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FULLERTON : Council OKs 78-Mile Bike Lane Network

September 27, 1993|WILLSON CUMMER

Preliminary plans for a 78-mile network of marked bicycle lanes for commuters and recreational cyclists has won City Council approval, but the system could cost millions of dollars if the council decides to buy rights of way to widen some streets.

The council did not give immediate approval for any route but asked the Bicycle Users Subcommittee to set priorities for routes and bring them back for individual approval.

The subcommittee presented the council last week with a web of about 20 long routes that cross the city, connecting major employers, universities and schools.

Most of the proposed network would be created on regular streets by painting a white line to separate cyclists from motor traffic. Other paths would be on flood basin routes and railroad rights of way, and therefore free of cars.

About 150 residents and commuters from adjacent cities came to support the plan, which has been discussed for the last three years. A number of residents opposed routes that would call for the paving of horse trails.

Many of the proponents cited safety as the reason behind their support for a bicycle trail network.

"What commuters look for is a safe, direct route to work," said Bill Reeves, a Brea resident who rides daily to his administrative job at Cal State Fullerton.

"We want to get our kids to school safely," said Carolee Michael, principal of Raymond Elementary School. She said many of the streets around her school at 517 N. Raymond Ave. are too dangerous for young children to ride on.

Others proclaimed cycling's benefit to the environment. Arthur F. Tybor, ride-share coordinator for the Chevron plant in La Habra, told the council that his company strongly supports the bike paths as a way to decrease pollution.

Tybor said 40 of the 600 workers at the plant ride to work regularly. Chevron offers an incentive of $2 per day to any worker who shares a ride or bicycles to work, Tybor said.

"There's a continuing and rising number of (bicycle) commuters in Fullerton," said Jennifer Suarez, assistant manager for Fullerton Bicycles.

A few people came to the meeting to challenge the proposed paving of recreational trails that are now used by horseback riders, joggers and mountain bikers.

"Please preserve our rustic and beautiful recreation trail system," Libby Hadley told the council. Hadley, president of Fullerton Recreational Riders, a horseback riders' group, said she opposes paving of a path through Laguna Lake Park.

The unpaved recreational trail system is 26 miles long, Hadley said.

Councilman Don Bankhead agreed that the recreational trails should not be paved over.

Mayor Molly McClanahan said she supports the new bicycle plan but is concerned about the cost.

Councilman Chris Norby argued that many streets are "overbuilt" and wider than they need to be. They could be cheaply re-striped to add bicycle lanes, he said, noting that some six-lane streets really only need to be four lanes.

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