Recently, there has been a great deal of talk regarding the proposed walking path on San Ysidro Road. I think it important to point out a few facts.
In the initial discussions about a proposed walking path on San Ysidro Road it was very clear that everyone envisioned an aesthetically pleasing, meandering rural walking path made of composed granite with landscaping between the path and the roadway, all in keeping with the rural character of Montecito and conforming to the Montecito Community Plan. These thoughts were reiterated at each of the meetings described below.
The idea of a safe waling path was not new. Personally, I have been involved in meetings focused on creating a safe walking path on San Ysidro Road and, for that matter, School House Road, since 1999 and I have personal knowledge that it was discussed as far back as 1991. This was an idea whose time had finally come. As one resident said in 2007, “Please act before someone is hurt.”
In 2006, every family at Montecito Union School was provided with a survey regarding how children traveled to school. The survey showed that 92 percent of parents drove their children to school. Sixty-eight percent lived close enough to school to walk or bike, and preferred to do so, but demanded a safe path. Later that same year, a hand-counted mobility survey was conducted over a five-day period. This survey confirmed that only 9 percent of students walked or rode bicycles to school. The remaining students were driven to school.
On Oct 25, 2006, a presentation regarding the path was made to the Montecito Association. On February 2, 2007, COAST (Coalition for Sustainable Transportation) was provided information and asked to join in the effort. Later that same week, Montecito Union School parents were invited to a meeting and provided with background information about the path.
With the blessing of these groups, meetings were held to analyze all ideas and allow for representatives within the community to voice their ideas. Meetings were held in Frist District County Supervisor Salud Carbajal’s office and at every meeting the following groups were represented: The president and a representative from the Montecito Association; the superintendents from Cold Spring School and Montecito Union; porents from both schools; representatives from COAST; Carbajal and/or his assistant; and individuals from County Public Works. Meetings were held on the following dates:
February 28, 2007 June 21, 2007
March 12, 2007 August 2, 2007
March 21, 2007 October 2, 2007
April 21, 2007
In April 2007, a petition was shown to residents and 400 signatures were collected. The petition was presented to Salud Carbajal.
Equally important, Steven Murdoch and I wrote a letter to San Ysidro Road residents telling them about an open meeting to be held at Montecito Union School on May 2, 2007 for the purpose of discussing the work and discussions held to date regarding the proposed safe walking path. Steven Murdoch personally put the letters in all of the mailboxes up and down San Ysidro Road.
In the fall, letters were sent to every resident on San Ysidro Road regarding an open meeting to be held on October 18, 2007 in the Montecito Union School auditorium, where the initial study report was distributed and county engineers described the project. The study went out of its way to describe and adhere to the Montecito Community Plan, Americans with Disabilities Act, and county right-of-way and encroachments. The report analyzed three alternative rural path ideas and county planners invited public comment.
At the same time, Steven Murdoch personally took the time to call homeowners on San Ysidro Road and either spoke to them directly or left a message, and Matt Dobberteen of County Public Works has spent many hours talking to the San Ysidro Road homeowners in their homes.
The project was reported and discussed in the Montecito Journal, SB News-Press, and The SB Independent from the get-go.
The claim that homeowners were not informed about the project is untenable.—Dick Douglas, Montecito Union School District superintendent