To: Santa Barbara City Council, Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Works.
PLEASE NOTICE: that the bike trail adjacent to East Beach in Santa Barbara CA has been partially obstructed for the past forty days by sand drifts caused by the big crowds that enjoyed the fireworks on July 4.
This condition is unfortunate because it forces dozens of eastbound inline skaters every day to swerve into the westbound lane of oncoming traffic, which sometimes includes happy toddlers dangling from the front of rented surreys carrying up to six adult passengers who are laughing and carrying on and peddling as fast as they can. The combined force of an adult skater colliding with a loaded six-passenger surrey is roughly equivalent to a 3/4-ton automobile smacking into a pedestrian at 25 mph. Some important distinctions are that the car has brakes, the driver is probably insured, and toddlers are buckled up securely in the back seat.
Inline skaters cannot plow through sand drifts. The wheels are too small. If they roll into deep sand their wheels will stop and they will pivot like a hammer, possibly hitting their head against the pavement. The sand is similar to the color of cement and appears as a hazard without warning, causing them to swerve. Finally, the thin coating of sand that has covered the bike trail all summer destroys the bearings, resulting in repair costs of $30-$60. A whole summer season of athletes have been dissuaded from returning to Santa Barbara by neglect of one of the city's most popular attractions.
Various users have called the City during the past few weeks to warn of this hazard, and still the condition persists. Forty days is long enough to suggest that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. An attempt to sweep the trail on August 7 was unsuccessful, as shown by the above photographs taken on August 12. The sweeper went around the sand drifts, leaving an imprint along the edge.
"If seven maids with seven mops swept for half a year,
do you suppose," the Walrus said, that they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter, and shed a bitter tear.
I sent a short email to the Mayor on Thursday morning with a link to this webpage. Thursday afternoon the trail was clear. The Mayor wrote, Thank you for letting me know about the bike trail sand issue. I had not heard about it, so no one was calling City Hall. I will see what can be done.
For many years, a resident used to exercise on his skates by taking a broom and sweeping off the path as he skated. Obviously he is not doing that any more.
A week later, the City had landscaped the troublesome area and covered the sand berm, planting iceplants that will fill in the gaps before the crowds return next summer so that visitors will be encouraged to use a different route to get to the beach. Happy trails.
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