Food and Fun Rank High Among River Supporters

San Lorenzo River Alliance, Coastal Watershed Council

by Traci Hukill

Jan. 16, 2014—And the winners of the straw poll survey of what folks want on the new and improved San Lorenzo River are: recreational access close to the rivermouth, food trucks and restaurants between the Water and Laurel street bridges, and interpretive signage between the Water Street Bridge and Highway 1.

OK, "straw poll" is taking liberties; "post-it poll" is more accurate. But at last week's launch of the San Lorenzo River Alliance at Hotel Paradox, the mapping exercise (people wrote suggestions on pink sticky notes and affixed them to maps showing three segments of the river) did have the feel of an early poll: it was a select group of believers, it took place very early in what is sure to be a long process, and the results are not binding but merely indicative.

Other high-scoring suggestions included "boat or SUP launch," "riverside businesses" and "picnic tables."

The results certainly validate the Coastal Watershed Council's San Lorenzo River Paddle Day in October, during which city rules prohibiting floating on the river were lifted for a day to allow a sold-out crowd of 50 to ply kayaks and SUPs up the waterway. In November, the Santa Cruz City Council directed city staff to take another look at the ordinance barring such recreation.

Read about the paddle day on the San Lorenzo River.

In related news, on Monday the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Committee approved a recommendation to change the current name of "San Lorenzo Riverway" to the "San Lorenzo Riverwalk," lending a civilized touch to the river, at least in its nomenclature. Some Hilltromper Facebook friends noted that this doesn't sound especially welcoming to bikes, but we trust two wheels will be as welcome as two legs on the levee. Next the name change goes before City Council.

Stay tuned for more news from the SLRA, which appears to be off to a good start.