We Support New Coastal Trail Above Bates and the MTA Bus Extension to the Beach Parking Lot
The Coastal Trail
What is the Coastal Trail?
The proposed Coastal Trail above North Rincon (Bates) Beach will provide a crucial non-motorized link to popular beaches and surfing destinations and would feature a functioning bioswale, storm water runoff management, bridge for safe railroad crossing and an acceptable slope… hared-use paths are designed for both transportation and recreation purposes and are used by pedestrians, bicyclists and other users.
- Rincon Trail Report, June, 2012.
In plain English, the City of Carpinteria's Parks Department is planning to create a 12-ft wide fenced footpath just above the northern part of North Rincon (Bates) Beach. The 5000-ft. trail from the parking lot west to about where the concrete barrier is on the beach (near the proposed clothing-optional area), then cut back inland across a new foot bridge above the railroad tracks to the 101 freeway, then parallel the freeway west to the end of Carpinteria Avenue.
Friends of Bates Beach met with Matt Roberts, Carpinteria's Manager for Parks and Recreation, several years ago when this Trail idea was first proposed. Roberts is in charge of the project. We suggested three things:
First, that the trail be built with a fence and signage along the bluff to prevent hikers loitering too close to the cliff's edge and accidently falling, since the cliff side is prone to erosion and an occasional rockslide.
Second, that the western end of the old access to this trail along the railroad tracks be blocked so that voyeurs and drug dealers can no longer use it. This area is notorious from crime (especially in the culvert under the RR tracks) and this is a good time to fix the problem for good, since the trail construction will be alongside this area.
Third, that Friends of Bates Beach volunteer to have our Beach Ambassadors walk the trail periodically during the day to supplement whatever deputies or rangers the city might have planned for monitoring the area.
Roberts agreed that while dogs will be allowed on the trail, they must remain on a leash and the dog owners must be sure to pick up after their animals.
Several public hearings have been held, and speakers from Friends of Bates Beach testified and gave our suggestions. No doubt a few more public hearings will be held soon. FOBB will participate and contribute as needed.
In November, 2016, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) staff recommended approval of the $6.8 million project. Construction is scheduled to begin late in 2017 or early 2018 and be finished about July 2020.
Santa Barbara MTD Bus Line #21
The Current Situation:
The current MTD bus line #21 follow paths, shown below, from the city of Santa Barbara and through the center of Carpinteria before turning at Bailard Avenue and backtracking north again.
The MTD bus line does not service the far eastern end of Carpinteria or Bates Beach. The buses run hourly during the week and every 90 minutes on weekends.
The Carpinteria Seaside Shuttle services the town's major hotels during the summer months and carries passengers to the State Beach and other tourist areas.
The Seaside Shuttle goes south-east only as far as Casitas Pass Road, a mile away from Bailard Road and 1.5 miles from Bates Road, the off ramp to Bates Beach. The Shuttle does not have the horsepower to travel safely on the local freeways.
Carpinteria Avenue dead ends at Hwy 150, about ½ mile from Bates Beach and the geography prevents it from being extended farther.
Our Proposal: Extend MTD Bus Line #21 to Bates Road
This way, tourists and townspeople who want to visit Bates Beach can be served.
As the Coastal Trail project moves forward, people are going to want the option of public transportation to convey them to the start to the trail, or to use to return to Carpinteria after a day of hiking and enjoying the beach. The fact that Bates will be the new terminus for the Coastal Trail gives us the opportunity to bring people, who prefer a less crowded alternative to Carpinteria State Beach, to a different beach.
Extending this bus line that one extra mile can help attract tourists to both Bates Beach and encourage higher numbers of people to use the Coastal Trail. Fares from these additional riders will easily cover the cost of the extra fuel and vehicle maintenance of the buses, which should be minimal.
Merchants on Linden Avenue who count on tourist traffic for their business, will gain customers because the shuttle will take people from Bates right to their doorstep.