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Ventura County

A Trail of Two Cities

Cycling: A new bikeway bypasses busy roads while offering wider shoulders and ocean vistas from Camarillo to Oxnard.

July 19, 2002|ELENA GAONA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

As cars and trucks thundered past just yards away, Ted Saville peeled a banana and munched on his midmorning snack as he leisurely pedaled down Ventura County's newest bike path.

Minutes before he had listened as two dozen fellow cyclists and politicians touted the 1,000-foot stretch of asphalt--dubbed the Springville Bike Path--as a safe and direct trail linking Camarillo and Oxnard bike trails, saving cyclists convoluted twists through busy city roads.

"This is a small piece of trail but a significant piece of greater enjoyment of our shared Ventura County," Supervisor Kathy Long said.

The paved bike and pedestrian roadway--near a frontage road south of the Ventura Freeway and just east of the Del Norte onramp--includes a bridge over the Revolon Slough flood-control channel.

Before the path was built, bikers were forced to turn around at the flood-control channel and search for long detours on high-speed roads such as Central Avenue, and Sturgis and Pleasant Valley roads.

Cyclists on Thursday praised the county's efforts to provide them safe passage.

"I came to cheer," retired Silicon Valley CEO Karl Martersteck said. With tanned and muscled limbs belying his 67 years, the Thousand Oaks resident said biking helps seniors in his cycling club--the Old Kranks--exercise and socialize.

Wide paths, he said, encourage recreational bikers.

"There are some narrow roads with not much of a shoulder" that his group rode between Camarillo and Oxnard, Martersteck said.

Now the group can enjoy its morning rides along farm roads and take in ocean views in both cities with ease, he added.

The bike path's completion comes after 10 years of effort by county and Oxnard leaders to link the bike trails across the Oxnard Plain, Long said.

Long said the path project was proposed by former Supervisor Maggie Kildee in the early '90s.

The county provided the funding through various state and federal sources aimed at enhancing air quality, and the city of Oxnard will maintain the bike path.

The project cost, including land purchase and construction, was $175,000, said project manager Raj Chikkiah of the county's Public Works Agency.

The path adds to the dozens of trails and paths that promote biking as a mode of transportation, Supervisor John Flynn said. It also encourages intercity travel, he added.

"This is like a marriage between Camarillo and Oxnard, and it's a great marriage that will last a long time," Flynn said.

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