Santa Ynez River Trail Alignment Study and Launch of Story-Map Website
A year-long process to catalog potential multimodal trail alignments to connect Buellton and Solvang nears completion with the launch of a story map website for public input. Public comments received either through the interactive website or directly submitted to Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) will be included in the final study document produced for this project. The story map website is available at http://arcg.is/0e8yGr and will be available for a 30-day public review process ending on August 14.
An in-person public workshop to culminate a year-long public process was canceled due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. As an alternative, an interactive story map website was developed to graphicly organize information and provide an opportunity for the public to creatively engage with all aspects of the study. Those that visit the website can select to watch a brief tutorial video that will help with navigating an online map tool which is available in English and Spanish. Following watching the video tutorial, the public will be able to provide direct feedback onto the map about potential multimodal trail alignments. Those interested in the map survey feature can utilize tools to provide individualized comments or utilize standardized icons to easily select and locate comments directly onto the online map of the study area, such as “safety concerns” or “property concern.” In addition, residents can provide comments through an eight-question text-only survey. Separate from the interactive story map website, the public can continue to provide comments directly to Santa Barbara County Association of Governments to the attention of Jared Carvalho by email at [email protected]; U.S. postal service at 260 N. San Antonio Road, Suite B, Santa Barbara, CA 93110; or by telephone at (805) 961-8900.
The Santa Ynez River Trail Alignment Study is being conducted through a partnership of Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, the cities of Buellton and Solvang, and the County of Santa Barbara. The cities of Buellton and Solvang are located approximately three and a half miles apart but are only connected via State Highway 246 which has a posted speed limit of up to 55 miles per hour. Additionally, Highway 246 only has bicycle lanes within the City of Buellton and only for the westbound direction east of the U.S. 101 interchange. A multimodal trail connection between the two cities has been included in several land use planning documents, with a trail connection most recently being recognized as the highest priority project in the 2019 Santa Ynez Valley Bicycle Master Plan. An ideal multimodal trail connection would accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians.
The Santa Ynez River Trail Alignment Study provides an opportunity to evaluate alignment opportunities, including along the Santa Ynez River, along Highway 246, or a variety of hybrid options. While the result can inform a future selection of an alignment, the study will not identify a preferred alignment. Mapping has been conducted with the input of a Technical Advisory Committee consisting of staff from Buellton and Solvang, Caltrans, County of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, and local business owners.
The public is encouraged to visit the story map website at http://arcg.is/0e8yGr before August 14 to provide comment on potential multimodal trail alignments that connect Buellton and Solvang.