Category Archives: Parks

Urban Vegetation Deters Crime

More Green? Less Mean

Green plants in urban landscapeAccording to a new study from Temple University, well maintained green spaces can decrease urban crime: Temple professor Jeremy Mennis found that areas of Philadelphia with more greenery experienced lower crime rates. The study explains that this is because of “the calming impact that vegetated landscapes may impart, thus reducing psychological precursors to violent acts.” [Phys.org]

Contrary to convention, vegetation, when well-maintained, can lower the rates of certain types of crime, such as aggravated assault, robbery and burglary, in cities, according to a Temple University study, “Does vegetation encourage or suppress urban crime? Evidence from Philadelphia, PA,” published in the journal, Landscape and Urban Planning.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-urban-vegetation-deters-crime-philadelphia.html#jCp

Lawn Party

Urban Green Spaces Can Keep You From Feeling Blue

 

Author Jacqueline Detwiler

 

a 25 percent increase in green space within 1.5 square miles of a person’s home increased life satisfaction by 1 percent and decreased mental distress by 5 percent

 

fact_illo

Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park and father of American landscape architecture, was a big believer in the restorative powers of urban greenery, once saying, “We want a ground to which people may easily go when the day’s work is done … where they shall, in effect, find the city put far away from them.”

But does just living near parks and gardens increase your life satisfaction? Recent research from the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment & Human Health suggests it might.

The scientists assessed the amount of green space (i.e., parks and gardens) across England and then compared it against various psychological measures in 10,000 people across 18 years.

Even controlling for factors like income, education, marital status and local crime, they found that a 25 percent increase in green space within 1.5 square miles of a person’s home increased life satisfaction by 1 percent and decreased mental distress by 5 percent. Data on how many squirrels got into the roses again were conspicuously absent.

Paris Hires Sheep To Mow City Lawns

Four French ewes have ditched their country pads for the bright lights of Paris. If the city government likes their work, it may not be long until tourists see other eco-friendly animal lawnmowers at the Eiffel Tower.

sheep mowing pairs city lawns

PARIS — Will tourists soon see flocks of baaing sheep at the Eiffel Tower and bleating ewes by Notre Dame cathedral?

That could be the case, since Paris City Hall this week installed a small flock of sheep to mow the lawn at the city’s gardens, replacing gas-guzzling lawnmowers.

The media came out in full force to greet the four ovine landscapers.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

The media came out in full force to greet the four ovine landscapers.

Four woolly ewes — shipped in from an island off the Brittany coast — are currently munching the grass surrounding Paris Archives building. The number of sites doing that could expand from October in and around Paris.

The goal of the experiment is for sheep to graze at intervals until autumn on the parcel of land and to maintain it without weed-killers.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

The goal of the experiment is for sheep to graze at intervals until autumn on the parcel of land and to maintain it without weed-killers.

The ovine-operation follows a successful stint last year by two goats that were hired privately by the Louvre to mow the lawn at Tuileries, central Paris’ grand 17th-century gardens.

Motorless and independent, the four-legged workers contentedly munch day and night — oblivious of the France’s strict 35-hour work week.

A similar experiment in a Paris suburb found that sheep droppings attracted small insects, which in turn helped bring back the swallow population.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

A similar experiment in a Paris suburb found that sheep droppings attracted small insects, which in turn helped bring back the swallow population.

A similar experiment in a park outside Paris even found that sheep droppings were a benefit, bringing swallows back to the area.

The sheep are part of an ‘eco-grazing’ experiment in the 19th district in Paris.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

The sheep are part of an ‘eco-grazing’ experiment in the 19th district in Paris.

“It might sound funny, but animal lawnmowers are ecological as no gasoline is required, and cost half the price of a machine,” said Marcel Collet, Paris farm director. “And they’re so cute.”

Paris City Hall, meanwhile, has big ambitions for its sheep. “I can imagine this very easily in London and New York … even Tokyo,” said Fabienne Giboudeaux, Paris City Hall’s director of Green Spaces. “And why not have them at the Eiffel Tower?”

The Ouessant sheep hail from an island off the Brittany coast.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

The Ouessant sheep hail from an island off the Brittany coast.

The City Hall initiative was inspired by a handful of private French companies that have been hiring sheep and goat lawnmowers for quite some time.

Sylvain Girard, owner of

Francois Mori/AP

Sylvain Girard, owner of “Ecomouton” inspects a tiny worker. Ecomouton has 260 sheep working landscaping gigs for major French companies.

