A controversy over a proposed bike trail in north Santa Ana continues to simmer as the city prepares to open its master transportation plan to public comment.
Residents of neighborhoods in Santa Ana and Orange that border Santiago Creek have been hotly debating the idea of extending the bike trail for another mile along the creek.
Trail opponents, many of whom live in homes that border the creek, contend that the extension could affect property values, increase crime, create noise and require the city to seize property through eminent domain.
Proponents, however, assert that crime would actually decrease and describe this section as the "missing link" that would connect an existing trail along the rest of Santiago Creek to the Santa Ana River trail.
Santa Ana's overall transportation plan, which includes bike trails, is being updated this year for the first time in more than a decade, according to city Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director Gerardo Mouet. Any bike path through Santiago Creek must be included in the plan, Mouet said recently.
At two public meetings scheduled next week, the city has asked residents to "share your ideas and suggestions" on traffic congestion, bike paths, pedestrian paths and street safety.
Over the coming months, city staff will propose an update to the plan, which includes roads, public transit, railroads, pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths. The prosal will be submitted to the City Council for approval.
The first "open house" meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 4 to 7 p.m at the Santa Ana Senior Center, 424 W. 3rd St.
The second meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon at Southwest Senior Center, 2201 W. McFadden Ave.