By Andie Mills
The final outreach workshop to collect the community’s input regarding a new park at Crawford Canyon Road and Newport Avenue, Jan. 16, was a collaboration between OC Parks, OC Public Works and the public.
The currently unsightly triangular-shaped site is covered with debris and overgrown with weeds and trees. It offers design challenges, including a 60-foot easement, sewer, gas and power lines, and a significant 32-foot grade.
Travis Ebbert, a senior designer with OC Parks, presented two proposals for the 2.5-acre site, both incorporated playground equipment, trees and a natural setting requested by the public in a prior meeting and online survey.
The two maps were similar, with the exception of walkways that were straight in one concept and meandering in the other. A majority of neighbors and residents – many of whom plan to walk dogs or enjoy the pastoral respite -- preferred the winding paths that curved through the park, making a quarter-mile loop.
Many people voiced concerns about a lack of safety fencing, particularly along Newport. Both designs placed berms along Newport, which would not act as a sufficient barrier between the park and roadway. As resident Bret Nelson, a former Cub and Boy Scout leader put it, those would be “an attractive nuisance” for kids. They cited La Veta Park, with wrought iron fencing along the street, as a good safety example.
Neighbors were also concerned about park egress and ingress, for both vehicles and those on foot. There are existing sidewalks along a stretch of Crawford Canyon, but there is a long – and dangerous -- gap between nearby Panorama Elementary School and the park. Pedestrians would be forced to walk along the curved narrow roadside. At present, there is no entry from the east side of Crawford Canyon. Residents voiced concern, too, that pedestrians entering from the homes off Hyde Park may try to jay-walk across Newport instead of walking down the length of the park, to enter at the Crawford Canyon and Newport intersection. A crosswalk at Hyde Park was suggested.
The vehicle entrance is designed for ingress for autos southbound on Newport; vehicles would also exit, traveling south. Newport is a heavily traveled roadway, and concerns were raised regarding rapid acceleration and deceleration, U-turns or sudden left-hand turns (by vehicles traveling north) during fast and heavy traffic.
Area homeowners asked about adequate parking. They said the small private road off Crawford Canyon should not be opened to traffic or used for parking. They also prefer that neither Country Lane nor Country Haven become congested with parking. The group applauded the lack of bathrooms (no homeless) and barbecues (no odors), and security lighting that would not disturb neighboring homeowners or entice late-night partiers. Citizens were also happy with the proposed natural design elements, with native plants and mid-size trees offering shade near the play area.
The group suggested other amenities: more benches at the playground for parents; a long slide, handball courts; trash cans and doggie stations because, a resident noted, “there are more dogs than kids” on these streets; a drinking fountain; a control gate at the entrance to prohibit overnight parking. The collective voices suggested decomposed granite (DG) not be used, as it is dangerous for those on bikes and scooters.
Groundbreaking is not anticipated until 2021, with the opening slated for 2022. The county will receive $850,000, as part of the Clearwater at North Tustin Development Agreement.
Long-awaited Crawford Canyon Park is on the drawing board
The plans for Crawford Canyon Park in North Tustin include meandering trails and landscaping; parking and safety are public concerns.