The People Have Spoken and They Want Rail & Trail
Our strength is grounded in our ability to work together. We have come together in an amazing coalition across Santa Cruz County that will continue to advocate for our future. No matter our differences, most of us want pretty similar things. We want to live in a thriving community that provides freedom of movement and opportunity for everyone to get around safely, creates safe and healthy neighborhoods, and gets everyone home on time for dinner. Together we can bring this vision to life.
What’s Next for Light Rail Transit?
The dramatic results at ballot box have created a clear mandate for passenger rail. Now that our elected officials know that rail transit enjoys just as much support from the community as the Coastal Rail Trail, It’s time to move this project forward!
Many of us have written to the RTC in the past 12 months to encourage them to oppose abandonment and railbanking and to let them know that we want to move forward with both Rail & Trail. If you wrote your commissioner, did you hear back? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Fortunately, it’s a good time to invest in rail transportation in the USA.
Counties around the country are funding rail line upgrades with Federal Rail Grants. The CRISI funds in the above example are only one source of funding that is available. We have an opportunity in front of us with the upcoming State Transportation Improvement Program/TCEP, which is a great source for our rail line because two Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line upgrade projects are already on the State’s eligible project list. This summer we will be pushing to see real progress towards light rail service as well as continued progress on the trail. Stay tuned and join us as we continue our advocacy work towards these goals!
Coastal Rail Trail Progress
California Street to the Boardwalk
The first phase of Coastal Rail Trail Segment 7 has been open between Natural Bridges and Bay Street on the Westside of Santa Cruz since Fall of 2020. The trail is a hit with residents and visitors alike, and people of all ages can be seen walking, bicycling, and skating on the trail at all times of day. Now, we’re delighted to report that the City of Santa Cruz is beginning construction of Segment 7 Phase II this summer.
The trail will be 12-16 feet wide and go from the corner of Bay and California to the roundabout at the foot of the wharf. Like all of the Coastal Rail Trail, it is designed for walkers and bicyclists of all ages and abilities. We are excited for this alternative route to heavily trafficked Laurel Street and steep Beach Hill. This new trail running alongside the tracks behind Neary Lagoon will provide safer and easier active transportation connections between the beach area and the Westside, and will connect to downtown Santa Cruz via the Beach Street Bike Path and the San Lorenzo River Path. To see info on all the Rail Trail segments in the City of Santa Cruz click here.
17th Ave to State Park Drive
Several weeks ago we were pleased to send a letter officially endorsing a County grant application to fund Coastal Rail Trail Segments 10 and 11. We are optimistic that the California Active Transportation Program grant committee will approve funding for this section of the Rail Trail, a 4.5-mile stretch that will connect 17th Avenue in Live Oak to the Seacliff neighborhood in Aptos. It will also connect 10 schools, 18 parks, 13 public beaches, 2 community centers, commercial zones and some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the county. Click here to check out the maps and plans.