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SLO County begins planning new trail to connect SLO and Pismo Beach

Two bicyclists ride along Price Canyon Road about a mile north of the Pismo Beach city limit. San Luis Obispo County is in the beginning phases of designing a trail that would connect SLO to Pismo Beach.
Two bicyclists ride along Price Canyon Road about a mile north of the Pismo Beach city limit. San Luis Obispo County is in the beginning phases of designing a trail that would connect SLO to Pismo Beach.

As the completion of the Bob Jones Trail between San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach nears reality, the county is planning another recreational trail, one that will run 12 miles between San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach.

The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, the county’s transportation planning agency, has started planning the Edna-Price Canyon segment of the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail.

The trail would run south out of San Luis Obispo down Highway 227 and then down Price Canyon Road to Pismo Beach. Construction of the trail is years away because the project is in its beginning study phase that looks at potential alignments and design, Jessica Berry, SLOCOG project manager, said.

“It is possible that the county could be ready to begin construction in eight years, but I think that’s optimistic,” Berry said.

The trail is part of a larger project to create a 1,200-mile trail corridor that traces the journey by 240 people from Nogales, Ariz., to San Francisco in 1774-76. Other segments of the trail in San Luis Obispo and between Santa Margarita and Paso Robles are also planned.

The San Luis Obispo to Pismo Beach section would be a multipurpose trail that could accommodate a variety of users including bicyclists, pedestrians and equestrians. The goal is to have it be a Class 1 trail, which is a standalone recreational trail that is not part of a road.

“We definitely want to stick with the county standard, which is a 10-footwide paved trail with the possibility of widening it to 12 feet,” Berry said.

The trail would mostly be along Highway 227 and Price Canyon Road, but planners are also looking for places where it could be routed away from those roads. Because the project is still in the planning phase, the public can recommend possible trail alignments and amenities.

Go to http://slocog.org/edna-price-canyon-trail-online-tool to use a Google mapping tool to make design suggestions. The public can also give input on the trail at an upcoming planning workshop.

No date has been set for the workshop, but it will likely be held in late spring or early summer, Berry said. At that workshop, the public can learn about the trail project, make design suggestions and voice issues or concerns.

The county received a $150,000 Caltrans grant and provided $15,000 in matching funds to finance the initial feasibility phase of the project, which is expected to last to the end of the year.

Subsequent phases will be environmental review, design and construction.

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