Santa Cruz Council Approves Pogonip Bike Trail, Moves Ahead with Ironman Triathlon, Plastic Bag Limits and Tannery Theater

The council gave a nod to the committee trying to bring the Ironman triathlon to Santa Cruz, with a potential for $7 million in tourist dollars and major traffic tie-ups.

1) Although no formal proposal is on the table, the Santa Cruz City Council gave a nod to a proposal to bring a qualification round of the Hawaii Ironman Challenge to Santa Cruz in 2013.

Local athletes are meeting with the Ironman committee Wednesday, touring the area and hoping to put on a successful bid for a competition that could bring in as many as 2,000 athletes and 10,000 spectators.

The council will hear more formal plans if Santa Cruz is selected for what would be a five-year, or permanent, yearly race. Councilmember Ryan Coonerty summed up many concerns, noting that the approval would be dependant on how much private sponsorship the race would bring in to cover costs such as police and traffic

Opponents told the council they worried about it competing with other races in the fall, including the Big Kahuna Triathlon. One woman complained that it would make it hard for her to park when she swims that day on Main Beach.

The council voted unanimously to continue studying the proposal if it is made.

2)The council voted to hold a public hearing on banning plastic bags in the city with an ordinance similar to one that was enacted in the County last week. The next steps include a public hearing. Mayor Don Lane said he expected to pass the ordinance by the end of May.

3)The new director of the Tannery Arts Center, Rachel Anne Goodman, told the council of her plans to build a 200-seat state of the art theater in the complex for music and dance. The project got started with a $2 million grant from the Hewlett Foundation, and Goodman said she needs another $2 million to complete it.

There are drawings of the performing arts center here. Goodman hopes to show off the project and the progress of the artists' community at a dinner for the Santa Cruz Film Festival.

4) The council heard hours of testimony for and against the construction of a four-foot wide, 1.5 mile multi-use trail through Santa Cruz's 614-acre Pogonip park, the hillside land between Harvey West Park and UCSC.

It was pretty much hikers against bikers. Mountain bikers want the path to commute and to ride in what they say is a community with too-few bike trails. Hikers say the four-foot trail isn't wide enough for walkers, bikers and horses.

The city's staff claimed that the path would help discourage drug use and illegal camping in the area by having more eyes on it.

One man lamented that people spent more time talking about the trail than about other solutions for homelessness, such as jobs and building housing. Not long after that, an employee at Fox Racing Shocks said his company, based in Watsonville and Scotts Valley, with $200 million in sales, was considering moving to a more bike friendly-environment, something that would kill jobs and tax revenues in the county.

After hours of discussion, the council approved the new path 6-1 with Katherine Beiers opposing. They also discussed increasing fees for bicyclists who ride off the approved trails.



Beth M March 28, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Can I just say Hooray! for City Council voting yes on the Multi Use Trail? I haven't visited Pogonip in years due to the influx of illegal campers and rampant drug abuse, but now I'll be able to ride with my kids up to UCSC and leave the van at home, take hikes along the interpretive trail, and feel great about the city I've lived in for 43 years. The meeting last night was so packed, people were standing in the hallway. It's nice to see so many people concerned about outdoor recreation, from many standpoints.
Michael A. Lewis March 28, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Multi-use trail? "Mayor Don Lane suggested the committee study adding signage warning Pogonip visitors that the trail will largely be used by bikers, and Coonerty agreed, acknowledging the city was essentially building a bike trail. "
Steve Premo March 28, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I think a bike trail to parallel Highway 9 is badly needed at that location. Currently, the highway gets very narrow just south of the railroad crossing, and the only safe way for bikes to get from Felton to Santa Cruz is Graham Hill Road, which is very steep and much more difficult.
kem akol March 28, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Hooray the council has finally figured it out! We are the future...transportation and recreation...


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