Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

The Santiago Creek bike trail ends in the Fisher Park Neighborhood



A possible creekside bike trail proposed by some residents in north Santa Ana is generating controversy in an adjacent neighborhood, with neighbors arguing over whether the trail would create more crime and safety hazards in the area, according to the Voice of OC.

The irony is that the path is currently a major safety hazard – there are plenty of areas for miscreants to lie in wait.  If it was a bike path it would be clear, clean and would attract decent people trying to get exercise – instead of the gang bangers who litter the area with trash and graffiti.

If you take the Santiago Creek bike trail from Santiago Park, under the tunnel that takes you below Main St., towards the Discovery Center, it winds first west then north, then it jogs west again, below the 5 Freeway.  It ends right as the trail gets interesting – with a chain there to keep folks out and a foreboding trail ahead that is full of huge rocks.  You can hike the trail, but it is impossible to bike through it – and on your left, there is eventually a sheer drop of at least 18 feet, to the rocky Santiago Creek bed below.  On your right, as you walk through the trail, are homes of folks who don’t want you to be there.

A group of local residents has been working for years to create a trail that will go the full length of Santiago Creek and have been nudging elected officials and networking with city and county employees. After 4 years, Orange is completing their portion all the way to Santiago Oaks Regional Park. After 3 years, the City of Santa Ana has agreed to add a striped bike lane on Memory lane and Flower.

If this 0.25 mile segment is made into an official trail, it will be  joining an approx 40 mile bike commuter/recreation beltway of 3 trails, linking together 4 neighborhoods in Santa Ana along the creek.  This will also connect these trails to South Orange County’s Aliso Creek Bike Class 1 Bike Trail that starts up in Portola Hills and goes to Aliso Woods RP (an 18 mile trail). That is because Santiago Canyon has a bike lane that runs out there.  We can achieve this by having a diagonal trail (Santiago Creek) connecting these other existing trails that all currently run parallel to each other.

Since the Santa Ana River Trail also runs up to North Orange County, we will be able to connect North, Central, and South Orange County all together by this diagonal trail.

If this gap is not bridged, it creates a huge disconnect requiring pedestrians and bikers to travel much further on busy streets around Main Place Mall and then on LaVeta and Bristol. Or over Broadway to Santa Clara (though Santa Clara is only 1 way out to Broadway).

The group is asking local officials to establish Orange County’s first Commuter Bike Beltway/Expressway for Orange County, while also connecting two National Recreation Trails (Mountains to the Sea Trail and the Santa Ana River Trail) by extending the Santiago Creek Trail to the Santa Ana River. Note: The Santiago Creek should also qualify to become a National Recreation Trail.

To accomplish this, approx a 1/4 mile gap still needs to be addressed in the creek in the Fisher Park Neighborhood Association, of which many neighbors are in favor of and a few are not. This is actually part of a 40 year old creek plan published in 1971.

The group is requesting that the City of Santa Ana and the OCTA classify the recently City approved Class 2 Bike trail on Memory Lane from Bristol to Flower as a “Tier 1 Regional Priority Proposed Bikeway” and expedite the approval of the grant and construction (striping of the road).

They are requesting that the City of Santa Ana and the OCTA approve a Class 1 Bike trail along the north side of the creek between the 5 Fwy and Fisher Park on Flower. This is approx 1/4 mile. City owns the property on the north bank and there currently is a foot path. They are also asking that this area be classified as a “Tier 1 Regional Priority Proposed Bikeway,” and expedite the funding and construction.

Locally, this would connect the neighborhoods together in Santa Ana who are currently separated (not able to travel by bike) between these areas (i.e. West Floral Park, Santiago Park, Floral Park). It would also provide the communities in this area of the creek a trail for them to use for hiking and biking like the Santa Ana communities on the other side of the 5 Fwy to the 22 Fwy. It will connect them all to the great parks, shopping, and entertainment.

Regionally, it would connect it to the other 2 trails creating a large commuter bike beltway and an awesome National Recreation Trail (3 connected together).

This is an urgent request as there will be considerable more traffic on the trail when the extension to Santiago Oaks is completed this year. Requiring individuals and families to navigate on the busy streets around Main Place Mall over LaVeta/Bristol which is longer and not bike friendly should be avoided. The path from Broadway to Santa Clara is not safe due to the Fwy off ramps and Santa Clara is one-way going west to Broadway (not able to enter in to West Floral – only out).

