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Orange Coast College previews campus bike loop

Orange Coast College unveiled a new bicycle loop Thursday amid the annual Green Coast Day, the Costa Mesa campus’s celebration to promote sustainable living.

Existing bike paths were marked with chalk lines to divide traffic. Temporary signs reminded bicyclists and skateboarders to yield at pedestrian crossings and dismount in high-traffic areas.

College officials said they will gauge the community’s response to the new signage over the next month. If the bike loop improves traffic flow, the facilities staff will install permanent aluminum signs and paint blue and orange lines down the middle of the bike loop.

Marc Perkins, a biology instructor and Green Coast Day organizer, said the Orange Coast College bicycle and skateboard master plan was approved last year to help make the campus better for bicyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians.

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“Right now, it’s unclear where you should go as a bicyclist, and there’s a lot of pathways that are too narrow and get into pinch points that are unsafe,” Perkins said. “What we’re going to do is create a ‘core campus loop,’ which is a set of pathways that are all fairly wide and which are going to help direct people around the core of campus.”

He added that every building on campus is within 100 yards of the bike loop.

College spokesman Juan Gutierrez said administrators expect the project’s cost to be nominal because OCC employees will do the work.

Rick Huffman, a member of the Costa Mesa Bikeway & Walkability Committee, staffed a table at the college Art Center to inform people about the city’s plan to transform Merrimac Way, which runs along the southern edge of Orange Coast College.

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If approved by the City Council, the project would narrow Merrimac from four lanes to two and add a protected bike line in each direction. Huffman said the goal is to slow traffic on a road used primarily by OCC students and employees.

“It’s a perfect candidate for creating a safe bikeway for students at Orange Coast College and Costa Mesa High School,” he said. “Think of it as a neighborhood street, and most neighborhood streets are two lanes.”

DANIEL LANGHORNE is a contributor to Times Community News.

Twitter: @DanielLanghorne


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