I thought that it would be fun to share with our readers some pics, and my thoughts after riding the trail. For those not familiar this is a brand new paved trail in Eureka, CA and found just south of the Bayshore Mall.
My day started out in Arcata, and I choose to do a bike/bus transit trip to Eureka. Getting off at the first stop in Eureka – I headed directly for the Old Town area, and my first stop was lunch at Los Bagels(conveniently locking my bike at the rack out front of Los Bagels).
After taking care of my tummy it was time to head towards Palco marsh, and traveled behind the Bayshore Mall to heads towards the trail.
The first thing I noticed at the Truelsdale Vista Point was a full parking lot of cars. This was on a very sunny nice winter Friday afternoon. So it was clear that I was not the only one planning to enjoy the new trail on a beautiful afternoon day!
More thoughts on the Truelsdale Vista Point – This is a nice area along the water front! A nice kiosk board with various information about the trail, and general area. Picnic tables for folks to enjoy before, or after using the trail – although a great spot just to come sit and relax. Seen in the pic below to the left a few mothers, and their children had just returned from a walk along the trail – the children(and dog) were all really enjoying the water and rocks along edge. If your with your bike you have access to parking racks if you choose to leave your bike behind to walk away from the trail to let’s say visit the nearby restaurant. At the start of your trail visit be sure to check out the great kiosk board telling you about the trail, and general area.
Heading south now along the trail I just rode my bicycle along slowly, and enjoyed the wonderful day outside. Very nice views of the waterfront to enjoy, and take in to help relax your mind (as you can see below). I rode about 1.5 miles each way on this trail, and it was v
The trail was very active this sunny weekday afternoon, and you could tell everyone was on high spirits along this new trail. I saw a rainbow of trail users of bikers, runners, walkers, roller skaters, strollers, mothers, children, fathers, middle-aged, young at heart, and we can’t forget the doggies leashed with their owners(good to see folks keeping dogs restrained to not cause problems with other trail users). So as you can see it is most certainly a popular multi use trail! It was nice to see the doggie stations with baggies placed at various locations along the trail.
The trail had a number of parking lots, and bike racks at various locations. A parking lot at each end of trail – one at Truesldale, and the other at the park and ride (very southern end). As well some mid way parking lots – One with ample parking(which was 3/4 full when I passed it) and another smaller lot that looked like they were still doing some project work in that area.
During the mid part of the trail you have a nice meandering trail with vegetation all around. Giving you a very pleasant feeling of being away from town, and offering more of a park like setting. I found in most areas the trail to have a good width to accommodate many users. In general I’m not a big fan of multi use trail as sometimes you can come into conflicts with other trail users. With the hearty widths in most areas I found it an ease to alert other of my approaching on a bicycle to pass by.
I did have one part of the trail I was not that excited about that had a rather narrow right of way(as seen in the picture below).
Now mind you I did not get off my bicycle to measure the width of this part of the trail above. However with the chain link fence to the right, and the higher curb to the left the trail felt more narrow at this section(this may not have been the case, though). I was not fond of the old chain link fence, and thought updating it with something more appealing to the eye would be much more pleasant. Most certainly this is not part of Eureka’s right of way, and likely something they don’t have control over.
I also was a little bothered by the higher curb to the opposite side of the trail – in regards to it physically reducing heavier trail traffic flow. I suppose I’m most concerned that on days of high trail traffic this will be a “one lane” row for each direction. Not that this is a problem, but perhaps bike wheels or pedestrians may run into the curb fall/trip. I would have preferred more of a sidewalk style through this section to allow folks to step down and not have to step over in a high trail traffic situations. Currently the curb blends in very well with the trail, and road(as all our black). I’m thinking a good safety improvement could be to paint the curb another color to draw more attention to it of trail users. In the short term it would be great to see the curb painted another color, and explore some street traffic calming at this portion of the road. Both items helping to improve things a bit more from a safety standpoint.
Also perhaps even consider some bicycle infrastructure sharing the road to possibly allow, or encourage bikes using the road for this section. The road next to the trail I’m not familiar with though I assume it is a low volume automobile road. The trail/road is certainly not designed for this variation at this time, but it is just a thought considering this part of trail as somewhat of a “bottleneck”. Just feeling like this could be a conflict area with high trail traffic like bicycle handle bars catching chain link fence, or pedestrians tripping on curb(when sharing the trail on a heavy use day). Alternatively bring more attention at each end of this part of the trail. Somehow bring more awareness of caution through the constricted stretch of trail. This part of the trail is my only criticism really, and I understand this is a narrow right of way – with a unique segment here with public road/private property than squeezing the trail in between. I certainly wonder though if things could be tweaked a bit just to fine tune it a little more before some conflict occurs down the road.
Aside from my thoughts above I thought overall it was an awesome trail, and an excellent job well done. I’d rate the trail an 8 out of 10 – deducting two points for the tricky section of trail as discussed above. It is really awesome to see this addition for local residents to enjoy this new segment of trail! I’d like to really give a big thumbs up to everyone whom participated in making this trail become a reality! I’m also aware of plans that the city has to further expand waterfront trail-ways, and so residents will have even more to look forward to in the future!
Let’s talk about the users of the trail a little more as this is another important element. As I rode back heading north I interacted with a number of trail users, and all had great things to say about the trail. I think in general folks are just delighted to have access to the trail, and it was clear everyone was very excited about it.
I finished off the trail ride by having a beer at the Shamus T-bones. Having spoken with the bartender he was feeling confident more customers were coming in due to the new trail. This showing economic benefits on more reasons on why these trails play an important role in our communities!
My last thoughts are on a broader scope looking outside the trail project area. Mostly focusing my comments towards city of Eureka, and although I don’t want to dive in too deep at this time. I feel it is important to convey my thoughts for others to explore these ideas as well. I’m just disappointed with the lack of bicycle infrastructure on city streets. Having the city put more focus on these waterfront trails I feel the time has come to improve the bike-ability of Eureka. You can see many people have driven their cars to use the trail. However I want to see more people riding bikes to the trail, and around town choosing to leave a car at home. I asked people along the trail if they would be supportive of Eureka adding more bicycle infrastructure, and the message from all was a clear “yes” we support those ideas. Having a more bike friendly city will draw more bicycle riders to the area. This will help ease automobile congestion, increase tourism, create a more healthy community by reducing automobile emissions, and just in general make folks more active.
In closing Eureka has many neighborhoods with plenty of options to create a healthy bicycle boulevard network(as one example on how to create an improved bicycle-friendly city). This network could tie in with trails, Old town, other shopping areas, city parks, etc. Eureka most certainly has real estate options to make this work, and I really want to encourage our residents to open up this conversation with Eureka . Don’t be afraid to talk with city employees, city council, transportation safety committee, advocacy groups, and your neighbors to make this become a reality. The residents of the area deserve to help in creating more live-able streets! When will the city realize this is in the best interest of the community?
Related article – on Hikshari trail from RCAA
Upcoming bicycle event on future waterfront trails in Eureka –
Humboldt Trails Council will be hosting a bicycle ride event on Saturday February 9, 2013. This time they will be riding around downtown Eureka and discussing the Eureka Waterfront Trail Development Project with Host’s Merritt Perry, HTC Board Member and Miles Slattery from the City of Eureka before ending up at the NEW Sirens Song Tavern for Drinks and H’orderves!
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