Alain Divo is the director of one such company, Ecoterra, whose goats worked at the Tuileries last summer. He said having animal lawnmowers is great for biodiversity.

“We installed some at the Parc des Sceaux (a famous park outside Paris), where the swallow population had completely disappeared. Because the droppings attract small insects, the swallows all came back in two years,” he said.

“It might sound funny, but animal lawnmowers are ecological as no gasoline is required, and cost half the price of a machine,” said Marcel Collet, Paris farm director.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

“It might sound funny, but animal lawnmowers are ecological as no gasoline is required, and cost half the price of a machine,” said Marcel Collet, Paris farm director.

Parisians who cringe at the sight of poop may worry that sheep droppings could ruin their pristine City of Light. But Divo said goat and sheep poop crumbles away in days to an odorless, inoffensive powder that serves as potent fertilizer for the grass.

Another company known as Ecomouton, (Ecosheep in English), currently has 260 sheep working the premises of top companies such as Gaz de France. Ecomouton plans to expand that number to more than 600 sheep by the end of 2013.

Its director, Sylvain Girard, said he’s surprised by the initiative’s success, with interest coming in from countries such as the Britain, Germany, Belgium and Russia.

He’s said the idea came to him by chance.

“I have a company myself with lawn, and I was always running about after the guy who was meant to mow the lawn. One day I just thought: ‘What if I just put in sheep?'” said Girard. “It was a bit of a wacky idea, but it worked.”

A Free, Pick-Your-Own Orchard Takes Root in Los Angeles

Before Seattle developed plans for its one-of-a-kind food forest, before Guerilla Grafters took their pruning knives to the flowering trees on the sidewalks of San Francisco, there was Fallen Fruit.

The Los Angeles-based artist collective has been exploring the interrelationship of public space, urban planning and food through various fruit-related performances, installations and actions since 2004. And now, members David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young are bringing California’s first-ever publicly funded community orchard to Los Angeles County.

Twenty-seven trees have been planted in Del Aire park, which sits in an unincorporated area of L.A.’s South Bay, each chosen to be “fruitful and abundant” in the particular climate that exists west of Interstate 405 (it’s more than a cultural divider, apparently). Burns tells TakePark that they tended predominately toward “things that you don’t typically buy,” like persimmons and pomegranates.

Lemons, limes, various hybrid stone fruit, and a few different types of figs are also among the trees included in the orchard. The group plans to provide fruit pickers and maps of the trees, but beyond that general guidance, Burns says that as far as Fallen Fruit is concerned, the fate of the orchard in in the community’s hands.

Fallen Fruit was initially born as a cartography project: The group charted the publicly accessible fruit trees in various neighborhoods around Los Angeles, distributing the maps online. The artwork helped residents interact with their communities, showing people that they could turn to local resources like the Meyer lemon tree that’s branches reach over an alley rather than a taking a trip to the grocery store. This on-going mapping effort, which has since expanded across Los Angeles and around globe (curious to know where all of the guanábana trees are in Cali, Colombia? There’s a map for that), was followed by fruit-tree adoption events, community jam-making parties, and eventually public orchards like the one at Del Aire.

When there are plans to rehab a public park, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission is often involved with bringing artworks to the space. When considering a new vision for Del Aire in 2008, the Commission’s Project Manager for the park, Letitia Fernandez, tells TakePart that the Victory Garden installations by Amy Franceschini and Futurefarmers, done in collaboration with the city of San Francisco, inspired the Commission to pursue a food-related artwork. “I pulled together a list of artist that were working at the intersection of food and art and put out a call to those folks to apply for what was essentially a year long residency,” Fernandez says of the Commission’s initial outreach. “The idea was to do civic engagement activities to gauge the interest in the community of having some kind of public gardening project in the area,” with the hope of following those one-off events with a permanent installation of some sort.

Fallen Fruit was on that list, and the group’s idea for a public orchard beat out the other food-art proposals, earning the trio $40,000, funded by the Public Percent for Art program, to bring the plan to fuition. As means of introducting themselves and the idea to the neighborhood, Fallen Fruit brought their signature tree-adoption and public-fruit jam events to Del Aire—engagements that both pulled in the community and expanded the boundaries of the orchard beyond its 27-tree heart. The area residents who walked off with one or more of the 50-some adopted saplings were asked to plant them in publicly accessible areas, and the trees will be included in Fallen Fruit’s map of the orchard.

