Landscape Architects Team with Canyonlands to Blaze New & Improved Trails in City Heights Canyons

Landscape Architects Team with Canyonlands to Blaze New & Improved Trails in City Heights Canyons

Ribbon cutting ceremony April 15 at 10 AM. Myrtle St. cul-de-sac (near 4601 Myrtle St. ) Contact Eric Bowlby, Executive Director San Diego Canyonlands 619.284.9399

San Diego-April 10:San Diego Canyonlands (SDCL) has tapped into the expertise of KTUA Landscape Architecture and Planning to design and plan new trails and reroute others in City Heights.

When completed, this five-mile loop system will connect the urban streetscape with the surrounding natural landscape in Hollywood, Manzanita, 47th Street, and Swan Canyons, creating a nature-park amenity that will serve the local residents and youth for hiking, jogging, biking, and use as a nature classroom.

“In addition to providing access to lovely nature trails, this project provides safe access from the top of the canyon slopes to existing trails in the bottom of the canyons, thus creating convenient links for pedestrians and bicyclists to schools, transit, other neighborhoods and activity centers,” said Eric Bowlby, Executive Director of SDCL.

And it’s a project that calls for the expertise of landscape architects. “So we went to trail-design and planning experts John Holloway and Mark Carpenter, both Principals, at KTUA for help,” explained Bowlby.

Since 2009, Holloway, Carpenter, Bowlby, biologists, rangers, and planners have been working together on this urban nature-trail system that was envisioned by the community over a decade ago.

“The overall project includes habitat restoration in these four degraded canyons, increasing infiltration of polluted urban runoff and reducing pollutants as waters flow through the canyons down to our beaches,” said Bowlby.

Under Holloway’s leadership, KTUA landscape architects created trail designs through construction drawings and committed to keeping an eye on the project over the next 20 years, including linking up to other trails in the future.

Said Holloway, “We’re trying to create sustainable routes that people already use when they are cutting across the canyon. Some social trails have steep, 30% or more grades. They are difficult to get up and down, and they’re eroding and being washed away by the rains—they aren’t sustainable.”

These new trails will create safer, more direct routes to schools such as Hamilton Elementary. For some students, it’s over a mile walk or drive from home to school on the streets. With the new trails across the canyons, many trips to school will now be only a few hundred feet.

KTUA Principal, Sharon Singleton, said, “This project was made for John. It combines his interest in outdoor activities with his professional-planning and design background. And he provides expertise in pedestrian, bicycle and trail-planning and design based on his hands-on knowledge of the critical components of successful circulation systems.”

Holloway’s weekends are often spent working with volunteers on trail projects, particularly to help develop antidotes to the decades-long reduction in outdoor activity and the resulting childhood obesity epidemic, by attracting kids and their parents back to the outdoors with age-appropriate activities and facilities that appeal to their sense of fun and adventure.

Through his extensive volunteer work in trail design, renovation and maintenance projects throughout Southern California, Holloway has worked closely with numerous non-profits and land-management agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, California State Parks, the County of San Diego, the San Diego Mountain Biking Association and San Diego Canyonlands.

“Projects benefit when passion and experience go hand-in-hand. In John’s case, his presentations at conferences such as California Trails & Greenways on the planning, design, and implementation of fun and sustainable trails incorporate his professional experience and the conditions he sees, whether he is out building the trail or just enjoying it,” says Singleton.

As KTUA’s resource management team-lead, Carpenter initially engaged with SDCL in late 2012 to assist them with developing a set of trail plans to obtain a Site Development Permit (SDP) from the City of San Diego.

Explained Singleton, “Mark’s experience with environmental mitigation and permitting, as well as his interest in developing sustainable trails to improve public access, was instrumental in receiving the SDP in 2014.” He developed the original trail corridors, coordinated in the field with City and Resource Agency staff, and then oversaw KTUA staff to prepare the design plans submitted for the SDP.

Carpenter guided the drawings through the two-year approval process, educating plan and permit reviewers along the way, due to their unfamiliarity with narrow open-space trails.

He subsequently helped SDCL develop an RFP for hiring a contractor, helped review resulting proposals, and then advised SDCL on contractor selection.

At the same time, he led the effort to develop the required Grading Permit before the project could break ground, which took another two years, as yet again the project did not match the projects typically reviewed by staff and required several rounds of comments and clarifications before a reasonable set of requirements and details could be agreed upon.

With the grading permit in hand, SDCL could finally break ground. Since then, Carpenter has continued to provide technical support during project implementation by modifying the trail plans whenever the original trail design has needed to be changed, primarily due to changed site conditions, since they were first laid out more than two years ago. For example, a very large tree fell onto the alignment where the ribbon-cutting is slated to take place, requiring a re-route. 

Said Bowlby, “This was San Diego Canyonlands’ first major trails project. From planning to construction, it was essential to have KTUA’s consultation, experience, and support to get to the finish line.”

Eric Bowlby, Executive Director, San Diego Canyonlands, 619.284.9399
John Holloway, KTUA, 619.294.4477 ext133
Sharon Singleton, KTUA, 619.294.4477 ext135

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By | 2017-04-19T11:43:13+00:00 April 17th, 2017|Industry News, Members In The Press, Uncategorized|