City Beat: Rail Trail Award, Celebration and New Directions

By City Beat on January 28, 2020 in City Beat, Featured, Local Loop, News, Spotlight

January has been a momentous month for the Coastal Rail Trail in Santa Cruz. We began construction of Segment 7 – Phase I on Tuesday, Jan. 21. This 1.2 mile long bike/pedestrian path will run from Bay and California streets to Natural Bridges Drive. Construction is expected to be completed in about eight months, by the end of summer 2020.

When Phase II of Segment 7 is built, there will be 2.9 miles of Coastal Rail Trail in Santa Cruz from Natural Bridges Drive to East Cliff Drive connecting over 30,000 residents who live within one mile of the trail to schools, work, beaches, shopping and other activity centers.

Friends of the Rail and Trail threw a community party to celebrate the Segment 7 groundbreaking on Saturday, Jan. 25, at Ingalls Street along the alley next to the rail corridor. The well-attended event included inspirational speeches from seven government and nonprofit officials who have played important roles in securing Rail Trail funding and community support.

After Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings spoke, Friends of the Rail and Trail and Ecology Action gifted the City a $14,000+ check for a bike/ped counter to be installed during construction. The City is grateful for this special contribution and applauds FORT for hosting this exciting and energizing celebration!

At one of many event booths, our Transportation Planner Claire Gallogly explained plans for upcoming Rail Trail Segments 8 and 9 to enthusiastic community members. Connecting the east and west sides of Santa Cruz, highlights of these segments include a new bike/ped bridge at Rodeo Gulch and a 10-foot wide multiuse path across Santa Cruz Harbor.

These 2.5 miles of Segments 8 and 9 will serve the 48,000 residents who live within one mile of the corridor where 15 schools and 37 parks are located.

Also this month, the first stretch of Coastal Rail Trail to be completed—our Trestle Trail Project—was recognized as 2019 Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association, Monterey Bay Chapter.

The Trestle Trail Project has replaced the previous 4-foot wide walkway on the San Lorenzo River Railroad Trestle Bridge with a new multi-use trail that is 10 feet wide providing safer and easier biking and walking between the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Seabright area and between the Santa Cruz Riverwalk levee and downtown.

The Trestle Trail, Rail Trail Segments 7, 8 and 9 together with other projects will provide a 32-mile long separated bicycle/pedestrian path along the coast and is a part of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission’s Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network Master Plan.

This exciting plan—over 20 years in the making—was first imagined by former U.S. Representative Sam Farr who spoke at the Segment 7 groundbreaking celebration. The ceremony repeatedly acknowledged the entire community’s important role in passing Measure D which continues to contribute tax dollars to Coastal Rail Trail segments.

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