While chance brought Fallen Fruit to this specific park, the symbolism that’s wrapped up in the location is such that I can’t think of a more appropriate place. An office building owned by the aerospace giant Northrop Grumman and the Los Angeles Air Fore Base are just blocks away, signs of the military-industrial- and manufacturing-driven economy the South Bay has depended on (along with oil refining) since World War II.  But prior to the war, the surrounding area was integral to the County’s agriculture-based economy. So while a publicly owned orchard is a new model for growing food in Los Angeles, it also represents a return to a lost, largely forgotten history.

More recently, Jerry Brown’s Governor-Moonbeam-era signing of the Direct Marketing Act, which allowed farmers to sell directly to consumers, led to the first Southern California farmers’ market to open in nearby Gardena in 1979. The success of the market, which still takes place every Saturday, helped popularize the then-novel idea of buying produce directly from growers.

Could planting public parks with communal fruit trees be as commonplace as farmers’ markets in thirty years? Only time will tell, of course, but Burns tells TakePart that Fallen Fruit has received a number of inquires from other cities interested in bringing the public-orchard concept to their own parks—New York City among them.

The intention of the orchard is not only to help feed a neighborhood, but to draw the surrounding communities together, and as Fernandez sees it, the creation of the park was infused with that attitude on the administrative level too. “I think that that’s what’s at the core of this work, and that trickled into the approval process,” she tells TakePart. “From the beginning we had the spirit of breaking new ground, of being open and flexible, of experimentation. And I think that’s a really beautiful thing for a government agency.”

The two years of planning and development the Del Aire orchard required didn’t just involve the Arts Commission, but the office of County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (the supervisor’s deputy, Karly Katona, in particular), the Parks and Recreation Department and other agencies too. The fact that the project managed to navigate L.A. County’s rather notorious bureaucracy, happily bringing together disparate departments, has made other city planners optimistic about making a Del Aire-like park fly elsewhere.

The orchard, which will have its official grand opening in the New Year, doesn’t resemble an urban Eden just yet. Unlike popular backyard plants like salad greens or tomatoes, tree-fruit crops require a bit more patience in the beginning, but with decades-long lifespans, the wait pays off in the long run. “We do imagine that in the first few years it won’t be perceived as being abundant,” Burns says regarding the initial harvests. “But I can tell you that after this project is out of memory, the trees will be abundant and people will forget. And that’s part of the goal: to have the trees remain and the trapping of the project disappear.”

Related Stories on TakePart

Community Garden Revives Neighborhood, Creates Food for Elderly

Fruit Trees Feed Girls’ Survival in India

Urban Fowl: Community Garden Chickens Laying Lead-Filled Eggs


Willy Blackmore is the food editor at TakePart. He has also written about food, art, and agriculture for such publications as Los Angeles Magazine, The Awl, GOODLA Weekly, The New Inquiry, and BlackBook. Email Willy | TakePart.com

National Park Service Funds Trail Projects in 22 States and DC

Release Date: January 26, 2012

Contacts:         Kathy Kupper, 202-208-6843, Kathy_Kupper@nps.gov

Steve Elkinton, 202-354-6938, Steve_Elkinton@nps.gov

National Park Service Funds Trail Projects in 22 States and DC

 WASHINGTON – You’ve heard of taking a walk in a park, it will now be easier to take a walk to a park because of nearly one million dollars in trail grants announced today by the National Park Service.

The 2012 Connect Trails to Parks Awards will provide a total of $934,000 to 14 projects where national historic and scenic trails intersect with national parks and other federal facilities. The projects will restore or improve existing trails and trailhead connections, provide better wayside and interpretive services, encourage innovative educational services, support bridge and trailhead designs, and provide planning services for important trail gateways.

“We really want people to get up, get out, and enjoy the outdoors,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “It is vital for physical and mental well-being. These trail projects will provide additional places to recreate and improve access to existing parks and other green spaces.”

Many of the projects reflect National Park Service priorities such as expanding outreach, connecting to youth, enhancing urban recreation, promoting healthy lifestyles, and upgrading interpretive materials as outlined in the agency’s A Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement.

In addition to operating 397 parks across the United States and its territories, the National Park Service plays a vital role in overseeing the 52,000-mile National Trails System. The trails system dates from 1968 legislation that created the Appalachian and Pacific Crest national scenic trails. Today, the National Trails System includes 11 national scenic trails (NSTs), 19 national historic trails (NHTs), and more than 1,150 national recreation trails (NRTs).

