Addressing Community Concerns: Our Letter to the Supervisor
We want to bring your attention to an important matter at the heart of community well-being. The Valley Women’s Club has taken a step forward by addressing their concerns in a heartfelt letter to Supervisor Bruce McPherson, shedding light on the proposed pump track in Felton Covered Bridge Park.
Our focus is not entirely opposing the idea but emphasizing the significance of the right location within the San Lorenzo Valley.
This letter presents a comprehensive list of reasons why the current park might not be the optimal spot for the pump track. The key points explored are environmental considerations, transportation safety, infrastructure, and community values. Furthermore, our message is rooted in preserving the spirit and harmony of the park. This letter is a testament to our commitment to the community’s overall welfare and ensures that decisions are grounded in thoughtfulness and community participation.
Bruce McPherson, Supervisor
Santa Cruz County Fifth District
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA. 95060
I am writing to express the concerns of the Valley Women’s Club regarding the proposal for a pump track in the Felton Covered Bridge Park. Our concern is about the location of the pump track rather than there being a pump track in the San Lorenzo Valley in general.
Below is a partial list of reasons we believe the Felton Covered Bridge Park is not a suitable location for a pump track.
The Felton Covered Bridge Park is within a major floodplain. Along with the Graham Hill/Mount Hermon intersection and Felton Grove, it has flooded many times throughout the years. As a condition of the County’s permit to build the park in the floodplain, the Parks Department was required to enhance the on-site riparian habitat areas. A mitigation plan was developed to remove the non-native plant material and replant with riparian species. The current ground cover in the proposed pump track location provides a significant bioswale, helping the soil to absorb the runoff from Felton Faire and Graham Hill. Paving over this important area will be very problematic.
Transportation Safety Concerns
Vehicle speeds are very high in this segment of Graham Hill Road as southbound drivers jockey for position during the merge after the signal. Traffic in and out of the gas station adjacent to the park is unstructured, and the crosswalk from Felton Faire is within both of these safety hazards.
Graham Hill/Mount Hermon is one of the largest and busiest intersections in the San Lorenzo Valley and, like the Highway 9/Graham Hill intersection to the west, has seen many bicycle- and pedestrian-involved collisions. Anyone using transit to access a pump track from the northbound bus stop must cross this intersection.
While sidewalks and bike lanes from Highway 9 to Roaring Camp are identified in the SLV Plan, they are NOT part of either the repaving project going to construction in 2027 or the safety project providing a sidewalk from the GH/9 intersection to the schools going into construction in 2025. There are no plans to seek funding for the projects identified by Graham Hill.
The existing parking lot is barely sufficient for the current uses of the park, especially on weekends. This would cause considerable overflow parking into the Felton Grove neighborhood and nearby business lots, such as the laundromat and the Felton Faire Shopping Center.
The Felton Town Plan process, begun in 1986 by Jeff Oberdorfer and Associates, was developed in partnership with local citizens who contributed their ideas and visions during a community participation process involving over 140 local people in five public workshops and two public hearings. An analysis of participants’ favorite places was developed, indicating the Felton Covered Bridge as one of Felton’s top six favorite places.
What makes this park so special is its rigorous design process, incorporating a volunteer effort by the community to build the park and the project’s design with respect to the historic Felton Covered Bridge Structure. In order to preserve views of the landmark Felton Covered Bridge from the intersection of Graham Hill Road and Mount Hermon, the park’s design was required to blend into its wooden surroundings. To achieve the goal of the design, a rustic design theme was incorporated into the project wherein the play structure located in front of the Covered Bridge, the informational kiosk, picnic tables, and benches were all constructed of wood so as not to detract from the view of the bridge. Adding a large cement structure and protective fencing would go against the design plan, which took years to develop.
There was little opportunity for community input before the August 9, 2023, meeting, scheduled for the night before SLV schools started, making it difficult for parents of school-aged children to attend.
We strongly recommend that it would be a community decision if an additional pump track is considered in the Valley; it would provide safer access, be less environmentally problematic, have adequate parking and appropriate supervision, and fit in with its surroundings.
Alisan Andrews, President
The Valley Women’s Club
Boulder Creek, CA
The San Lorenzo Valley Post accepts letters and commentaries from the SLV community as follows:
FOR PRINT: Letters should be no more than 250 words.
ONLINE: Letters or commentaries should be no longer than 800 words and may be edited for clarity.
Submissions are subject to approval based on relevance and the number of letters we have already received on a topic.
WHEN SUBMITTING: Include your full name, phone number, and address (we will print only name and town). If you are responding to an article or letter, please reference the title and date.
Felton Covered Bridge Park playground