Skip to main content

Our Community Focus

November Walnut Creek Mayor's Message

Nov 03, 2015 03:54PM ● By Bob Simmons

Walnut Creek Mayor, Bob Simmons

Recently, it was stated that Walnut Creek has more miles of trails per capita than any city in Contra Costa County.  I can’t verify that statistic, but it sounds right.  In addition to about 100 miles of named trails in our open space areas, there are several regional trails that go through our city.  They are the Iron Horse Trail, the Contra Costa Canal Trail, the Briones-Mt. Diablo Trail and the Ygnacio Canal Trail.  Then, there are some local trails, such as the Sugarloaf-Shell Ridge Trail and the Shell Ridge-Lime Ridge Trail.  When combined with our great weather and our very walkable downtown, Walnut Creek truly is a walker’s paradise. 

The city continues to work on making walking safer, particularly near schools. This year, significant enhancements near the Buena Vista School were completed, and the city is working with the county and the City of Lafayette on extending the Lafayette-Moraga Trail to the Iron Horse Trail. The Pedestrian Master Plan is in the works, with the intent to make walking in downtown Walnut Creek even safer.

Over the last year, I have led a monthly mayor’s walk. As with my first time as mayor in 2012, I wanted to highlight how very walkable our community is and to encourage people to walk. Walking is one of the keys to leading a healthy and active life.

The first was a four-mile walk in downtown Walnut Creek and we visited many of the residential construction sites that had raised a lot of concern in our community.  Some of those projects are now done, and a couple of others are nearing completion.  There was a lot of public interest, which is a very positive thing, so we did that walk twice in the same day.   

Several of the walks, including the last one in October, visited parts of our marvelous open space areas.  Most of those included a portion of a nearby residential area.  In one of the open space walks, we visited the Concrete Arrows, a remnant of a nationwide construction project from the 1920s for lighting a path for airplanes to deliver mail from coast to coast. In another, we visited a labyrinth and went through two tunnels under Ygnacio Valley Road.

We also walked between Sugarloaf and Shell Ridge Open Space areas and helped dedicate the new pickleball courts in Rudgear Park. One walk was along Geary Road west of Buena Vista to highlight the nearly completed reconstruction of Geary Road.  This was the final action in a 30-year effort to make traffic flow more easily by dedicating a center lane for left turns only and to make it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

Over 400 people have joined me, and we have walked almost 50 miles together.  The most populous was the walk into the Saranap area, when we had more than 130 people with us. I am sometimes asked which walk I enjoyed the most.  My answer is usually the same: whatever walk I am taking.