The Connect Trails to Parks program is designed to increase awareness, appreciation, and use of the nation’s federally-designated system of trails. The years from 2008 to 2018 have been declared “A Decade for the National Trails” ramping up to the trails system’s 50th anniversary in 2018. Many of these projects will help specific trails and their related federal facilities to achieve goals associated with this commemorative decade.  At the same time, the National Park Service, as an agency, is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary in August, 2016.

2012 Connect Trails to Parks Project Awards

 

 

States Award Amount Project Title Trail(s) Park or Other Federal Area
AlabamaMississippi

Tennessee

$100,000 Develop Natchez Trace NST Education Program Natchez Trace NST Natchez Trace Parkway
ConnecticutMassachusetts

Vermont

$83,200 Landscape Painting on the New England NST New England NST Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP, Weir Farm NHS, and Thomas Cole NHS
ConnecticutGeorgia

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Vermont

Virginia

West Virginia

$64,200 Implement Appalachian Trail Leave No Trace Initiative Appalachian NST 6 NPS park units8 national forests
North DakotaBroadcast network + Amtrak programs $64,500 Distance Learning Along the Lewis & Clark NHT Lewis & Clark NHT Ft. Union Trading Post NHSKnife River Indian Villages NHS
MassachusettsConnecticut $49,920 Creative Youth Engagement on the New England NST New England NST Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP + 3 other NPS sites
Minnesota $99,840 Shingobee Connection Trail/Pumphouse Bay Bridge North Country NST Chippewa National Forest
MontanaNorth Dakota

South Dakota

$19,552 Interpreting Indian Language & Culture on the Lewis & Clark Trail Lewis & Clark NHT Ft. Union Trading Post NHSKnife River Indian Villages NHS
Utah $99,996 Interpretation at Lions Park Transit and Trail Hub Old Spanish NHT Arches National Park
Utah $36,644 Non-Motorized Pathway Along the Old Spanish NHT at Moab Old Spanish NHT Arches National Park
Virginia $43,543 Capt. John Smith Chesapeake NHT/James River Assets Capt. John Smith NHT Presquile NWR, Colonial NHP, Petersburg NB, Richmond NB, and James River NWR
VirginiaWashington, DC $98,800 Implement Signage Program in Virginia and DC Potomac Heritage NSTStar-Spangled Banner NHT National Mall and MonumentsRock Creek Park

Nat. Capital Parks-East

Washington, DC $84,760 DC Park Prescriptions Initiative Potomac Heritage NST,Star-Spangled Banner       NHT, and

Capt. John Smith Chesapeake NHT

DC Area Parks, including Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP
Wisconsin $57,200 Children’s TV Program About the Ice Age Trail Ice Age NST Ice Age Reserve Units
Wisconsin  $31,845 Trail Construction and Upgrades – Ice Age NST Ice Age NST Ice Age Reserve Units

 

www.nps.gov

 

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

 

A Walk In The Park Boosts Performance

In a convergence of health and public planning, researchers have been zeroing in on some of the circumstances that bring optimal mental refreshment.

In what native peoples would deem a “duh” moment, researchers say taking in the sights and sounds of nature are  especially beneficial. No kidding.

Whether it’s parks or plants, the effect works. Why Unwinding Is Hard. Read more.

Syamore Canyon Wilderness Park To Have Interpretive Center

The city is planning to build a 1,000-square-foot nature center off Central Avenue near Lochmoor Drive using a $780,000 state grant. City officials have not yet set a date for completion of the center. The city parks department plans to partner with the Riverside Metropolitan Museum to offer science and nature programs at the facility.

That’s a great next step and will serve as an educational resource for Sycamore Canyon Park.

But what’s really wanted and urgently needed is a plan to develop access to Sycamore Canyon Park  from Alessandro Blvd., Canyon Crest Drive and Cottonwood Ave. That would give convenient access to trails with parking. That would also open the park to greater exploration and enjoyment.

If other communities with well cared for and accessible natural amenities areany guide, surrounding property values will rise and property crime will decline.

Tight Times Inspire Micro Parks

SAN FRANCISCO — A trip to Castro Commons on a recent Sunday afternoon yields most of the usual park vistas: the hand-holding couple on a lazy stroll, the teenager fiddling with his iPod, and, yes, the transient babbling to himself.

