The Anaheim Outdoors Connectivity Plan (Plan) will encourage greater pedestrian and bicyclist activity via linkages between recreation areas throughout the City. These areas include parks, school sites, trails, open spaces, golf courses, equestrian facilities, recreation centers, and the Santa Ana River corridor.
The following topics describe ways to connect people with recreation in the City of Anaheim.
4.1 Expand River Trails
The Santa Ana River winds approximately 10.5 miles through the eastern part of Anaheim from Yorba Regional Park to just south of Anaheim Stadium. The Plan recommends not only increasing recreation and mobility opportunities along the Santa Ana River, but also contributing to the completion of the Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway.
Anaheim Coves, Anaheim
The City of Anaheim is a member of the Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway Partnership: three counties (Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties) and 14 cities, working with the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority and the Wildlands Conservancy, to complete the Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway. The Partnership has successfully obtained funding for trail construction and will coordinate for long-term trail management.
This regional facility will ultimately include over 100 miles of recreational trail extending along the Santa Ana River, from the San Bernardino Mountains to where the river meets the Pacific Ocean.
Cyclists on the Santa Ana River Trail
In the City of Anaheim there is currently existing paved trail along the river’s east bank through Anaheim extending to Featherly Park to the north, and ultimately 25 miles south to the Pacific Ocean at Huntington Beach. There is developed bicycle trail on the west bank of the river south of the Honda Center. The remaining west and north bank of the curving Santa Ana River from the Honda Center to the Imperial Highway bridge crossing has no riverside trail for public access.
The Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) land north of Lincoln Avenue could be improved as multiuse trails, similar to the recently developed Anaheim Coves along the OCWD’s Burris Basin between Lincoln and Ball Roads.
There is also an opportunity to implement a bike route across Ball Road in order to provide a continuous trail network connecting the San Gabriel River to the Santa Ana River. Utilizing Pacific Coast Highway, this loop would function as a River to River Bike Route, and provide a total of 43.5 miles of trail.
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4.2 Consider active and passive recreational opportunities in underutilized land areas where appropriate
In areas planned for dense development such as the Platinum Triangle, it is particularly important to create opportunities wherever possible that provide green space for outdoor enjoyment and relief from the paved, often noisy, urban world. Pocket parks can be a place to retreat and enjoy aspects of nature with plants, animals and sunlight. In addition a water feature or children’s play area can refresh spirits and provide a place to connect with others. A half-court basketball court on a small parcel in an industrial area can provide workers with an opportunity for a lunch time or after work pick-up game. A small parcel can be converted into a community garden for multi-story neighbors who have no soil of their own to tend.
Pick-up basketball game at Walnut Grove Park, Anaheim
Ponderosa Park Farmer’s Market, Anaheim
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4.3 Transform flood control channels into recreational and transportation corridors
There are a number of flood control channels that cross through Anaheim and could be cooperatively developed to provide more opportunities for people to get off the streets and enjoy walking and biking without conflicting vehicle traffic. These channels eventually tie into the river and could be fingers into the community that encourage access to the river trail. Often these channels pass near existing parks and schools and could provide another off-street bicycle route. Flood control remains the principal role of these channels but during non-flooding seasons the adjacent service roads could be improved to create multiuse pedestrian and bicycle trails that would better link the greater Anaheim community.
Parkway along the West San Gabriel River, Lakewood
Bike path along the Santa Ana River, Anaheim
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4.4 Encourage the creation of large and small parks for organized and non-organized sports
The ability for children and adults to have a place to run and play with unplanned abandon or with rules in an organized sport is a genuine recreation resource for any healthy community that promotes mental and physical health. Convenient practice fields for baseball, softball, soccer and football are particularly hard to find, so any increase in open turf areas would certainly benefit the community.
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4.5 Expand recreational uses within electric utility corridors
Utility corridors which cross the City provide a huge opportunity for cooperative development of recreational trails, exercise stations, soccer fields, park amenities, dog parks and/or habitat revegetation that can dramatically improve connectivity across the community.
Map of utility corridors, Anaheim
The primary role of these corridors is to carry high power transmission lines across the region. However, dual use of the corridor is very common and emphasis should be on those activities that best serve the community and could not be provided elsewhere.
Liberty Park in SCE easement, Cerritos
Recreational pedestrian trails and bike routes are the easiest to accommodate within the restrictions of the power companies. The City holds a franchise agreement with Southern California Edison (SCE) to provide a fifteen foot wide hiking and biking trail along the SCE corridor. These corridors could provide important connections across the City for pedestrians and bicycle riders of all skill levels.
Greenleaf Parkway in SCE easement, Compton
The Opportunity Sites described in Chapter 8 of this document include several potential projects within the SCE corridor. See Chapter 8 for more detailed information regarding: Energy Field Extension, South Corridor Greenbelt, West Corridor Greenbelt, and Cerritos Corridor Greenbelt.
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4.6 Enhance joint use agreements with school and water districts to expand existing recreational opportunities
There are nearly 100 school sites within the City of Anaheim. Many of these have open areas or are adjacent to parks or flood control channels that offer opportunities for expanded recreational facility development. Joint-use projects between the City and school districts have included field renovation, sports lighting, and play area upgrades on school sites for after-school public use.
Pioneer Park All-Star’s Complex, Anaheim
The City also has a joint-use space at the new Ponderosa Library. This 3,500 square foot School Library opened in 2012, and currently serves a student population of 1,083 during the day and the community after school and on weekends.
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4.7 Encourage aquatic recreation
There are many opportunities within the City of Anaheim to encourage aquatic recreation. The Santa Ana River is the largest body of water in the City, and some portions are suitable for kayaking and other water sports. Kayaking is currently provided via guided tour in the area of Featherly Regional Park, between the Gypsum Canyon and Yorba Linda bridges.
Kayaking the Santa Ana River (http://www.coastkeeper.org)
Fishing is a popular activity at the Santa Ana Lakes and could be enjoyed at other locations throughout the City. Kayak, fishing equipment, picnic pavilion and other types of rentals could benefit the OCWD as a source of income. The County has approved kayak use on the river.
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4.8 Promote organized sports
Working with Anaheim youth groups and sports organizations to incorporate their needs is an important part of the Plan. These groups should have the opportunity to stay and play in Anaheim for practices and games.
There are currently 49 parks and schools that are scheduled for sports each year in Anaheim. Many of these parks have more than one field in use, and all fields are used extensively year-round. The turf is often worn out from the wear and tear of repeated practices and games.
Fishing at the Santa Ana Lakes
For FY2012, 588 permits were issued to organizations for a total of more than 90,000 hours of use on sports fields. The City was unable to accommodate approximately 15% of the demand for use by either existing and/or new user groups.
The greatest need is for soccer fields. An estimated 6,500 soccer players from nine different youth and adult organizations utilize fields in the City of Anaheim.
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