Letters to the Editor

Open letter to CSD board

By From page A5 | August 23, 2017

EDITOR:

Noelle Mattock, Ben Paulsen and Allan Priest:

On Aug. 10 you voted to proceed with the El Dorado Hills Community Services District’s plans to allow a mountain bike trail in the southern half of New York Creek. This area was deeded to CSD 30 years ago after CSD publicly promised to preserve this area as a pedestrian-only nature preserve.

This year the CSD held a six-month stakeholder process on this issue only after overwhelming objection to its ill-conceived plan to force through a previously undisclosed multi-use alteration of the nature path. The stakeholder process confirmed majority support to keep this are pedestrian only. The CSD received hundreds of emails and letters from residents with 85 percent in support of keeping this area pedestrian-only. In an internet survey, 73 percent of respondents did not support alterations to allow mountain bikes in this area.

The decision made by you to turn your backs on an overwhelming majority of affected residents in favor of a very small minority of mountain biking advocates — many of which don’t even live in EDH — is the worst form of local government. CSD General Manager Kevin Loewen went through extreme steps to find out what the majority of concerned EDH residents wanted and presented the results to you in his recommendation. You then proceeded to concentrate on a compromise, which was supported by a small minority of mountain biking advocates that did not come close to the overwhelming response in favor of a strictly pedestrian nature path, as it has been for 30 years.

Your decision is shameless and unresponsive to the desires of the community. You are encouraging a small minority to violate the laws of the community. It is reprehensible for local government to encourage people to disregard the law and sets a very poor example for our children. I am fully aware that some of you have communicated your support with the mountain biking community in favor of legalizing mountain bikes and have also admitted riding your bikes on the nature path in violation of existing policy.

I thought I would be writing an email commending you on responsible local government. Unfortunately you did not respond to the clear majority, leading us into an entangled situation that will be long and divisive. You, as elected directors, are now in the spotlight and have placed your already damaged community respect at risk of much further damage.

The majority of residents have for the most part conducted themselves in a congenial and respectful manner for which you seem to have no regard.  I encourage you to reconsider your vote out of respect to the community and to make your decisions based upon the majority of community opinion, not upon your own personal interest and secretive involvement with special interest mountain biking groups.

GAVIN WASHBURN
El Dorado Hills

Letter to the Editor

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Discussion | 10 comments

  • Shannon McCormickAugust 23, 2017 - 9:26 am

    As a resident in this community, I find this misleading. I am one of the residents who fully supports multi-year access. I believe that most of the community didn't even know about this so called controversy. I only found out about this from someone at work in Folsom! I live on Busselton Way, yet I didn't see one notice given out about public meetings and forums. Most of my neighbors also had no clue this was happening. I have a 3 year old and a 6 year old who I USED to take on this trail. I don't feel it is safe for my 3 year old to ride her bike in the neighborhood without sidewalks, so I used the trail as a safe alternative. Now I don't even want any part of this trail. Before you op ed to the village life quoting that you are representing fellow residents, why don't you actually come talk to us fellow residents.

    Reply
  • Lisa NeauAugust 23, 2017 - 4:35 pm

    thank you! well said!!

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  • KevinAugust 23, 2017 - 10:36 am

    "Pedestrian Only" means no dogs, right?

    Reply
  • Mark AllenAugust 23, 2017 - 11:05 am

    Hundreds of e-mails? Letters? Small majority of biking advocates? Many of which don’t even live in EDH? The majority of residents have conducted themselves in a congenial and respectful manner? With all due respect, how do you know how many e-mails are letters were sent? Do you work for the CSD? Did you see ALL the letters sent? How do you know there were a small majority of biking advocates? As Shannon McCormick properly states these meetings were not well publicized. From my perspective, as a biking advocate, I believe a majority of the community supports multi-use trails, as evidenced from the El Dorado Hills Community Services District Master Plan 2015 – 2016 study on what our community wants: (http://www.eldoradohillscsd.org/parks-facilities/mpu15.html) – “As was clearly identified by participants in the surveys, trails and bikeways once again ranked at the top as the most important recreational development need for the CSD to focus upon in future planning and capital improvements. “ I find it interesting you state that many bikers don’t even live in EDH? How do you know this? Have you taken a survey? I know for a fact that is not true. I live along the trail and frequently see local residents. I even ride the trail and do so with local residents. Two people from Folsom attended our meetings. Is this indicative of “many” non-residents using our trail? And even if they are, why not? This community is not for strict “local” use only. How self-serving, unwelcoming, is that? What if Folsom residents didn't want us using their Parkway trails? While you may have been a resident of El Dorado Hills for quite some time, you have only recently become a neighbor that lives across the street from the trail, at which point this became an issue for you. The same goes with the organizer of the “Friends of New York Creek Trail”. As a long-time resident of Fairchild Village, I recommend you take note of how welcoming and inclusive your neighbors are. We’ve all used the trail as multi-use for 20+ years without issue. Sure there are the 1% that are not respectful or safe…but that goes anywhere there are human interactions. I laugh at the thought of anti-bike advocates being congenial and respectful. You’ve taken my son away from his activities and FORCED him to read aloud the rules about bikes. He was outside playing instead of being camped out on the couch playing with his iPhone. He was not causing any damage, either. He was recreating on our wonderful trails. Furthermore, folks grabbing bicyclist’s handle bars and telling them bikes are not allowed is not congenial or respectful. Going door to door and interrogating minors on what they may or may not have in their backyards is not congenial and respectful. Quite honestly, you are full of crap and very disrespectful. Mountain bikers are much more respectful and congenial than you and your friends. While I don’t like the CSD ruling, I do think it was the best solution. It allows for kids to safely ride their bikes to the CSD and Oakridge high school. It is a compromise, which does not please everyone, but also gives something to everyone. Lastly, non-mountain bikers just do not understand the sport. Mountain bikers do not ride on roads because they are dangerous. Texting, talking to people on their cell phones, speeding…all unsafe practices which put road bikers at great risk. Also, fire roads do not offer the challenge of riding a single-track trail. Thus, our insistence on using single track trails. Lastly, New York Creed Trail is not something that is ridden as a trail in and of itself. It is an access trail to the other trails in our community. Gavin, and “Friends of New York Creek Trail”, get a life. Most of you just moved into Fairchild in the last few years. Don’t come into our neighborhoods and start taking things away. Make friends and understand your neighbors. Sincerely, Mark Allen

    Reply
  • Karen RuddyAugust 23, 2017 - 11:39 am

    Awesome Mark Allen! Excellent analysis and arguments made. I am disappointed that Mr. Washburn, whose wife taught my child in kindergarten, doesn't understand how to play nice with others or the concept of sharing. Both basic kindergarten lessons.

    Reply
  • Lisa NeauAugust 23, 2017 - 4:40 pm

    Thank you Mark Allen! As one of those homeowners whose house backs up to NYC trail I have never seen any issues. I called Kevin Loewen a few times to voice my support of multi-use trails. They are SAFE not only for those who ride mountain bikes but for children as well. For the life of me I don't know who this "majority" of people is that oppose multi-use... everyone I know - who live in EDH - see this as a COMMUNITY RESOURCE to be used by all... by "protesting" against the proposed improvements those who "protested" only created an unsafe situation. And odds are they don't walk or ride the trail anyways... to use their logic then no pedestrians should be allowed to walk on the Class 1 BIKE TRAIL that goes down EHD Blvd as funds for a bike path were used for that trail. How ridiculous is THAT??? Common sense seems to have been lost while LOADS of folks didn't even know this was happening...

    Reply
  • Charlie KAugust 23, 2017 - 5:47 pm

    Totally agree with these common sense replies. If you go by the comments it outweighs the emails. This out of touch crowd made an email campaign that those of us with lives are too busy with families and time after work on the trails to send emails. Trail access was one if not the top CSD survey interest and this is the outcome. Sad time for most of us. This angry guy and his cronies are the disgrace, but the CSD should have never let it get to this point. It was a no win situation, now they have taken away a local perk, and caused a lot of animosity mostly from this anti-multi sharing crowd. Those of us who try to stay healthy as we age now have to deal with being frowned upon as we respectfully ride by. I will continue teaching my kids to ride responsibly and be courteous on this trail and others, but also ignore this ignorant crowd.

