By Tina Richards
Plans for a proposed bike lane along Jamboree Road, adjacent to Peters Canyon Regional Park, have taken a new turn, based on feedback from recreational and commuter bike riders, neighboring communities and those intent to keep the paved lane out of the park.
The 2.7-mile bikeway is intended to close the gap in the Mountains to the Sea Trail that stretches from Newport Beach to Weir Canyon.
OC Public Works, which is spearheading the project, presented an alternate proposed route at a community meeting, May 21. The new route commences at Canyon View and Jamboree with a Class 1 bike lane running down the west side of the thoroughfare until it reaches the intersection at Pioneer Road. From there, riders can either turn onto Pioneer, where a Class 2 bikeway continues to Pioneer Way to connect with the Peters Canyon Trail, or remain on Jamboree until the terminus at Portola.
West is best
A previous concept, wherein the Jamboree lane was on the east side of that street, has been tabled for now, as most people polled had no preference between east or west, and it had more obstacles to overcome (major grading, utilities). The Pioneer leg of the west side version is in response to requests that the bikeway connect directly with the Peters Canyon Trail, part of the Mountains to the Sea arterial.
Nathan Wheaton of OC Public Works emphasizes that these plans are still conceptual, and that details of the project will come later, when a final route is determined. “We’re still confirming that this project is wanted before we proceed, so we don’t yet know where the crossings will be, how wide the paths are, or how they will be landscaped.”
The Class 1 lane adjacent to Peters Canyon Park will be fully separated from traffic lanes with a median. A three-foot buffer will be added to the existing Class 2 lane on Pioneer Road. The intersection at Jamboree and Pioneer will be improved, and wayfinding signage added. The cost is estimated to be $6 to $8 million. Public Works has funding for the programming and environmental review phases of the project, but will seek grant money for the design and construction.
Between a rock and a park place
A master bikeway plan created by the county in the 1970s shows the Jamboree leg of the route bisecting what is now Peters Canyon Park. Back then, the park did not exist. Neither did that portion of Jamboree Road. The area was primarily used for flood control.
When the 1970s bike route resurfaced in 2015, public opposition to the path traversing the middle of the park was overwhelming. The public outcry caused OC Parks to abandon the bikeway and give it over to Public Works. Still, many seasoned cyclists want the bike trail back through the park. They cite the grade (six to seven percent) on Jamboree as a deterrent and object to the street crossings inherent in that route.
“We’re not exploring the option through the park,” Wheaton maintains, to the relief of park users and the dismay of some cyclists.
News to neighbors
The Pioneer Road option caught some area residents by surprise. Although the street already hosts a bike lane, neighbors feared that “improvements” would attract more riders and add to traffic volume. Others noted that their community would be transformed into a “recreational environment” with Peters Canyon visitors parking in their neighborhoods and then riding bikes to the park entrance.
One meeting attendee attempted to assuage concerns, pointing out that the Pioneer route was merely an alternative to the straight-down Jamboree path, and that commuter bikers would likely choose to stay on the thoroughfare.
“This bikeway is for us,” another resident said. “This is what we want, to ride and feel more comfortable.”
Public Works is seeking additional public comments on the proposal and plans additional community meetings. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposed Jamboree bikeway takes an alternate path