Monday, November 24, 2014 • 04:30
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Bike track proposed next to Cole Grade Park



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The addition of a bicycle pump track to the Parks and Recreation District would offer a public space for beginning and accomplished bikers alike.
March 26, 2014
Valley Center may soon be home to the only public bicycle track in San Diego County.

At the regular meeting of the Valley Center Parks and Recreation board on March 19, Minette Ozaki from the San Diego Mountain Bike Association presented plans for a pump track in the vacant lot next to Cole Grade Park.

"It's the perfect area for us," said Ozaki. "We're thrilled to have the opportunity to provide a bicycle-specific facility in Valley Center. These things are becoming more popular all around, but there is not a single bike park that is public in San Diego yet. You would be the first, and it would be really exciting to the bicycling community."

A pump track is a relatively low-impact bike loop made of dirt berms and rollers, or smooth dirt mounds. The name comes from the fact that riders "pump" to get around the track's miniature hills, rather than pedal. Steve Ford, who designed the track proposal with Gravity Cycling Inc., explained how the track is perfect for families.

"This is a pump track. This is very different from a BMX track or any kind of thing where people are jumping through the air," said Ford. "Anybody that knows how to ride a bicycle can roll across this. It's great for teaching kids how to control their bikes in a safe area."

The proposed site sits on 1.5 acres next to the softball field at Cole Grade Park. The pump track itself would be around 120 x 185 ft. The site is already fenced and has been disrupted previously by construction, so there would be little environmental impact, according to Doug Johnsen, general manager for VCPRD.

Ozaki assured the board that the Mountain Bike Association would take full responsibility for the labor and finances necessary to construct the park and maintain it. Contests, skills clinics, races, and other fun events could easily be hosted at the site in the future.

"I just think it would be a big addition to our Parks and Rec and our community," said President Marcia Townsend.

Before making an official motion on the pump track, the board requested that the pump track coordinators form a Valley Center-based board, work out some more logistical details, and acquire their own insurance policy.

"I'm all for it, but not if we have to take all the liability on it," said Director John Scibilia. Ford and Ozaki will return with a more formal proposal for the pump track at the April board meeting.

Also from the meeting, VCPRD has received nearly 200 surveys relating to increased funding for the district, still 100 shy of the 300 mark they're aiming for. Based on the results of the survey, the board will decide whether or not to push for a ballot initiative.

"Time is running out for the November ballot," said Director Larry Glavinic. "One of the key questions is how much would you be willing to assess per year? What's it worth to them? We're looking for that number — is it coming back $20 or 10 or 25? We have no idea right now."

The survey is available online at www.valleycenterparks.com.

The district will also be drafting a proposal to purchase land for a new park sandwiched between Vesper and Valley Center roads west of Mactan Road. Pending county approval and the property owner's response, there may soon be 15 acres more park space in the district, with an option of more to come.

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