Eyes on the Street: Chestnut/Cypress Bike Lane Connects Trail to Downtown Santa Ana
For the past year, 58-year-old Emilio Rojas would travel two miles by bike to arrive at his job at a local lonchera just south of downtown Santa Ana. Sometimes he’d take the 2.1-mile north-south Pacific Electric bike trail most of the way, but he usually preferred riding on sidewalks on Orange Avenue.
But last month, new bike lanes appeared on his route, and he’s been using them. Roughly 1.1-miles of green-striped bike lanes and sharrows were painted on Cypress Avenue, Bush Street, and Chestnut Avenue, creating the city’s first bicycle route connecting the city’s south to the downtown area.
“We had to be careful of the cars when there was no bike lane,” Rojas said in Spanish. “But now, motorists know that there is a lane and that they have to be careful.”
The bike connections were funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Partnerships to Improve Community Health program. The city of Santa Ana was awarded roughly $415,000 over three years for planning and construction of bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and the Chestnut/Cypress bike lanes used roughly $108,000. The money went for design and construction of the connector route.
The project was pushed for years by community groups like KidWorks and Santa Ana Active Streets. Those group saw a need to connect the Pacific Electric trail–a former Pacific Electric interurban railway corridor–with the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown, said Cory Wilkerson, Santa Ana’s active transportation coordinator.
“This project is what I considered low hanging fruit [because] it provides a crucial connection,” Wilkerson said.
Below are some photos of the new connection: