Smyth pedals bike-path bill

Cameron Smyth News

Local bicycle paths could get “legacy” designation from the state if a bill proposed by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth is successful.

The bill calls for cities and counties to work with Caltrans to develop a list of “legacy cycling trails,” including routes of scenic significance, established training or race routes, or those with historic significance such as legs of the Amgen Tour of California.

Assembly Bill 1464 has moved to the Assembly’s appropriations committee, where it will spend the next few months under discussion, said Smyth, R-Santa Clarita.

Smyth talked about his bill Friday during a news conference next to the bicycle path that runs along the Santa Clara River near the intersection of Soledad and Bouquet Canyon roads.

He said bicycle sales bring upwards of $1 billion into the state economy every year.

Smyth estimated the price tag for the program would be low, likely under $1 million.

Maintenance and upkeep of trails would still fall to local municipalities, said Mike Murphy, Santa Clarita’s intergovernmental relations officer.

The upshot of legacy designation, he said, is that it could one day provide additional dollars.

“Down the road, it could create some funding opportunities we don’t see today,” he said. “Who knows where it’s going to lead?”

Smyth was joined by City Councilwoman Laurene Weste and Larry Mankin, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“This is a huge economic benefit for our state,” Weste said. “It promotes everything that’s good about California and the city of Santa Clarita.”

Weste said she would like to see cities in Ventura County join a move to extend a bike path along the Santa Clara River all the way to the Pacific coast.

Locally, her hope is to see the path along the Santa Clara extended a few miles to the northeast to connect with the Pacific Crest Trail.