CARPINTERIA, Calif. – A new bikeway is open along the south side of Highway 101 on the western end of Carpinteria to make a safe connection between the city and Santa Claus Lane in the county.
Cal Trans, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), city and county leaders were united in this plan, which has been a priority project for years, but it took collaboration on many levels.
The county's long term planning goals first listed this project back in 1977. It's in a tough spot with several jurisdictions, Union Pacific Railroad and the Carpinteria Salt Marsh in the area.
Marjie Kirn, Executive Director of SBCAG said, "I gotta say I think this makes Santa Claus Lane so much more accessible. It makes riding your bike or walking to Santa Claus Lane easier than taking your car."
This is one of the wider paths ever built as a "bikeway." It has room for bikes, scooters, skateboards and pedestrians.
For bike riders coming from the west, they will no longer have to go around on a route that went from Santa Claus Lane to Via Real to the downtown area. It's now a straight shot.
It is also safe with a solid barrier between cars and the bikeway.
There's plenty of room for the other wheeled vehicles such as scooters and skateboards and for pedestrians making the walk from Carpinteria to Santa Claus Lane and back.
"When I biked here today, I just talked to somebody who was biking along and he was already planning to use it and he is from Camarillo so the word is out," said First District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams who lives nearby.
Business owners on both ends were pleased the work was done and said it will bring customers into an area that had gone quiet during the construction period.
Biking groups said they were happy to see the connection and especially the commitment to make a safe route through the area. They plan to come from Santa Barbara on the north and Ventura on the south to visit the area.
The Old Kranks bike group was in the area, and Barbara West stopped by to say, "we love riding from to Santa Barbara from Ventura and this bike path is so much more safe than being out on the road. It's death defying out there with all the cars so safety is very important."
A group of businesses on the western end of Carpinteria as the name "The Row." Trey Pinner the Property Manager said, "all these communities can now just move back and forth between these two not only cities but businesses and that's really important right? "
On the Santa Claus Lane side, Williams said, "it's a great time to break up with Amazon and spend some time in Santa Claus Lane. Those businesses have been hurt with the amount of freeway construction."