Monday, December 21, 2009

Opening Safe Parkway Access

We have long held that there needs to be more safe access to the Parkway for the frail elderly and disabled. See our 2008 report on the Parkway and Recreation, (pp. 15-26).

The proposed project in Folsom appears to meet that criteria and the concept should be heartily supported.

The Sacramento Bee editorial claiming lights and developed access intrude upon the naturalness of the Parkway—while having some validity—should also consider the public safety issue of well lighted access, especially for the frail elderly and disabled.

The dangerous access in the Lower Reach area of the Parkway—from Discovery Park to Cal Expo—should serve as a model of how not to provide well-manicured and well-lighted access to our premier outdoor recreational area; while this new project in Folsom may provide a model of how to.

The proper public review is warranted and one assumes an even better project will emerge to allow greater and safer access to the Parkway for the frail elderly and disabled.

An excerpt from the Bee editorial.

“The American River Parkway stretches 29 miles from the confluence with the Sacramento River to Folsom Dam, and communites along it face a tough balancing act:

“How do you preserve a natural setting and create recreational amenities in a greenbelt surrounded by growing cities and suburbs?

“A test of that balancing act comes with a proposed project in Folsom on the south side of Lake Natoma. Currently, the paved bike path ends at Historic Folsom, just past the Folsom Boulevard Bridge. An unpaved path continues for hikers, runners and mountain bikers (and is planned to be a paved extension of the bike path in the future).

“The city of Folsom would like to build a 420-foot curving ramp on the steep 35-foot cliff down to the shoreline from the bike trail close to where the trail currently ends at Historic Folsom. There the city also would build a concrete, lighted 2,600-foot promenade at the shoreline parallel to the bike trail.

“In an application for California River Parkway grant funds, the city claims the project is needed, otherwise "the senior population and people with disabilities will not have any way to access the shoreline on the south side of Lake Natoma."

“At the bottom of the proposed ramp, the city also wants to build a boat launch area "to improve access to the water for those carrying kayaks and canoes," providing a service "not currently available on the south side of Lake Natoma."