Community Voices

Student group People Above Things calls for a protest on September 19 to save the Union Pacific Trail Phase II

Student group People Above Things (PAT) calls for a protest on September 19 at 5 p.m. on Harbor Blvd and Commonwealth Ave in Fullerton. They believe saving the Urban Greening Grant Program for Union Pacific Trail Phase II is possible.

The Council majority voted against the urban greening project for Union Pacific Trail on August 15, but the people still have time to rally behind the project and see it through.

The project aims to construct approximately .5-mile multi-use side-by-side pedestrian and Class 1 bicycle paths. The trail would fill a gap connecting the eastern and western sections of the city and transform a former railroad right-of-way. It would also include the planting of approximately 176 trees and over 10,000 shrubs, as well as water capture components and other trail amenities. This is only phase two of a multi-phase project that would give Fullerton residents more trees and walking space.

A short segment of the trail (phase I) was completed in 2006 and extends from Harbor Blvd to Highland Ave, running along Union Pacific Park and behind a few industrial buildings. The new segment of the Trail, funded with the $1.76 million Urban Greening Grant, will extend the Trail from Highland Ave to Independence Park, which is open, along a corridor that is mainly flanked by industrial buildings.

A newly formed group calling themselves PAT, which stands for People Above Things, is calling Fullerton residents to join in a protest to demand that the city go forward with the Union Pacific Trail Phase II.

“We need to show we care, raise our voices, and demand the changes to make our community stronger,” said Eli, a Fullerton College Student.

The group plans to rally on September 19 at 5 p.m. on the corner of Harbor Blvd and Commonwealth Ave in Fullerton and march to City Hall for the 5:30 p.m. City Council meeting.

“Protestors should bring signs, be informed about the trail in case they want to speak to the city council, and wear comfortable shoes,” said Dominique, a CSUF student.

“This is important not only to our neighborhoods but also to our environment,” said Bethany, a local high school student, “We have to be the ones who change our communities for the betterment of everyone. I watched the city council meeting and saw all the people who advocated for the Union Pacific Trail. I reached out to my friends, and we all felt we needed to do something. We are a majority, and that is Democracy. With enough support from all parts of Fullerton, we can change the decision.”


12 replies »

  1. Sharon Kennedy calling out former councils for bad decisions is rich when considering she thinks it’s OK to actively criticize former Observer contributors for their right to freedom of speech. This kind of selective outrage is the exact reason why reasonably minded people like myself don’t participate in the political process. The Observer is not a information vehicle for our residents anymore. It is not neutral and not accredited. It is another communist leftist manifesto for the readers who can’t find the strength to critically think for themselves anymore. THE OBSERVER IS NO DIFFERENT THAN NEWSMAX!!

    • Thank you for reading the Fullerton Observer. Your support is valued even if you do not always agree. Are you the former Observer that is being criticized? What did you write? Sharon retired in 2020. The editor from 2020 to 2022 was Jesse La Tour. I am the current editor. The Fullerton Observer is still all volunteer and community written.

    • Miguel – What former Observer did I criticize for their right of free speech? Does not sound like something I can see myself doing. Please fill me in – so if I was wrong I can apologize.

  2. I hope the disheartening comments here don’t dissuade people from joining the PROTEST TODAY, TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 19 at 5pm, on HARBOR and COMMONWEALTH Ave in Fullerton to reverse city council’s bad decision to send back the $1.78 million Urban Greening Grant which would transform an alleyway south of Commonwealth and the traintracks into a green trail.

    The Union Pacific Trail Phase II trail will connect UP Park on E. Truslow to Independence Park on W. Valencia and add 176 carbon-sequestering trees and ground cover. It is a portion of a long planned pedestrian & bike path.

    According to grant language the funding can not be used for any of the “priorities” that Rob H. mentioned. And park-and-trail-poor District 5 residents came out for the plan. I live downtown and I would use the trail. Many bad council decisions over the years have been reversed when people stood up instead of giving up. I am hoping that will happen here.

  3. When did espousing the benefits of an unproductive trail by a lazy staff at a public meeting become a teaching moment? Probably around the time colleges and universities began indoctrinating young minds with the liberal and communist values of their professors. Makes sense that this would be supported by the Observer, whose readership is more and more retired teachers on a comfortable pension or ex-city staff.

  4. While I appreciate the enthusiasm of the People Above Things (PAT) group and their display of civic engagement, I must express deep concern regarding their priorities. Beautifying our city with pedestrian and bicycle paths is a commendable endeavor, but we must not let this enthusiasm overshadow the harsh reality of Fullerton’s pressing issues. Affordable housing remains elusive for many, and our infrastructure is in a deplorable state, affecting our residents’ livelihoods.

    Equally troubling is the readiness of some representatives to deflect blame onto the “council majority” rather than critically evaluating their own role in our city’s predicament. It is imperative that we hold our leaders accountable and insist on their ability to build coalitions and consensus.

    As for the Union Pacific Trail Phase II project, we must question its place in our city’s overall priorities. Does it effectively address our community’s urgent needs, or could the allocated funds be better utilized elsewhere?

    It is essential to avoid indulging in superficial activism that fails to tackle the root causes of Fullerton’s challenges. Rather than basking in privilege, let us channel our passion into addressing the systemic issues that persist in our city.

    I implore these student activists to think critically on what they can do to prioritize comprehensive solutions that address our housing crisis, infrastructure deficiencies, and districting problems. Going to a city council meeting to protest about this issue NOT the right answer.

    • The grant funds are not readily fungible due to strict stipulations on their use. If we don’t use the grant funds that our city’s employed staff have spent many hours working to acquire, we will lose the funds. This would be a huge waste of city staff’s valuable time and efforts.

  5. And the Fell Good Trail doesn’t “fill a gap.” That’s just an outright falsehood. It would have started and ended between Highland and Independence Park – both in central Fullerton. No east, no west. Just an expensive little D5 orphan.

    • Zenger – you might not come from your home in Anaheim to walk a trail from UP park to Independence Park – but a lot of Fullerton residents including the D5 residents who spoke in favor of the trail would. The trail is part of a long planned trail that does connect east to west. Sending back the $1.78 million grant that pays for it is a real waste.

  6. Oh, brother. Who is choreographing this farce?

    The useless trail is the ultimate “thing.” An expensive and useless gesture meant to make the perpetrators feel good. About themselves. No one has ever identified a likely user.

  7. Wow that’s impressive. I love that young people are taking action. I remember when neighborhoods came to council and school board meetings and demanded Maple School be reopened, and when neighbors came to council protesting a decision to build a polluting flour mill across from Amerige Heights Shopping Center that would have stunk up the whole town and only provide three jobs, and when residents advocated for Coyote Hills open space, and a park at Woodcrest, and the Fox Theater, Laguna Lake and much more. In all those examples the council reversed its original bad decision. Residents can make a difference.

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