After waiting for more than six years, Sunland-Tujunga residents are celebrating the opening of a multiuse trail that creates a link with existing trails in the area and increases safety for horseback riders, bicyclists and pedestrians.
"We are so elated by this," said Andrea Gutman, chairwoman of the Shadow Hills Trails Committee. "We went through a long, complicated process with the city to get this done."
The Sunland Boulevard Multi-Use Trail extends along a two-mile stretch of Sunland Boulevard between Stonehurst Avenue and La Canada Way, where an older, makeshift path already existed.
The new trail provides an artery connecting trails in the Verdugo Hills to others in Angeles National Forest, Hansen Dam Recreation Area and the Big and Little Tujunga washes. It is part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy's Rim of the Valley Master Plan, a proposed series of trails that would eventually extend around the entire perimeter of the San Fernando Valley.
Conservancy officials said the trail is made of decomposed granite, which minimizes dust and provides a surface hard enough for bicyclists but also suitable for equestrians and walkers. The railings are constructed from recycled plastic, which is graffiti-proof, safer and more economical than concrete, officials said.
"Now drivers will be more aware that it's there and it will be safer for them and for the riders and hikers," said John Diaz, of the conservancy.
After two years of planning, financing for the $250,000 project was secured in 1992 with funds from Proposition A, the $540-million bond measure for county parks.
Construction was delayed until September this year as the conservancy, which built the trail, and residents waited for approval from city engineers, Diaz said.