In a collaborative effort between the Shoreline Preservation Fund (SPF), the Isla Vista Surfrider Foundation, Associated Students BIKES and A.S. Legislative Council, the West Campus bluffs bike path will soon be refurbished after years of depletion.
The bike path connects I.V. to Sands Beach. SPF Grant Manager Scott Bull said the estimated cost to survey the land ranges from $2,500 to $5,000, and the entire redevelopment of the path could cost up to $65,000. Pending approval from the California Coastal Commission (CCC) — a state governing agency that regulates construction within two miles of the coastline — maintenance on the bluff path could begin as early as next month or as late as March, Bull said. As a result, he said SPF is unsure of the target date for the completion of the project. Bull said the path has not been serviced in its 20-year existence.
“[The path] is rutted out and unsafe,” he said. “We want to resurface the pathway to keep people within the confines of the path to prevent habitat degradation. With proper drainage and resurfacing, we hope to make this popular and highly traveled path safe all year long. SPF is committed to making it safer for users as well as making it more defined to protect the sensitive bluff habitat.”
Money from the student lock-in fees of SPF and A.S. BIKES will be used to fund the project, Bull said. Undergraduates each pay $3 per quarter to SPF through an A.S. lock-in fee, and A.S. BIKES receives a 25-cent per quarter per undergraduate lock-in fee.
Marcia Zilles, an independent project manager, and Al Rodriguez, a contractor from United Paving, were chosen to work on the project, Bull said.
Bull said the path was created in the mid-1980s because of a CCC requirement for the faculty homes in that area. SPF has made the restoration a priority project for the past three years, he said. Since fall 2002, SPF has lobbied the UCSB Facilities Management Dept. and the UCSB Office of Budget and Planning to pay for restoration of the bike path, Bull said.
A.S. Legislative Council member Jennifer Greeley said the path is an important feature of the campus and community. She said an array of people including joggers, surfers, people on bikes and those traveling to Sands Beach are the primary users of the path.
“The path provides an amazing beauty for everyone to enjoy,” Greeley said. “It’s important to keep the maintenance up, to keep it environmentally friendly. But, since it’s used a lot, it’s important to UCSB students, the campus and community.”
Greeley said Leg Council has approved resolutions in support of the bluff path restoration plan for the past two years. Leg Council most recently approved the resolution Greeley rewrote and sponsored on Nov. 3.
“In the resolution, I emphasized that the path lacked maintenance,” Greeley said. “It’s discontinuous and stops off at an arbitrary place. With the resolution, we are encouraging the allocation of funds [from the university]. We’ve previously been ignored because no action was taken in the short term to alleviate the problem.”
Surfrider co-chair Mathis Riley, a junior economics and philosophy major, said the bluff paths are in serious need of repair.
“When it rains, it turns into a giant mud puddle,” Riley said. “It’s barely a path. Riding a bike on that path with a [surf] board under your arm is dangerous. There are parts on the path where you could easily fall off the cliff.”