Here are the groups/individuals that support the trail plans:

  1. John Moore, President, Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance
  2. Shirley Grindle, Advisory Board Member, Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance, tincup2@aol.com
  3. Jim Meyer, Trails4All – 310-344-9229, jmeyert4a@aol.com
  4. Jeff Dickman, County Trail Coordinator – jeff.dickman@ocpw.ocgov.com
  5. Nick Spain, Trails & Open Space Advocate – nick@grainproject.org, 714-953-5513
  6. Brian Burnett, Bicycle Trails Advocate – brianin714@yahoo.com
  7. Melissa Tran, Floral Park Resident – melistran@yahoo.com
  8. Gerald Tiritilli, Trails & Open Space Advocate – bea-gerald@sbcglobal.net
  9. Don Cribb, Santa Ana Arts Council, Green Business District – 714-743-3215
  10. Roy Shahbazian, Better Commute – calgebra@bettercommute.org
  11. Melanie Schlotterbeck, Friends of Harbors, Beaches, and Parks, Green Vision Plan – melanie@schlotterbeck.net
  12. Gerald London, Regional Recreational Trails Advisory Committee, First District – j.london@att.net
  13. Vivian Kirkpatrick-Pilger, OC Trails Committee – vivkirk@yahoo.com, 714-903-6072
  14. Peter Wetzel, OC Trails Committee – wetzer@aol.com
  15. Gema Suarez, El Centro Cultural de Mexico – gema_ss@yahoo.com
  16. Delilah Snell, Road Less Traveled Store – delilahsnell@yahoo.com
  17. Lyndie Bradshaw, REI – lbradsh@rei.com
  18. Joel Robinson, Director/Head Naturalist, Naturalist For You, www.naturalist-for-you.org, 714-649-9084
  19. David Schmid, 714-265-3008
  20. Mark Lindsey, Resident of Orange, Cell 714-273-2678, markhikes@aol.com
  21. Bruce, Bauer, West Floral Park, brucetbauer@aol.com, 949/293-5311
  22. Diego Teran, Park Santiago Neighborhood Association, diegoteran@yahoo.com
  23. Art Pedroza, Park Santiago Neighborhood Association, artpedroza@gmail.com
If you want to encourage the City of Santa Ana to finish these trails, please send an email to Gerardo Mouet, the Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Agency Director, at gmouet@santa-ana.org, and email the City Council at council@santa-ana.org. Click here to email the acting Santa Ana City Manager, Paul Walters.  Click here to learn more about the Santiago Creek bike trail.  Click here to see maps of the entire trail.
Interpretive Bike Tour – Learn the fascinating natural and cultural history of the Santiago Creek Watershed while riding a bike from Cambridge St. to Santiago Park Nature Reserve, Santa Ana. Mon., Wed., and Fri. of every week. 8:45AM-9:45AM. Email jrobinson@santiagocreek.org for details.

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

33 thoughts on “Will Fisher Park residents keep blocking the Santiago Creek bike trail?”
  1. Look at the proerty lines and then look up the owners.

    You will then see who has been blocking this tiny park of the bike trails.

  2. I can’t understand this. Even my relatives who know that their grandkids would actually be able to bike to their house from our house have yet to be convinced by my husband. It just doesn’t make sense. It is an environmentally friendly proposition. The traffic and road conditions make it very unsafe for bike travel from our neighborhood to Floral Park.

    1. Amen! I know the group met with State Senator Lou Correa and he said he would try to help fund the trail, but until we can get the Fisher Park NIMBYs on board it is going to be tough to get our City Council moving on this…

  3. The INCLUSIVE Needs of the Many to be connected outweigh the EXCLUSIVE Desires of a few to keep the 5 Santa Ana Neighboorhoods along the creek apart as well as Orange and Villa Park.

    We need the City Council to vote to make this happen and the constraints can be figured out.

    Some of the homeowners along this portion actually own parcels of land crossing across the creek bed but the City did retain a 15 ft wide section when the City sold them parcels. It has taken 40 years to complete this. We are on the 99 yard line. Lets get this last 1/4 mile done and join our neighboorhoods together for all of us to enjoy the creek.

  4. The Orange County Boy Scouts Council has written a letter stating they are NOT involved in this and have told others to stop saying they will participate. Citizens getting together to discuss how they can take away the private property of other citizens is close to a criminal consipiracy. If you found a group of folks discussing your house and how they plan to get the things they want from it, I bet you would call the cops.

    Those who state people defending their property are blocking the will of others sound like a gang planning a robbery. The link to the plan supplied on this website is another phony, THERE IS NOT BIKE PLAN CONNECTED TO THIS LINK!

