When horseless, bike

Plans proceed for city-sanctioned BMX park

The former quarry that is currently the Deerfield BMX area
  • The former quarry that is currently the Deerfield BMX area

Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on August 18 voted unanimously in favor of developing a 12.5-acre bike-skills park in Mission Trails Regional Park, creating an adjacent 2-acre park, and upgrading the 4.3-mile portion of the San Diego River Park trail located in Mission Trails.

The family-friendly Deerfield Bike Skills Park would be located in a former quarry that is currently the Deerfield BMX area. It is located off Mission Gorge Road and is accessed by trails from Deerfield Circle or the park visitors' center on Jackson Drive. Project amenities could include "typical components of bike skills parks," a spectators’ overlook, picnic areas, and native landscaping, according to the planners’ agenda.

"I love this idea," said planning-group chair Matt Adams. "I would rather have [people] ride outside than play BMX [video games] inside."

Deerfield Canyon Nature Park would be located between Mission Gorge Road and the skills park. Amenities could include parking, picnic tables, a fitness course, and a "children's play area with natural-looking play structures," according to the agenda.

The San Diego River Park trail is planned to span from "Dog Beach [in Ocean Beach] to Julian," Jay Wilson told his colleagues. Wilson, regional park foundation executive director, said the river-park trail in Mission Trails would extend from Super Ready Mix (on the 7500 block of Mission Gorge Road) to the skills park. A pathway there would lead to and around the visitors' center. In addition, a trail would lead from Old Mission Dam into the grasslands. The Mission Trails portion of the trail ends there because the rest of the property is in the Tierrasanta planning-group area, said Wilson.

Navajo Planners represent Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, Grantville, and San Carlos. Their vote added the projects to the Navajo Community Plan. The vote also endorsed the proposals as "park equivalencies," a City of San Diego method of meeting community recreation needs. That recommendation will be sent to the park Citizens Advisory Committee. The committee votes September 2 on whether to classify the projects as "equivalencies."

Wilson said the project costs weren't known, and a portion of development-impact fees could be used for the projects. He also referred to efforts by the San Diego Mountain Bike Association, a group that will ask the advisory committee on September 2 to approve funding for the skills park.

Ben Stone, a 28-year-old Linda Vista resident serving on the association's advocacy committee, posted a petition with that request.

"We want to build something amazing," Stone said in an August 19 interview. He said a first-class park could be built on the site, a facility for riders ranging from six-year-olds to adults. Embedded in Stone's petition is a video showing cyclists on an association course during Explore Mission Trails Day. "Some kids never rode bikes before," and parents said they wanted a safe place to teach children to ride.

Stone said he posted the petition about two and a half weeks ago. (The petition had 462 supporters on August 22.)

An example of a track finished by Schneider Grading

An example of a track finished by Schneider Grading

The mountain-bike association would work to get local and state funding and has a pledge from Schneider Grading & Excavating, a business that builds tracks. At Mission Trails, Stone said a soil stabilizer that "is pretty close to Elmer's glue and is similar to concrete" would be used to bind dirt.

Stone said a skills park is in the Mission Trails master plan, which is undergoing an update. In addition to the committee vote, the proposals go to the park task force and the city council. "It's a long haul," he said. "There are all these places for equestrians, but [many people] don't have a horse in the backyard. We have bikes."

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