Jeffrey Trails heads to the beach

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Mei Ono

A Love for Trails: Outdoor enthusiasts can now access the beach more easily than ever.

Karen Wang, Staff Writer

The Jeffrey Open Space Trail will expand by 1.5 miles, connecting to the Crystal Cove State Park through a new bridge and the incorporation of existing pedestrian trails.
The current 3.5-mile trail runs parallel to Jeffrey Road among neighborhoods, shopping plazas and additional trails, connecting the various open spaces of Irvine. Irvine native and California State Senator Dave Min successfully secured the necessary state budget allocation of $14.5 million for the overall expansion. Approximately $3.4 million of the grant will be dedicated to resolving a significant gap in the trail between Barranca Parkway and Interstate 5 with a 15-foot wide, 1200-foot long overpass. Min cites the new reforms as one that “brings our community together.”
“Getting across I-5 is tough without a car, so this is going to allow tons of foot and bike traffic to go from North to South,” Min said in a press conference on August 11. “We hope that this is something that will allow people of different demographics to visit Irvine and the great outdoors we offer.”
Northwood students utilize the Jeffrey Open Space Trail for convenient walks and bike rides to school daily. With the new bridge unifying Irvine with the coastline, students will be able to skip the traffic on weekend getaways to the beach.
“Finding parking is already difficult on top of the tons of traffic I’ve experienced driving to the beaches,” junior Kate Won said. “It’s a great idea for the trail to connect all the way to the beach so that people can have other options of transportation.”
Outdoor enthusiasts are already expressing their excitement. Bill Sellin, a member of the Bicycle Club of Irvine, emphasizes how the expansion will also provide more safety for the pedestrians and cyclists of Orange County.
“Once this bridge is in place, cyclists can ride without having much interaction with street traffic all the way to UC Irvine,” Sellin said. “Most cities never dream of getting funding like this. In most cities, freeways divide us. This will connect us.”
Although the trail is not expected to be completed until the summer of 2024, construction begins as soon as next summer.