TRAILBEAR ON THE WHITTIER GREENWAY TRAIL – THE GREENWAY IN MOTION TRAIL
Another sunny Saturday; another TrailBear trail survey. At dawn the TrailBear was loaded for the LA River Bikeway, but the news was telling of 100,000 folks expected to hold a protest rally in Los Angeles that very day. Given that information, wild horses could not get TB to go in that direction.
Quick, check the project list. Both Coyote Creek and the Whittier Greenway are down for a facilities survey, pix and review. Easy choice: print out Google Earth maps for the Whittier Greenway. Poor Coyote Creek; it don’t get no respect. Someday it’s survey will come, but not today.
THE WHITTIER GREENWAY TRAIL – STATS AND SUCH…
The WGT is a new 4.7 mile multipurpose trail built on an old rail line – once the Los Angeles and Salt Lake road, later the Union Pacific. It was started in 2002 and finished in 2008. The surface is blacktop. There is a pair of bike lanes plus a ped lane which is variously DG (decomposed granite) or blacktop. You are riding on about $11,000,000 worth of trail, which nets out to about 2.3 mil per mile, out the door.
There is not much elevation change. The GPS logged 79’ of ascent and 74’ of descent. The ride time was 40 minutes out and back with 32 minutes of stopped time. Max speed: 15.6 mph. Average speed: 7.1 mph.
The WGT is not a fast trail. There are twelve on-grade crossings and two grade separated crossings. One roadie with a jersey was spotted – heading in the direction of the San Gabriel River Trail, where you can make time and cover miles. The majority of users are walkers – fitness walkers, dog walkers, pram pushers, runners, families on bikes, cruising bikies and such.
The fun of trail survey is finding new and delightful things. You never know what is around the next bend; you’ve never been there before. The WGT has two fine features: excellent landscaping and wind sculpture - three delightful groupings of mobiles. The whole trail is landscaped with trees, bushes and banks of flowers. At Palm Park, the Five Points Bridge and Trail End South there are groups of mobiles for your enjoyment. This is one trail you might like to ride on a windy day.
SCENERY = 5* Excellent landscaping and delightful mobiles. When the trees mature, this will be well shaded in summer. Whittier shows what you can do with an urban Right of Way.
TRAIL = 5* Smooth blacktop. Some cracks are appearing, so we shall see.
FACILITIES = 3* Limited. One trailhead: Palm Park. Two access points. No water on the trail.
RIDE IT AGAIN? Sure would. This is a great trail for families and kids. TrailBear might just leave van and wife at the antique mall at Citrus Station. On the other hand, that may be a really Bad Career Move.
The WGT could use a bunch of benches. There are two “stations” (Citrus and Sycamore) which are informational waysides where benches and water would be obvious improvements. However, you can find services along the route. Trust TrailBear to notice the Mother Made Donut Shop adjacent to the trail. However, his first stop was at …
PALM PARK, 223’, GE: N33.99092 W118.05607
5703 Palm Avenue, Whittier, CA 90601
Palm Park is the trailhead. There are no others. There are formal two access points with on-street parking. Beyond that, you work it out for yourself. The park is reached through a neighborhood of well-maintained late ‘40s homes. Not a McMansion in the lot. Larry Haun recounted his brother buying a similar home - $9,000 and monthly payments of $65. Things have changed – and not for the better.
The trail bisects the park. There are two parking lots – one by the pool and tennis courts land one at the western end, serving the picnic grounds and softball field. The best open restrooms, with water hidden around the back of the building – were at the tennis courts. There is another restroom at the softball field and doubtless yet another in the pool building (closed weekends). The ONLY restrooms and water on the trail are at Palm Court.
Let’s saddle up and head for the upper trail end at mile post 0.0 on Pioneer Blvd.
TRAIL END NORTH, 206’, GE: N33.99877 W118.06619
Pioneer Blvd. is the upper end of the trail. Here a handsome mile post reads 0 miles. Across the street the Right of Way continues – beyond that ornamental fence and behind that chain line gate further on. It would be nice if they could run the trail over to meet the San Gabriel River Trail half a mile further on. There is a RR bridge over the 605 Freeway.
