUBLIC ACCESS
KEEP OUT - NO TRESPASSING
USE DETOUR
ON E RIVERDALE AVE

         Lock them: Only lightly wired together, public or contractor are already snipping wires to enter

         Place reflective barricades in front of or inside the chain link - in case some one is riding SART in the dark;
           "CAUTION" tape is not enough...

 
- THANK THEM  for promptly removing the fence west of Tustin Avenue [removed 5/7/14]  and reopening the access on east side of N. Tustin Ave


- THANK THEM  for moving the fence west of Lakeview Avenue back to the Riverdale Park entrance  [moved 5/7/14] 

- Next time, contact the OC Bicycle Coalition for input BEFORE creating a problem.

Updated May 8, 2014 - Please Contact Bill with any updates or corrections! Post observations on our FaceBook page ...