    This discussion is based on lies, outright deceptions, and dragging people across a line they should know better than to agree with. How about “liberating” your backyard for your neighbors? No need for cute acronyms, people trying to steal other people’s property are THIEVES.

    1. Mr. Apodaca,

      Thank you for commenting on this post. Thanks also for all the good work you did at the Bowers and for the good work you do now at Chapman University.

      As our readers have indicated in their own comments, that area by the creek is not your backyard. If the city for whatever reason granted easements those grants were illegal and unethical. But that is what I would expect from our former city manager, Dave Ream.

      There is indeed a bike plan – and a current existing bike trail. But, as I pointed out in my post, it ends at your neighborhood.

      Let me also add that the current situation is untenable. I walked the area again on Saturday and I was shocked at how much grafitti is currently found in your “backyard.” The fact is, allowing the area to be overgrown has created plenty of hiding places for miscreants. And the police cannot pursue them as their is no clear path to do so. Compare that to the trails over at the Park Santiago Nature Reserve. Hardly any grafitti is to be found there. And the police and park rangers are able to regularly police the area. More importantly, the many residents who walk and bike through there help to keep the criminals out. Bad guys don’t want to be seen doing their deeds!

      I realize that your ancestors got screwed – and I am sorry for that. My great grandmother was a Comanche – but sadly the rest of my ancestors were Euro invaders. But those days are well past us. We all have to work now as a community. And having a real bike trail running through the entire Santiago Creek area would be a huge boon to all of our residents.

  5. “No need for cute acronyms, people trying to steal other people’s property are THIEVES.”…… Hmmmmmm

    Obviously you are anger driven moron mongoloid.

    The issue at hand is easement [not] theft!

    An easement is a certain right to use the real property of another without possessing it.

    Public and private easements

    A private easement is held by private individuals or entities. A public easement grants an easement for a public use, for example, to allow the public an access over a parcel owned by an individual.

    So relax!

  6. I should add that here is a homework for Council’s progressives Martinez and Benavides to put on the agenda proposal for affirmative public easement.

    Affirmative and negative easements

    An affirmative easement is the right to use another’s property for a specific purpose, while a negative easement is the right to prevent another from performing an otherwise lawful activity on their property.

    For example, an affirmative easement might allow land owner A to drive their cattle over the land of B. A has an affirmative easement from B.

    Conversely, a negative easement might restrict B from blocking A’s mountain view by putting up a wall of trees. A has a negative easement from B.

  7. It is only fair that those property owners give a bike trail easement to the county / city in thanks for the thousands of dollars of taxpayer paid improvements to their creek bed for flood control.

    Also since all or most of these property owners also have a “Mills Act” property tax reduction, saving these owners tens of thousand or more over the 10 year contact.

    It seems to me to be short sighted of these 6 or 7 property owners not to give a small easement considering the amount of benefits they have received from the taxpayers.

  8. Thank you for your note. I am holding the deed for the land you are describing, it is owned by me. I have owned that property, the creek bed lot, for decades and never signed an easement for it. I am not the only one with such title and we are not talking about house lots with backyards.

    Telling me of your respect and sympathy with me trying to hold on to my land then printing name-calling emails reveals something dark and not right. The writer may have submitted it but you are printing it. Personal ad hominem, calling an individual a name, is not the same as my referencing unnamed people who are discussing doing my property harm. There is no balance or fairness here.

    I have information the company doing the plan for the City received no instructions to design a bike trail in the section of the Santiago Creek being discussed here. The City Manager’s office has said to me they have no plans to seize my property or anyone else’s and they are satisfied with the work around plan they have for Memory Lane.

    My private property is just fine and has been for the decades it has been there without this trail. As you point out, I have a pretty good understanding of Orange County history and I have seen this before. Numbers of these efforts have come and gone over the years. They are always waged by folks who don’t own these properties or live on the creek edge. Most come from out of town.

    My point is people are being deceived about most of the information concerning this situation and this trail is as unlikely to actually happen as have those in the past. Your readers should see the bully boy talk and false information is deceptive but characteristic of this issue. The false allegation about the Mills Act is yet another doozy. So is the assumption that there has been taxpayer money spent by the City or the County to maintain private properties in the creek. This is fantasy and assumption. Name calling and false information is all that is out there.

    1. I appreciate that you have returned to set the record straight. We do try to be fair. Free speech can get woolly at times.

      It would seem that you are on the catbird seat. I hope you will reconsider. The current state of the Fisher creek area is deplorable.

      You can keep opposing the trail but in the end that will only make you a pariah in our community.

