by Paul R. Spitzzeri
One of the more interesting portions of the first phase of the City of Industry’s General Plan Implementation Program was the discussion of two components related to recreation: the San José Creek Bicycle Path and the Skyline Equestrian Trail.
The former was to start on the west in Pico Rivera and a link to a proposed San Gabriel River bicycle and other use trail and traverse through the city to Temple Avenue across from Cal Poly Pomona. This 1977 report noted that the county road department “recently completed a preliminary engineering report” for the path as part of a countywide “Plan of Bikeways” and used images of text from the January study.
Access points were to be at service road entrances located at major street intersections or at any spot that was deemed necessary “by a simple modification of the existing fencing,” though this neded to be adapted or changed for protection of users. In some cases, undercrossings were needed, thogh an interim path was recommended with crossings at grade until a need for below grade crossings warranted them. There were 33 parcels along the route owned by individuals and companies, who leased to the county’s flood control district or which the district owned.
Coordination would need to take place with Industry, Pomona, CalTrans, the flood control district and the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, though the Army Corps of Engineeers would also have to be involved if funding was obtained from the Corps for the project, with half coming from that entity and the remainder from local agencies, who’d have to secure recreational easements for the 33 parcels.
Maps, drawings and many photos were added from the county report to give a sense of what would be required. A preiminary estimate of costs had two alternatives, the first with crossings at grade and the other including the expensive undercrossings and a bridge over the San Gabriel River.
The simpler (interim) plan involved work along the river; under Interstate 605; signals at grade crossings (7th Avenue, Turnbull Canyon Road, Stimson Avenue, Nogales Street, Fairway Drive, Lemon Avenue, Brea Canyon Road and Valley Boulevard; modified fencing; signage; and construction engineering. The total cost was pegged at $1.6 million, with 57% of the funds to come from the city, about a third from the county, and 10% from Pomona.
For the more elaborate plan, which included a quarter million dollar bridge (rather than an access road and ramps as in the other concept) over the San Gabriel River, expensive separations at Turnbull Canyon and Lemon Avenue because of relocating service roads for rights-of-way, and double the construction engineering costs, the overall amount lept to $3.4 million, with the division of responsibility among the three entities being the same on a percentage basis.
As for the Skyline Equestrian Trail, the idea was to start from near the same westerly terminus as the bike path, though a short distance south along the San Gabriel River, and then between Rio Hondo College and the Puente Hills Landfill (it was stated in 1977 that the landfill was planned for a county park and this is in the works now four decades later) up through the Puente Hills.
Coming down into what was then Otterbein Regional Park, the trail would enter the city east of Puente Hills Mall north of Colima Road and west of Fullerton Road, cross the Pomona Freeway, and move through some industrial areas.
It would then link with the bike path for a couple of miles to Lemon Avenue and the wind north and east through Walnut, West Covina and San Dimas, following what is now the Michael D. Antonovich Trail along Walnut Creek to Bonelli Regional Park. The trail was projected to extend to about six miles within the City of Industry.
As with the bike path, maps, drawings and photos were included in the report, though illustrative plans gave more detail about how the trail would go through specific sectors of the city as well as show rest comfort stations in detail. There were also two alternatives, but these were based on the kind of surfacing, fencing, landscaping, grading, drainage, and rest stations that were to be utilized.
Costs were broken out by City of Industry General Plan phases as well as for all three for the two alternatives. The more expensive alternative, in which, for example, wood picket and slumpstone was to be used instead of chainlink for fencing and more intensive landscaping, grading and drainage work was to be done, totaled just under $4 million. The fancy fencing would take up 60% of the cost, the landscaping work would be some $850,000, and the comfort stations would cost 10 times as much.
For the cheaper version, the chain link fencing would amount to about $425,000, compared to over $2.3 million for the wood and slumpstone. The landscaping work would be above $350,000 (far less than half of the other) and the comfort stations would be $4,000 instead of $40,000. The total cost amounted to just south of $1.4 million.
Eventually what transpired was portions of the equestrian trail, some of which is in the central part of the City of Industry from Schabarum (renamed from Otterbein) Regional Trail to Valley Boulevard west of Lemon Avenue, where it then continues into Walnut. As for the bike trail, the county did build a section from Workman Mill Road east to 7th Avenue along the south side of the San Jose Creek. Recent problems with homeless encampments and other problems along river trails, however, could well pose a barrier to future development of bike paths such as these.
The next post will look at several main areas which were recommended for land acquisition as part of the implementation program.