Until they can, we are heading down the trail. There is public access parking on Lorene St., 0.2 mile down trail and one of the two grade-separated crossing 0.5 miles down at Norwalk Blvd. In 0.8 miles, we are back at Palm Park. The trail is well marked and signed. There are mileage marks on the trail every 0.1 miles. From Palm Park we encounter the first on-street crossing a mere 0.1 miles onward.
There are at least twelve on-street crossings and they vary a bit. This one featured a four way set of stop signs. Others have the common cross walks with ped crossing lights. Others have stop signs for the trail users and no stop for the cars. Keep your wits about you and don’t assume. That way leads to road kill.
When you cross Hadley St., 1.5 miles down trail, you leave the ‘hood and enter a commercial/light industrial area. Ahead, just beyond the Penn St. crossing is …
THE CITRUS STATION WAYSIDE, 232’, GE: N33.97522 W118.04514
Here, in the heart of the old citrus packing district is Citrus Station – an informational wayside devoted to the citrus industry of the 19th and 20th century. Right across the trail is the historic old Whittier Citrus Association packing house, circa 1902. It is now the home of King Richard’s Antique Center. The Ironworks store is the former building #4 of the packing house complex. The orange groves have all sprouted houses, so continue down trail 0.4 miles to…
SYCAMORE STATION WAYSIDE, 208’, GE: N33.96984 W118.04270
You can’t run a citrus business without rail service. In those days, if you didn’t have rail service to move the fruit to market in time, you didn’t grow fruit in that area. Sycamore Station wayside tells of the rail road days in Whittier. Those days have all gone by, done in by the auto and the freeway, but their remains survive. Ahead is one repurposed remnant, the…
FIVE POINTS BRIDGE AND THE FIVE MOBILES, 216’, GE: N33.96846 W118.04178
The Five Points Bridge rises above one of those Intersections from Hell, where five roads meet at all angles. The French would put in a traffic circle here and let the motorists fight it out. There are really two bridges. The first is a modern one of rusted steel (the Look) over Pickering Ave., then the RR bridge over Whittier Blvd.
On the embankment between the two are the five mobiles or “wind sculpture”. They are a delight. Too bad there is not a Wind Sculpture Station here with viewing benches. TB could watch those things for hours. There are flood lights on the embankment, so on a windy night this might be an interesting place to go wind watching. But enough art appreciation. Saddle up and head off the backside of the bridge. This must be where the TrailBear hit 15 mph.
Ahead the trail is back in another ‘hood with more street crossings and a unique landscaping find at Calmada Ave – a genuine mature Cellus toweritus var. sempervirens, more commonly known as the …
CELL TOWER TREE, 175’, GE: N33.95220 W118.02886
This is an unusually good mature specimen of Cellus toweritus. TrailBear blew right by it on the trip down. Just another tree; keep pedaling. On the way back, with the tree dead ahead, he noticed a few more details – the lush foliage with hints of fruiting antennas high in the tree, the seam in the trunk (growth ring), the tree rooted in concrete with 2” bolts, the electrical panels. TrailBear knows his trees. Sequoia sempervirens does not come with hold down bolts and does not like hot, dry near deserts.
Wait a minute! It’s a cell tower tree. It’s a really good tree. You have to look hard to find the antennas. Hint – top of the tree, sticking up, not out. Those leafy things are the antennas. But enough tree hugging. Ahead is one final long reach down to the …
WIND GARDEN AT TRAIL’S END, 189’, GE: N33.94673 W118.02043
What a nice way to end a trail – the trails spread apart for a median strip with three wind sculptures and plantings just before trail’s end. It was a fun ride, but now it’s over. They hope to continue the trail, so stay tuned. The unused Right of Way beckons from beyond Mills Ave. Palm Park beckons at the other end. TrailBear bring the Gutterbunny about and heads up trail.
Putting the icons on the map.