By Jim Tortolano
Garden Grove will probably not be turning into a California version of Copenhagen, that Danish city renowned for its throngs of bicyclists on city streets, but plans to add more bike lanes and paths are gaining speed.
Earlier this month, the Orange County Transportation Authority approved $1.1 million for improved bike corridors for Garden Grove, which should lead to expansion of bike paths, lanes and trails.
According to Erin Webb, senior planner for the City of Garden Grove, residents can expect to see the whole two- wheeled network in place by June 2019. “We’re hoping for sooner than that,” she added.
The plan calls for 6.5 miles of new bikeways and the improvement of 8.35 miles of existing bikeways, many of which now consist simply of a painted stripe on a traffic lane. Five “high priority corridors” have been identified in its Active Streets plan. They are:
- Brookhurst Street between Katella Avenue and Trask Avenue
- West Street from the northern city limit to Garden Grove Boulevard
- Gilbert Street Corridor from Westminster Avenue to Katella Avenue
- Chapman Avenue from Valley View Street to the western city limit
- Lampson Avenue from Haster Street and the western city limit.
Some of the improvements will be the creation of new bike lanes, while some will involve creating buffers between the cyclist and auto traffic. Bicycle “wayfinding” signs to help bikers navigate to points of interest in the city will be placed along all the corridors, which will total 14.85 miles.
The Gilbert Corridor will span the length of the city, south to north. It will start at Westminster Avenue and go north along Deodora, which runs between Bolsa Grande High School and Garden Grove Park. From there it crosses Trask Avenue, jogs a short distance to Shapell Street, where it heads north to Imperial Avenue, then turns west to Gilbert Street, which it follows north to Katella at the Anaheim city limits.
But there’s more. “We’ve received another grant to do the next three sections of the bike path along the old Pacific Electric right-of-way,” said Webb. The first leg runs from Nelson Street diagonally north to Stanford Avenue. The grant will allow the thoroughfare – paved, striped and divided into cycling and jogging paths – to extend all the way to Brookhurst Street, not far from The Promenade mall.
“You’ll be able to bike from the Civic Center to the shopping district,” she said. “It’s a nice ride.” However, environmental issues may delay that project; the presence of arsenic in the soil – a leftover from its days as a railway – could complicate things.
The anticipated effects of a more extensive bike – and pedestrian – network are many. According to Demian Garcia-Monroy, who as a volunteer has helped shape the city’s “Active Streets” plans, the benefits could include:
- cutting traffic congestion and improve safety for senior citizens, youth and the handicapped
- beautifying the city and creating an active lifestyle
- attracting more commerce.
Relating to that last point, he said the bike paths could help to “bring in new businesses to our city … that in the past have not considered Garden Grove a good market, such as health supermarkets and gyms. It would be great to have stores in Garden Grove such as Trader Joe’s.”
Categories: Garden Grove