A Bridge Over Peaceful Waters

As the clock struck twelve noon Thursday September 13, First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, along with a contingent of Montecito Union School students and other dignitaries, cut the ribbon on the new pedestrian bridge crossing Oak Creek at Santa Rosa Lane. A combination of pressure from directors of the Montecito Association, the Safe Routes to School committee, Montecito Y, MUS parents and faculty, a smattering of Measure D funds, and careful shepherding of the initial project by former First District Supervisor Naomi Schwartz, Montecito Union students can now safely negotiate Santa Rosa Lane.

Before construction of the temporary bridge that had been up for the past three years, there was no pedestrian walkway across the narrow roadway just east of San Ysidro Road. Thanks to Ms Schwartz’s initial impetus, and Mr. Carbajal’s pursuant attention to the project, a handsome new walkway now runs parallel to the vehicle crossing, effectively separating pedestrians, bicyclists, strollers, runners, and others from nearby vehicular traffic.

Several speeches preceded the ribbon cutting. Supervisor Carbajal introduced former-supervisor Schwartz, who had initiated the project in the summer of 2004 by finding funding for a temporary bridge that fall. Mr. Carbajal praised the collective efforts of all that addressed the danger of the narrow bridge that students had been forced to use previously.

Both safety and aesthetics were paramount in the design and construction of the new bridge, and Ms Schwartz pointedly complimented Public Works for its efforts in those regards. The new bridge fits right into its surroundings; it is constructed of rust-colored metal supported by stone-faced piers and has a wooden walkway.

Supervisor Carbajal said the County is aggressively pursuing implementation of further Safe Routes to Schools and Measure D projects. Scott McGolpin, director of Public Works, says the County has initiated an engineering study of both Montecito Union and Cold Spring Schools in terms of school zone safety.

Other speakers included Joan Price, representing the YMCA, and Elisa Atwill and Gene Sinser representing the Montecito Association.

Mr. Carbajal was escorted across the bridge by the group of students after the ribbon was cut. The YMCA offered refreshments at the end of the ceremony.