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Local News

Santa Barbara Paving Way for Las Positas Road Multipurpose Pathway

$25 million project from Modoc Road to Cliff Drive includes restoration and plantings for Las Positas and Arroyo Burro creeks

The City of Santa Barbara is planning to create a multipurpose pathway and restore a portion of the creek along Las Positas Road as part of a project to enhance the Las Positas Valley.
The City of Santa Barbara is planning to create a multipurpose pathway and restore a portion of the creek along Las Positas Road as part of a project to enhance the Las Positas Valley. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The City of Santa Barbara is rolling ahead on a $25 million plan to build a multiuse pathway along parts of Modoc and Las Positas roads.

City planners want to create a pathway for bicyclists, pedestrians and runners, with the goal of making alternative transportation more attractive and viable in the area.

Santa Barbara received a $1.4 million Caltrans ​Active Transportation Program grant for preliminary design of the path.

“These funds come at a great time, especially now that Las Positas Road is no longer a state highway, giving the city local control to create a safer passageway and beach access for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles,” Mayor Helene Schneider said.

The path will begin on Modoc Road at Calle de los Amigos, west of Vista del Monte Retirement Community, and continue east for approximately a mile toward the busy intersection of Modoc and Las Positas roads.

The route will then turn south for about 1.6 miles along Las Positas Road to Cliff Drive.

Las Positas Road is a thoroughfare for traffic, with cars whizzing by at speeds of 55 mph or faster at all times of the day. The path eventually is to tie into the Las Positas-Cliff intersection, where the city is also planning to build a roundabout.

The path, roundabout and restoration of Las Positas Creek, which feeds into Arroyo Burro Creek, are all part of the city’s ambitious plans to enhance the Las Positas Valley through a variety of street, sidewalks and creekside improvements.

The restoration plans include removing 30,000 square feet of concrete lining from the creek channel, grading to establish shallower creek banks, planting the banks with native plant and tree species, and installing large sandstone boulders to protect the banks from erosion.

As part of the restoration, native trees such as alders, oaks and sycamores are to be planted to help stabilize the creek banks, provide shade and improve habitat value. Native wetland plants are to be added to help improve water quality.

“We are in close coordination with the Public Works Department regarding the range of public improvement projects in the Las Positas Valley since they all serve to improve public access within and between residential and recreation/open space areas, as well as support public safety and alternative means of transportation,” said Jill Zachary, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

In addition to the management and enhancement of public open space, the Parks and Recreation Department has prioritized the restoration of Las Positas and Arroyo Burro creeks through its Creeks Division.

The city plans to apply for additional Active Transportation Program grant money for construction, which may start this fall.

The project might be built in phases over several years, and the city will need a coastal development permit and approval from several boards.

“The Las Positas Valley is home to an array of public open spaces, with both active and passive recreation opportunities, including city parks such as Hidden Valley and the Douglas Family Preserve as well as the Santa Barbara County Arroyo Burro Beach Park,” Zachary said.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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