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  • Scott BlevinsAugust 23, 2017 - 5:52 pm

    The vocal minority were those who can't share the trail and thought their off leash dogs (yes, people even had dogs off leash when we walked the trail as a community to review the proposed maintenance) and a compromise was struck that can't possibly make everyone happy. At least it least tries to balance the needs and wants of the community. Shame on you Gavin for mischaracterizing the mountain bikers "who don't even live here". We live in Fairchild village, my kids went to Jackson and go to Oak Ridge. My son can't drive as he has epilepsy so he bikes and rides the trail to school because dodging traffic on a bike is even scarier on Silva Valley than Eric's poor anxious dog Scooby must feel when a bike passes. How about this, you speak for yourself as a single resident and let others speak for themselves. I'm saddened by the fact that students who live farther away from Oak Ridge have to dodge traffic still and that kids going to Jackson don't have a bike option that doesn't involve riding through residential areas (without sidewalks) but more than anything else, I'm ashamed at the "outrage" of those who don't seem to understand that a trail connected community is healthier and more active. We all have our preferences here and you are entitled to them, but I'd prefer you stick to the facts and not presume to speak for your neighbors.

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  • Jennifer AllenAugust 24, 2017 - 12:03 pm

    Eric and Gavin, I think the other comments have covered most of what I was thinking. There are a few things I would like to add. Often when we are unhappy with a decision it is because we cannot see things from anyone else's perspective. With that in mind, I would like to challenge you to look at things from the perspective of an outdoor enthusiast. I challenge you and Eric and all the other people who are against the New York Creek Trail being open to bikes to get on a bike and ride on Silva Valley. Maybe after that experience you will understand why so many people choose to mountain bike or simply allow their children to use a safe trail vs the dangerous street to ride their bikes. If that is too far fetched because you can't imagine riding a bike, then I challenge you to go to the Parkway Trail System in Folsom on a weekday morning. Perhaps your observation will help you understand how people can coexist. I was there today. What I witnessed is something I don't know if you can comprehend. There were runners, cyclists, walkers, dog walkers, and moms pushing strollers. Guess what? We all shared the trail without a single incident. Let me repeat that. There were multiple activities on the same trail and there wasn't a single problem. These trails bump up against backyards just like the NY Creek Trail does. However, the trail system is very public. It is welcoming and there is a good sense of community. Another point I feel strongly about is the fact that Fairchild Village has been a welcoming neighborhood until recently. Our family has lived here for over 15 years. We have always known this neighborhood to be a welcoming, family friendly neighborhood full of outdoor enthusiasts. We have also used New York Creek Trail on foot and on bike for those 15 years without a single incident until the two of you moved into the neighborhood. Perhaps a neighborhood at an active adult community would be a better fit for you. If active families with active children are a threat to you, maybe you didn't choose the right neighborhood to live in. In my opinion, you are lacking simple skills that are necessary to coexisting. Lastly, I want to make something very clear. My children are minors. You do not have permission to take pictures of them (Shame on you, Eric), nor do you have permission to bully them like in the past (Shame on you, Gavin). They only listened respectfully to you because that is how they were raised. However, they have been instructed to ignore you. If you have a problem with how they are behaving, you can come discuss it with us. And, you most definitely do not have permission to lay your hands on our children or their property (like a recent incident).

    Reply
  • Jennifer CAugust 31, 2017 - 4:27 pm

    I feel like I have been misled by those that are opposed to the multi-use of the New York Creek trail. I was given false facts that persuaded my vote to keep it pedestrian-only. I was led to believe that the trail would be paved 4 feet wide across from the bridge to St. Andrew's which is completely untrue! I want to change my vote to multi-use. The mountain bikers and students riding safely to school should be able to use the trial. I have lived here for 13 years and use the trail daily. We have co-existed with bikers, dog walkers, walkers without incident. I wonder what the true reason was behind this opposition? Bored and angry men whose time could be better spent helping and volunteering instead of stiring the pot!

    Reply

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