It is disingenuous for the Army Corps of Engineers to assert that the Santa Ana River flood-control project must detour cyclists onto streets for safety considerations ("Bicyclists Want River Trail to Stay Open," June 3). Consider:
According to corps documents, an off-road detour was planned, constructed and now sits idle. Since this off-road detour is adjacent to, but not within, the project area, the Orange County Bicycle Coalition (OCBC) wonders why it has not been made available to the public.
During inspections, (Corps of Engineers) personnel agreed that hazardous conditions along some open sections of the Santa Ana River Trail had been created by construction activity. In spite of repeated reminders from coalition members, many of these hazardous conditions, acknowledged as unsafe by the Army engineers, still await repair.
The Army committed, in the environmental impact report, to reconstruct the Santa Ana River Trail according to the Orange County Bikeway Standard or Army engineer standards, whichever was more stringent. A check of the drawings finds that the preponderance, if not all, of the Santa Ana River Trail street underpasses are not in compliance with design standards.
Statistics show that inexperienced cyclists, particularly young children, have a high incidence of car/bike collisions. As the Santa Ana River Trail is an ideal place for these young cyclists to gain experience in relative safety, detouring them onto streets, as the Corps of Engineers has done, when an off-road detour is available, is unconscionable. For the corps to do so in the name of safety, given its disregard for cyclists' safety to date, is cynical.
MICHAEL R. MOTT
Orange County Bicycle Coalition Chair