By Raiza Giorgi

A new study of a trail system linking Buellton and Solvang together has been released by a partnership of Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), the cities of Buellton and Solvang, and the County of Santa Barbara. The group is asking for public comment on the different plans to get a consensus of what the public is wanting before local officials end up making any further decisions. 

The project kicked off in September of 2019 and has been going through many stages from Technical Analysis (TAC), environmental reports and now into public comment before the final report is given to the partnership in August.

“I’m a big supporter of programs designed to get people outdoors, in as safe a capacity as possible. I believe that the best outcome of this project will be one which minimally impacts residents along the ultimately-determined trails, but also provides both locals and visitors with safe methods of traveling throughout the Santa Ynez Valley in an open-air environment. The creative manner in which this team has created an alternate method for public input on this process, is certainly of benefit to our communities,” said Solvang Mayor Ryan Toussaint. 

The trail system was proposed because the only main access road between Buellton and Solvang is Highway 246, which has a speed limit of 55 miles per hour. This trail system would be a multi-modal connection between the two cities, with it most recently being the highest priority project in the 2019 Santa Ynez Valley Bicycle Master Plan, according to the study website. 

The proposed trail systems and links were identified as already frequented routes, and other factors identified by the TAC, as well as City easements and City-owned land, safety issues, and desired connectivity to residential areas and other points of interest.

The trail connection would be for bicyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians, and there is a study is underway to look for alignment opportunities, including along the north and south sides of the Santa Ynez River, along Highway 246, or a variety of hybrid options. 

A public workshop was tentatively scheduled to occur in early April, but when the COVID-19 crisis hit the partnership developed an alternative way to gather public input with putting it online. 

Comments may be emailed to Jared Carvalho at, mailed to SBCAG at 260 N. San Antonio Road, Suite B, Santa Barbara, CA 93110. The project team is also available to connect via telephone to discuss this project. Please call SBCAG at 805-961-8900, leave a message and your call will be returned in a timely manner.