  9. Mr. Apodaco,
    The current bikeplan vision along the creek is at http://www.santiagogreenway.org/html/vision.html. It will be finished this December 2011.

    There is still a missing link and that is in Jack Fisher to achieve the greater vision of connecting all the communities together.

    Approximately 1000 homeowners and businesses along the Santiago Oaks Creek, Peters Canyon Creek to Newport Bay, and the Santa Ana River have allowed trails to be established. This has helped to pull together communities where the vast majority are law abiding.

    We do not see Beach front homeowners excluding people from enjoying the beach and ocean. The same should apply to the creeks. Lets not keep keep our communities divided by driving a wedge between our neighboorhoods.

    Mr. Apodaco, you had your Lawyer send a letter to the Boy Scouts basically indicating you did not want to have any Scouts doing community service projects in the Creek by his home. Some parents of Scouting were considering exploring this such as myself to remove trash, graffitti, overgrown non-native plants and possibly improve existing portions of the path (with neighboor’s permissions on portions they own and the city’s permission on the city’s portion). Since it appears that you were possibly speaking for your neighboorhood, folks such as myself have been requested by the Boy Scout Council not to have any Boy Scouts doing any community service projects in this area of the creek to avoid upsetting homeowners. This is a loss to everyone.

    Many people would be willing to pay a premium to purchase a home along a creek with an established public trail and a beautiful creek. For the minority who wants it to be exclsive just for themselves should live in private gated communities.

    Unfortunately, the City Manager is currently exploring the feasability of fencing in this area of the creek in Floral Park and Jack Fisher to basically make it into a private gated community with its own exclusive creek section.

    We hope that this does not happen as it will seperate Morrison Park and West Floral Park from Santiago Park along with all of the other neighborhoods along the creek in addition to Main Place Mall and the Discovery Science Center.

    Lets join our neighboorhoods together along this Greenway. If Jack Fisher was alive he would be saying the same thing. Lets create a Legacy for us to enjoy and future generations.

    United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
    Mark Lindsey (been enjoying the creek for 18 years).

  10. “Name calling and false information is all that is out there.”….. Hmmmmm

    FYI, Mr. Apodaca the name calling, as you are referring to my use of “moron” and “mongoloid”, are actual medical terms to measure human intelligence.

    However, liberal socialists, like your self, do not like when IQ is used to distinguish among the human beings so the substitute term is “challenged”.

    On that bases, I stand corrected and am restating: “Obviously you are anger driven challenged landlord. The issue at hand is easement [not] theft!”

    Any reasonable person would allow an easement on a blight, aka pissing ground, which you proudly own.

    I have seen disputes over an inch of land challenging neighbor’s fence.

    I personally do not know you Mr. Apodaca but Admin’s statement “Thanks also for all the good work you did at the Bowers and for the good work you do now at Chapman University” must be an oxymoron or Admin’s kiss-up.

    If you want be true person of the community allow the easement!… you will be still an owner.

    Since you will not do that Mr. Apodaca you are an antisocial element IMO regardless of what you have done or do for Bowers or Chapman respectively.

  11. I looked it up, and since the property owners (the 6-7) have not sued the county / city to remove the improvement made to the creek bed and the creek bed itself.

    There is an “Prescriptive Easement” in place for flood control and any other public use.

    The legal test to acquire a prescriptive easement of another owner is that the use must be (a) open, not secret, (b) notorious, clearly observable, (c) hostile, without the landowner’s consent and (c) continuous, without interruption for the number of years required by state law. 5 years in California. (those improvements have been in place since the 1969 flood)

    Notice: not legal advice, go see a lawyer for legal advice.

  12. “Prescriptive Easement”…… Hmmmmm

    Excellent observation moron cook.

    It is virtually same test as the “Adverse Possession” which includes a taxation.

    It would be interesting to see if there was a property tax payed on the improvements and if not the county may Adversely Posses the creek bed itself and easements to it.

  13. It’s funny that everyone pays so much attention to the creek now.

    For 15 years it’s been ignored, crime, homeless camping, the usual teenager dope/beer shit, even a fair number of more serious crime.

    Now a bike trail gets Correa’s attention.

    Not opposed/nor in favor, I just think the politics stink!

  14. Hi Kenlaysnotdead,
    Not doing anything is more akin to “politics stink”. The section in Fisher Park has remained a problem area due to resistance by a handful of neighboors. Over the last 20 years, many areas along the creek have improved as trail segments were introduced and more families have had access to enjoy the creek and the parks along it. This was achieved by activists and elected officials. Senator Lou Correa wants to improve the neighboorhood for the greater good like some of the City Council and many other folks. Visit the other areas of the creek that has a trail and you will understand (see the light).