 

n this photo taken Friday, June 11, 2010, Josie Mattson of San Francisco, left, enjoys the sunshine while sitting at the Divisadero Parklet in San Francisco. Transportation reform advocates and municipal budget deficits here are reviving an old idea in urban planning: the micropark. The parks are cheap _ an advantage for a city known for its commitment to open space but struggling with a gaping budget deficit and limited space. Advocates say they are good for the environment, adaptable, and have the potential to revitalize neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

But this is not your average park. The 140-foot-long stretch of tables, chairs and planters sits in part of the intersection of two major streets with the tracks of a heavily used streetcar line running right through the middle.

“At the end of the day, it’s the same as being on the sidewalk,” said city planner Andres Power.

Except that the sidewalk is now a park.

Transportation reform advocates and municipal budget deficits here are reviving an old idea in urban planning: the micropark. City officials say small parks like Castro Commons could remake traffic laden streets, which take up a quarter of San Francisco’s land area, into public spaces just as welcoming for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The projects range from small plazas to “parklets,” stylized sidewalk extensions that are shoehorned into what were once parking spaces.

The parks are cheap — an advantage for a city known for its commitment to open space but struggling with a gaping budget deficit and limited space. Advocates say they are good for the environment, adaptable, and have the potential to revitalize neighborhoods.

But not everyone is agog for parklets, inspired by similar spaces opened in New York City since 2006. Some projects have raised the hackles of residents and business owners who worry about traffic and parking disruptions or danger to pedestrians.

Joel Panzer opposes a proposal to cordon off an intersection near his Noe Valley home and turn it into a plaza. He says the plaza would close off an arterial street, making it harder for people to drive in the area, and that the proximity of pedestrians to traffic might create a hazard.

“No one’s listening to the people who own property,” said Panzer. “This is a make-work project.”

Others fear that parklets could reduce parking supply in neighborhoods where spots are notoriously difficult to come by.

Herb Cohn, president of the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations, said customers fed up with circling the block in search of a spot often take their business elsewhere.

“In a high parking need area taking away three spaces would be a problem,” Cohn said.

Yet not all business owners see the parklets as a problem. Remy Nelson, the owner of the Mojo Bicycle Cafe, said he has consistently seen more customers since a parklet was placed in the parking stalls in front of his cafe and bicycle-repair shop. The addition cost Nelson nothing, though he is responsible for the parklet’s maintenance.

Power, who runs the city’s Pavement to Parks program, said that the city’s parklets have been installed only in places where the parking impact was minimal, and that they will eventually be leased out through a permitting process that is being developed. He added that parklets are no more unpleasant or dangerous than city life overall.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has announced plans for a total of 12 street parks to be built by the end of the year. Five have been opened so far.

“You’ve been demanding that we begin to democratize our streets,” Newsom said at a park opening in February. “Who said that every single street that’s paved has to be a street that has a priority exclusively for automobiles?”

Cities have long used microparks, like “pocket parks” on the land of abandoned houses, as a way to create green space in the middle of the concrete jungle. In the 1960s, the parks were built in cities including New York as a way to curb urban discord, according to Char Miller, director of the Environmental Analysis program at Pomona College in Claremont.

The urban unrest of the 1960s forced many eastern cities “to realize that amenities were not equally distributed,” he said.

Parks were seen as a way of bringing neighborhoods together and reducing stress otherwise directed at police and other authorities, Miller said. Today, climate change has given municipalities another reason to discourage car use, he said.

Cities are also creating microparks as a way to expand green space even during the recession.

San Francisco’s own parks agency has seen deep cuts in staffing and funding in recent years. The mayor’s latest budget, which attempts to close a half-billion dollar deficit, calls for a 42 percent cut in Recreation and Park Department funding.

The city has used grant money, volunteer labor, nonprofit assistance and donations from businesses to build the projects for as little as several thousand dollars.

“This idea was conceived of during the boom years so it’s certainly not a product of the recession,” said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. “But luckily it is cheap so we’re able to keep it going.”

That’s good news for people like Philip Lesser, who owns a business in the same neighborhood as a parklet.

“Green is good, places for people to sit are good, places for people to recreate are good, and if they’re in proximity to a commercial corridor they are good,” he said.

Dowtown Cycling Circut Drawn

 

By DUG BEGLEY
The Press-Enterprise

Video: Riverside exploring ‘downtown loop’ for cyclists, walkers

Two abandoned railroad bridges strewn with trash might be the missing links in a plan to circle downtown Riverside with bicycle paths, proponents of the trails said.

Standing on one of the bridges that spans University Avenue, two blocks east of Vine Street, Jane Block said the 30-year effort to bring a bike loop to downtown is nearing completion.

