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San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) is considering installing a multipurpose trail that connects San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay with a trailhead near Cal Poly.
“It’s a pretty good idea,” said Beau Korsmo, a civil engineering freshman. “A lot of people will enjoy it. I enjoy it.”
Korsmo said he hikes every couple weeks to Bishop Peak or Madonna Mountain, and is interested in hiking the potential trail. He said it doesn’t matter where the trail starts, as long as it’s close to Cal Poly.
To examine people’s preferences of trail routes and starting locations, SLOCOG hosted a two-hour workshop on its proposed Chorro Valley Trail Study on April 15 at the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors’ Chamber Lobby.
Six maps sat on tables alongside a wall and showed trail alignment alternatives and other components of the trail.
As attendees dropped in, Jeff Peters, principal of Cuesta Engineering Corporation, walked them through each map and the feasibility of each trail alignment.
Four alignments are being considered. They are colored as red (alignment A), green (alignment B), blue (alignment C) and gray (additional alignment considered). According to Peters, the gray alignment has been determined as unfeasible. The prospective trail doesn’t have to be one alignment or another; it can be a combination of different alignments.
Though the alignment alternatives are there for people to choose, some are more achievable than others.
There are two proposed starts for the trail. One start (on alignment 1A – map 1) is placed at the intersection of the Sports Complex Road, Mount Bishop Road and Highland Drive. The other proposed start (on alignment 1B) is placed at the intersection between Santa Rosa Street and Highland Drive.
Some people at the workshop preferred 1B, saying that they don’t want to have to enter the Cal Poly campus just to get on the trail.
While 1A is closer to Cal Poly, making it easier for students to access the trail, there’s an obstacle with following through the A alignment: As 1A connects with 2A, the trail will pass through the property of the California Men’s Colony (map 2).
“One challenge is getting through the men’s colony, which has security concerns regarding the inmates,” Peters said. “They feel that the trail may somehow enable walk-offs.”
Hence, a more achievable route is a combination of 1A, 1C and 2B, in which 1C connects the other two alignments (map 1).
At the end of alignment 2B, another obstacle comes up that prevents 2B from connecting with 3B.
According to Peters, Camp San Luis Obispo is having a military installation. Thus, they would like the trail going through their property to be on the north side (3A) rather than the south side (3B).
“Right now, you can’t just drive in there,” Peters said. “You have to go through a security check.”
Therefore, the preferred route (from map 1 to map 2) is a combination of 1A, 1C, 2B and 3A.
On map 3, alignment 4A following 3A is on the north side while Cuesta College is on the south side. To make it more convenient for Cuesta College students, Peters suggested a combination of 4A and 4B. A person can cross the street from 4A to 4B at the traffic light on Hollister Avenue.
As alignment 4B connects to 5B on map 4, the trail goes through Chorro Creek Ranch, Cal Poly’s owned and managed property. It is now used by both the animal science and crop science departments.
Peters said Cal Poly prefers 5B over 5A, and will fence its farming operations on the south side.
Regarding Cal Poly-related areas that the proposed trail will run through (map 1 through 4), the most feasible alignment combination that allows best access for students is: 1A – 1C – 2B – 3A – half 4A and half 4B – 5B.
During the workshop, attendees were given stickers to mark their preferred alignment and start/stop. An online survey is also available for those who would like to give opinions on the trail.
For architectural engineering sophomore Kristina Lam, it would be nice if the trail started near Poly Canyon Village, she said.
“But I don’t know if it should start there,” she said. “I think maybe (the start should be placed) towards the end of campus — the library side of campus.”
She said a start at the intersection of Highland Drive and Mount Bishop Road as proposed in the trail study is not bad because “it’s just a five-minute walk.”
April 2014 – Development of trail alignment alternatives, public workshop
May 2014 – Development of financial feasibility and implementation plan
June 2014 – Draft study presented to SLOCOG Board – public testimony and comments accepted
August 2014 – SLOCOG Board approves final study — forwarded to local agencies for use in future planning efforts