The bike path connecting Carpinteria Avenue and Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria was officially opened on Wednesday.
On hand for the fun were State Senator Monique Limón, County Supervisor Das Williams and Carpinteria Mayor Al Clark. Unelected folks who made the trip to the end of Carpinteria Avenue included Caltrans Project Manager Joe Arnold and Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) Executive Director Marjie Kirn. They were all smiles as they raised the ribbon and successfully sliced it to complete the $3.33 million dollar connection.
The new 0.6 mile, Class I bikeway and multipurpose path connects Santa Claus Lane to Carpinteria Avenue and is located on the beachside of Highway 101 between the freeway and the railroad tracks. Pedestrians and bicyclists can now walk and ride between the City of Carpinteria and Santa Claus Lane. Construction has been ongoing since September 2022.
“Connecting communities is one of the best ways we can ensure we are building infrastructure mindfully,” said State Senator Monique Limón. “I am proud that the state has invested $7.54 million of SB1 funding to make this project a reality, but that was made possible by the local match from Measure A.”
This stretch of bike path has been talked about since the 1970’s and Wednesday was the day for lots of squeeze and cheese. Handshakes and photos were plentiful throughout the proceedings, dozens of bike riders donned jerseys, kids took time off of school, John Palminteri and former KEYT reporter who is now the Public Information Officer for the County, Kelsey Gerckens-Buttita, reunited for a moment, it was quite a sight to behold.
“In Carpinteria, we have been wanting to see this bikeway built for many years. This allows residents and visitors to ride and walk from Carpinteria, up to Santa Claus Lane and beach, then continue on into Summerland,” said Carpinteria Mayor Al Clark. “Having it located on the beach side of Highway 101 makes it a nicer journey. We were all so excited to see this become a reality – many people have been using it during the temporary opening and we expect that trend to continue.”
In addition to the bikeway, improvements were made to the intersection of Estero Street and Carpinteria Avenue with updates for the multipurpose path connections and crosswalks. On the Santa Claus Lane side, a new vehicular turnaround was built early to improve access to the bikeway and facilitate turning movements for traffic wanting to stay on Santa Claus Lane versus enter the freeway.
In all the excitement, there was no mention of the Caltrans Rincon project. By most accounts, the quality of life for workers traveling from Ventura to Santa Barbara has greatly degraded for the past year and a half. Last official estimate has the quagmire Northbound from Emma Wood to La Conchita wrapping up in March of 2024.
The K-rails adjacent to the bike path on the freeway Southbound are still in place, no word on when they might be removed.