  15. I use the single track trail connecting fisher park with the santiago trail daily. I commute and this is one of the most peaceful areas.

    It is already a trail and already heavily traveled. We will continue to use this already existing trail!

  16. You guys are crazy. It is only rocky for 20 feet. Carry your bike and ride an awesome single track!
    Get on a bike and experience life!

    1. You expect kids to do that? What about the rest of this trail – it is strewn with other hazards, including low branches, power lines, unprotected heights of at least 15 to 18 feet, etc. It is not a safe trail and you are irresponsible to urge people to use it, as it is.

      And that is without mentioning the shady characters to be found along it.

  17. I commute to and from work by bicycle daily. I take the current singletrack trail there. I agree that it can be a sketchy spot, but its much safer than taking chances with my bicycle on the city streets. Turn this into a bike path so those of us that do commute by bicycle, can get to and from work alive!

  18. As another bike commuter I wish that portion of the bike path was open, it would make it safe for me and many others who use nearby paths. It is ironic, but the OCTA is based in our city, Santa Ana, yet we still can’t have a decent bike path in the Northern portion of the city going East to West. I applaud the OCTA initiatives to commute by bike and use alternative transportation. Still, we can’t finalize a 1/4 mile portion of a bike path and we haven’t been able to use resources from the OCTA available each year for bike paths. Let’s look at the benefits of more bike commuters and fewer cars on the street, for one, cleaner air; Santa Ana needs lots of catch up to do, let’s start.

  19. There is an on-line Petition for those who are in favor of a trail to connect the communities together. The link is below.

    The Petition is entitled “Mayor and Councilmembers of Santa Ana and other Elected Officials: Approve bike trail along Santiago Creek between 5 Freeway and Fisher Park”, because we care deeply about this very important issue.

    We are trying to collect as many signatures as we can, and we could really use your help.

    To read more about what we are trying to do for the communities and electronically sign the petition, click here:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/city-of-santa-ana-mayor-and-councilmembers-approve-bike-trail-along-santiago-creek-between-5-freeway-and-fisher-park?share_id=aWdsxRpgyI&

    It’ll just take a minute!

    Once you’re done, please ask your friends and other organizations to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!

  20. RESEARCH NOTICE:
    The pro bike trail advocates falsely claim that the bike trail will reduce crime along the Santiago Creek. No research evidence was presented to make such a claim. “The existence of the trail has had little, if any, effect on crime and vandalism experienced by adjacent property owners” (Zarker, G., Bourey, J., Puncochar, B., and Lagerway, P. Evaluation of the Burke-Gilman Trail’s Effect on Property Values and Crime. Seattle Engineering Department. May, 1987, p. 3). No studies have found any decrease in crime by building a bike trail. In fact, a bike trail will increase pedestrian traffic since pedestrians outnumber bicyclists on pathways 75% to 20% (Ragland, David R., Safe Transportation Research & Education Center (SafeTrec), Jones, Michael G., Alta Planning. Prepared for Caltrans, February 2010).

  21. Check Reports with OC Public Safety agencies and it shows it does reduce crime.

    Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was the guest speaker at the “Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance” Dinner mtg on Dec 5, 2011 along with Supervisor Bill Campbell and the City of Orange Council where volunteers were recognized for their efforts in the Creek trail in Orange and also for pursuing doing the same in Santa Ana.

    The Sheriff stated that Creeks can be made safer through “Environmental Design” such as placing in paved trails to provide more law abiding public access (the majority of citizens) and also access for city agencies (Park Staff, Police, Fire). She stated that this has worked for the other bike trails on creeks throughout the county.

    I do not know who the above commenter (SaveSantiagoCreekAlliance) is? The group that is promoting connecting the community together that has the support of elected officials is at http://santiagogreenway.org/html/vision.html. Check out there vision and map

  22. Someone is calling themselves the “Santiago Creek Alliance”. Itis not to be associated with the “Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance” — which is the non-profit organization that has been in existence for decades and whose members have worked for many years to get a bike trail on Santiago Creek from Santiago Oaks Regional Park to the Santa Ana River. Shame on whoever is using this obvious ploy to confuse the public. Tell us who you really are.

  23. Regardless, the city has the power to win this. This trail has been used by the public for a vast amount of time. The property owners have allowed this for many years. Therefor “public easement” laws come into place.

    Thanks in advance for completing the bikepath!

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