Petition Closed
Petitioning City Council of Santa Ana, CA Mayor Miguel Pulido, Mayor Pro Tem Sal Tinejero, and Councilmembers

Save Santa Ana's Santiago Creek


Begin Petition (Start Date:12-26-2011):

As friends and neighbors living in the north neighborhoods of the beautiful City of Santa Ana, we are pro-environment and development of alternative healthy means of transportation that include the building of bicycle trails. We are bicycling, exercise, health, and environmental advocates. We want bicycling trails, but just not where it will destroy a beautiful, natural creek, one of three remaining in Orange County. We oppose a proposed change to the 2009 Santa Ana Bicycle Master Plan that would have a Class I (off-street paved) bicycle trail built down the Santiago Creek in Santa Ana. We desire to save the beauty and trees in Santiago Creek and are actively supporting three alternative bicycle trail routes. Please join us in opposing the building of a cemented bike trail down Santiago Creek. We have many researched reasons to oppose the proposed cemented trail:

1. The City of Santa Ana’s key revenues, which include sales, property, and utility users’ taxes, have significantly declined. The State of California has balanced its budget by taking away our local government revenues that were used for vital services. To respond to these shortfalls, the City of Santa Ana has reduced its budget by $46 million and eliminated over 390 full-time positions. The City also has renegotiated labor contracts to defer and eliminate raises, implemented mandatory furloughs, decreased library hours, and has outsourced the City fire department. Despite all these cost cutting measures, the City of Santa Ana continued to face a deficit of $30 million. It is not fiscally responsible to advocate for a bicycle trail when other services & jobs are being cut. 

2.  There are not redevelopment dollars available to the City of Santa Ana, as was in the past. On December 29, 2011, the California Supreme Court ordered the immediate dismantling of Santa Ana’s redevelopment agency and seized $1.7 billion in statewide revenues. The city's redevelopment agency was expected to receive $728 million in net tax increment revenues. This has resulted in additional severe city budget cuts.

3. The proponents of the proposed Class I 1.5-mile bike trail along Santiago Creek would have the citizens of Orange County expend $3.3 million in monies for an amenity that clearly caters to bicyclists who have higher-than-average incomes, which are the minority of Santa Ana’s citizens (National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation Project Fact Sheet and Status Report, February 2009, p. 1). Santa Ana has much greater societal issues to expend monies on, rather on the select few politically connected and financially well-off. 

4. A Class II bike path, as documented in the CBSP, would cost $425,000, i.e., 81.4% less. The savings are strongly recommended in the current economic climate. Also, the City of Santa Ana will have to pay the ongoing long-term maintenance and security for a bicycle trail the City is not in any way obligated to build. It is necessary for Santa Ana to focus on core government services, e.g., public safety (fire and police services) and schools, and make them a priority, rather than a bicycle path for the few.

5. The amount of money spent on the proposed Class I bike trail will benefit less than 100 new "potential bicycle commuters" as extrapolated from The Orange County Transportation Authority Commuter Bikeways Strategic Plan (ibid, p. 167). Further extrapolation indicates that the cost of each rider for the proposed Class I bike trail is $22,500, versus a cost of $4,200 for the same bicyclist for a Class II bike trail.

6. The building of a Class I bike trail will result in the destruction of one of the few remaining wild green corridors that has been used for thousands of years by numerous animals. The destruction of 80- to 100-year-old trees, protected plant species, and endangered birds along the banks of the Santiago Creek will occur. Furthermore, the Santiago Creek area is designated by the County as a bird sanctuary. The creek is an important wildlife and watershed ecosystem. The proposed Class I paved bicycle path is a devastating, anti-green act, especially when a majority of the populace favors the protection of our planet and environment, not its destruction.


It has been stated that a bicycle trail will reduce trash, crime, & graffiti in the creek. Bike trails cannot reach up and carry away garbage, nab transients, or paint out graffiti. Bike trails have not eliminated these issues in the City of Orange; and bike trails will not eliminate them here. In a research study, Zarker, Bourey, Puncochar, and Lagerway found that, "The existence of the trail has had little, if any, effect on crime and vandalism experienced by adjacent property owners” (Evaluation of the Burke-Gilman Trail's Effect on Property Values and Crime. Seattle Engineering Department. May 1987, p. 3). In fact, a bike trail will increase pedestrian traffic throughout the north neighborhoods, since pedestrians outnumber bicyclists on pathways 75% to 20% (Ragland, David R., Safe Transportation Research & Education Center (SafeTrec), Jones, Michael G., Alta Planning. Prepared for Caltrans, February 2010).

On January 27, 2012, a four page memo was issued by the City Manager’s Office with the consensus of Santa Ana’s Parks & Recreation, Police Department, Fire Department, Planning & Building, and Public Works. It states: 

“It is the opinion of the Police Department that a proposed Bike trail along the creek could pose a danger to neighborhoods impacted.” “Staff believes that the best way to address the property owners’ and neighbors’ concerns about crime, trespassing and graffiti is to actively provide police patrol and graffiti control services within the creek bed area.” 


It has been repeatedly stated by the proponents of a Class I bicycle trail in the Santiago Creek that Santa Ana owns enough property for the building of a bicycle trail in the Creek. Ten to fourteen private property owners’ backyards would have to be seized by eminent domain for a bike trail. On January 17, 2012, Santa Ana’s Chief of Police and City Manager, Paul Walters, responded by memo to Santa Ana Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez’s request for clarification of the proponent’s claims about the land in the creek:

"…an assessment of any right-of-way acquisition would figure heavily into the feasibility of the project. Unlike other sections of Santiago Creek, which run through public parks or have more substantial existing public rights-of-way, this section of the creek is unusual in that it is abutted by private properties that have property lines extending into the creek bed itself. The development of a trail in this location would necessitate extensive right-of-way acquisition, which can be a substantial expense to the City and would also be based upon the cooperation of the adjacent property owners."


On January 27, 2012, a four page memo was issued by the City Manager’s Office with the consensus of Santa Ana’s Parks & Recreation, Police Department, Fire Department, Planning & Building, and Public Works. The memo confirms that the footpath is on private property: 

"The footpath [at the I-5] begins immediately adjacent to the paved path on private property and then proceeds west continuing on private property, almost until the entry to Jack Fisher Park… Many properties on the north side of the creek also have fences that do not run contiguous with their property lines. This has created the perception that the property outside of the adjacent fence lines is part of the public right-of-way and is, therefore, available for public use,” [which it is not]… the footpath runs across private property.”


The City of Santa Ana is hosting the last informational feedback forum for public feedback, which will be included in the feasibility reports. The workshop is your only opportunity to have your opinion included in the written recommendations to City Council. Please attend the last workshop on Thursday, May 09, 2013, at the Santa Ana Senior Center, 424 W Third St. from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

We respectfully request that you, our elected Honorable City Councilmembers, Supervisors, and OCTA officials, not vote or advocate in any way for a Class I bicycle trail in the Santiago Creek. Thank you.

The Save Santiago Creek Alliance

This petition was delivered to:
  • City Council of Santa Ana, CA
    Mayor Miguel Pulido, Mayor Pro Tem Sal Tinejero, and Councilmembers

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