“This is as close as we’ve ever come,” Block said.

Mark Zaleski / The Press-Enterprise
Local activist Jane Block, top, has pursued development of a downtown Riverside bike path that would run along the 8th Street railroad bridge.

The plans don’t stop at the two bridges. Block, working with Riverside Councilman Mike Gardner and others, has devised a route using some existing bike lanes on city streets, little-used city alleys and paths through neighborhood parks to cobble together a loop.

Though she said it is subject to change depending on engineering, cost and available land, Block said the proposed path would allow cyclists and joggers to travel around most of the city’s downtown, from Fairmount Park to the Riverside City College campus and as far east as Kansas Avenue.

Linking places where people might want to bike has numerous benefits, Block said. It encourages cycling, which can improve the health of a community, she noted. It also gives downtown residents a safe recreation route between city parks and helps meet goals of reducing traffic congestion in Riverside.

“This is all doable,” Gardner said on a recent tour.

Safety First

Bicyclists eager to hit the roads don’t have to wait for the loop, Gardner said. Magnolia Avenue and many other city streets have bike lanes.

What’s different about the proposed loop, Block said, is it allows for greater separation from cars and trucks — and with the two bridges allows cyclists not to compete with cross-traffic. The route would also add a continuous path for cyclists that the city could denote with signs.

“We want to have Class A bikeways,” Block said, meaning cyclists have enough space to ride along the side of vehicles, and not worry when someone opens a door on a parked car.

“It is not very safe to have parking and bike lanes,” Gardner said, explaining how putting cyclists close to parked cars put added pressures on both riders and drivers. “So if you have bike lanes, maybe you don’t have parking.”

He said city planners are examining the proposed bike path but no decisions about removing on-street parking has been made.

Early drafts have the route going from Fairmount Park along Spruce Street, then southwest along a route on or near Kansas Avenue.

From there, provided the city can acquire some right of way from the railroads, cyclists could ride across Mission Inn Avenue, University Avenue and Fourteenth Street, then cruise down Commerce Street. The loop would then go around or through the Riverside City College campus and across Brockton Avenue.

Gardner said the final pieces include a trail through the planned Tequesquite Park and a connection to the Santa Ana River Trail, which runs along the west of the park.

Because much of the route relies on streets, Gardner said the cost isn’t daunting.

“It’s more planning than it is cost,” he said. “It’s restriping some places and putting in some trails through Tequesquite Park.”

Nationally studies suggest adding bike lanes costs about $5,000 per mile, according to the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials.

If officials can chart a course for the loop and acquire small tracts to connect the sections, Gardner said much of the trail could be in place by spring.

Block said path supporters will consider outside fundraising if needed.

“I have learned that if you have an idea and it is a good idea,” Block said, “you don’t hesitate to execute it because of money.”

Work and Play

Cyclists said a loop around downtown Riverside would be a welcome addition, both for recreation and commuting.

Drew Scott, 26, already commutes from Colton to Riverside along the Santa Ana River Trail, a 120-mile bike path from San Bernardino to Orange County.

Block said the Santa Ana River Trail, which connects Highland at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains to Huntington Beach along the Pacific Ocean, is “the freeway” for cyclists interested in longer rides or inter-city commutes.

What’s missing, she said, is the local link to shops, restaurants, schools and workplaces.

Adding a downtown route that’s safer would make it much easier, he said.

“It’s not me I’m worried about,” Scott said. “It’s the cars. Some people act like the bike lanes aren’t there.”

The loop also links three key places that officials would like to connect for safe bicycling, Gardner said. When built, the path will allow someone to ride from the UC Riverside campus to the city college campus and downtown seamlessly.

Alternative ways to travel to the city college campus south of downtown are important, said Edward Bush, vice president of student services at RCC’s Riverside campus. Construction of two buildings decreased the number of parking spaces on campus, Bush said.

But putting a trail across the campus, as some loop supporters have suggested, might not be likely.

“At first blush, that would be somewhat difficult,” Bush said. “Students are allowed to ride their bikes to the bike racks but cannot ride around campus because of pedestrian safety.”

A dedicated route might be different, Bush said, but charting through a maze of sidewalks and small access streets could be tough.

But Bush stressed that the college is interested in hearing loop proposals. The city’s bicycle advisory council, formed last year, has members with ties to the college, Bush said.

Scott said Inland cities have made progress in encouraging cycling by putting bike trails in parks and adding bike lanes to streets.

“I see people riding on them all the time,” he said.