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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | VENTURA

Bike Path to Ojai Due to Open by Fall

May 25, 1999|ROSEANN LANGLOIS

A six-mile bike path that will finish a link between downtown Ventura and Ojai is scheduled for completion in September.

Ventura city engineer Rick Raives said the $4.5-million project is part of the city's General Plan and has been in the works for at least five years. About 80% of the project is funded through state bikeway and federal transportation grants, he said.

According to Raives, city officials envisioned the trail after noticing the popularity of the Ojai Valley Trail, which follows 10 miles of the old Southern Pacific Railroad right of way along California Highway 33.

The new trail will also follow the abandoned railway, which the city purchased from Southern Pacific in 1996 for $1 million. The trail will connect the end of the Ojai Valley Trail, in Foster Park, to Main Street, allowing bicyclers to travel from Ventura to Ojai and access Surfers Point or the Rincon Highway to Santa Barbara.

The first small stretch of trail, from Foster Park to Ventura Avenue, was built last summer. Work to extend the trail to Main Street in Ventura began in January.

Raives said that the trail, when completed, will be lined with interpretive signs, mile markers and drinking fountains. Several artists were commissioned to produce eight pieces of functional public art, including a series of drinking fountains depicting the history of the Chumash Indians and a kinetic windmill, fashioned from retired railroad ties.

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