Young people made themselves heard

Young people made themselves heard at the Pacifica City Council meeting on March 28, asking for a bike park at lower Frontierland Park.

Many students spoke at a hearing to approve a bike park for Pacifica. City Council unanimously approved the preliminary concept for a bike park at lower Frontierland Park at its March 28 meeting.

“Our goal is to build it with grant funds,” said Anthony Schriver, acting assistant recreation supervisor of the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Department. “There is not a piece of property that makes sense in the north. Pacifica’s greatest resource is its great outdoor spaces.”

The cost is $750,000 to $1,550,000 depending on the design.

At a recent goal setting session, City Council agreed to have a bike park study session to find potential locations, costs, operational concerns, legal issues and funding possibilities, said Schriver. The city engaged the Pacifica Bike Park Committee as well as residents in neighborhoods where a bike park may be located, he said.

The committee held that study session with the PB&R Commission, showing a preference for lower Frontierland Park, Schriver said. Commissioners wanted to hear more about community support regarding the preferred location, he said.

Committee members looked at other sites and highlighted three: Fairmont Park, the Sharp Park Rifle Range and lower Frontierland Park, Schriver said. Evaluations ultimately recommended lower Frontierland Park as their preferred location.

At Fairmont, there is limited unused space available, Schriver said. It’s close to houses, and any bike park development would  take away from existing park features. The rifle range is remote and not owned by Pacifica. San Francisco Parks and Recreation said it was contaminated by lead and remediation done to cap the land, Schriver said. The area is fenced off and public access prohibited in the area considered for the bike park, Schriver said.

At the February PB&R Commission meeting, PBPC presented progress on discussions with a nonprofit group with experience developing design, maintenance and fundraising to build a bike park, Schriver said.

Survey results taken by the committee showed more people said families would use the park if it was built at lower Frontierland Park, Schriver said. Some wanted the place to be left as is, environmentally intact, and had concerns about funding, liability, litter, and other worries, Schriver said.

The survey said 38 percent said they would definitely use the park and 78 percent said it would be a good thing, Schriver said.

Identifying a preliminary location will allow for fundraising and help with further feasibility studies, design and environmental studies, Schriver said.

There is an empty field there now and new parking. The police are there often on their rounds, Schriver said. There is an existing bathroom that can be revitalized; the infrastructure is good, Schriver said.

Many youth spoke at the City Council meeting.

“Approve the bike park,” said Peter Milch, who attends Ocean Shore School. “I want a better place to ride, and so does my family.”

Elizabeth Milch agreed and asked for a bike park so she can test out her skills.

Many more youth spoke to the great opportunity a bike park would provide so youth can get more exercise. One said he has to drive four hours to go to the bike park in Truckee.

“Bike parks are super important to get kids a place to go where the parents can be around,” said Aaron Reach.

But one resident of Yosemite Drive opposed it.

“My interest is as a neighbor,” said Catherine Wachtler. “Any changes PB&R proposes must align with citizens’ interest. That hasn’t happened. Study and develop a plan about what is the best use for lower Frontierland Park. It is used daily by many citizens, mostly by dog walkers. This will alter the use.”

Mayor Pro Tem Tygarjas Bigstyck said he was impressed by how many young people came to speak with them that evening.

“This is a far safer option than Boy Scout Trail. I am in support of this,” he said.

Councilmember Sue Beckmeyer said she was happy to support this project, but she hasn’t given up on the rifle range.

“I look forward to having two bike parks in Pacifica. This is a great place to start,” she said, to which the audience applauded.

This version corrects the spelling of Peter and Elizabeth Milch.

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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