New Thousand Oaks bike path will create a shortcut under 23 freeway

From the Thousand Oaks Acorn

A new 1.2-mile bike path in Thousand Oaks is slowly taking shape.

The contractor has until March 2011 to finish the $1 million Conejo Creek Park Bicycle Path but may get it done by the end of the year, said city public works engineer Christopher Lynch. It will take three months to have a 20-foot-long by 10-foot-wide pedestrian footbridge made.

“The construction is 100 percent funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds,” Lynch said.

The 12-foot-wide bike path will begin at the intersection of Janss Road on Conejo Valley Unified School District headquarters’ property and proceed south through Conejo Creek Park South.

That park is usually for soccer and is the location of Conejo Valley Days in the spring.

The path will continue under the 23 Freeway, carving a shortcut to where Gainsborough Road dead ends.

Getting from the beginning of the path where it terminates at the end of the path by city streets would cover 2.5 miles, Lynch said.

The shortcut will help active people get to the teen center, the senior center, the library and Conejo Creek Parks north and south more easily. The path will be made of asphalt, the same material found on many city streets.

“It’s a bike path, but in reality people will be walking on it too, and pushing strollers, using (inline skates) or jogging,” Lynch said.

Conejo Recreation and Park District and the school district are partnering with the city by allowing the path to be on their property. The city is paying the costs and managing the construction, Lynch said.

The park district may someday add a horse path beside the bike path.

Currently the city has a total of 1.2 miles of bike paths, so the new route will double that figure. There are a long-range plans to build more paths, Lynch said.

A future bike path could be constructed from Willow Lane to Haaland Drive, near the city’s transportation center on Rolling Oaks Drive off Rancho Road. That path would be hilly, as it cuts through the California Department of Transportation right of way, but it would shorten the distance for bicycle riders.

The $148,000 design costs for the Conejo Creek Park Bicycle Path were paid with city funds and $16,000 from a federal Congestion Management and Air Quality grant.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant was for $1.3 million. Total costs for construction are $1.07 million The remaining $229,641 of the grant will be used for street repair.

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