Donate

FAQs

Is the rail corridor wide enough for trail and rail?

Yes the rail corridor is wide enough to accommodate both trail and rail. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), who owns the coastal rail corridor and is the lead on the rail trail project, has surveyed and studied the rail corridor width extensively. Of the 32-mile corridor, only 1/3 of a mile is less than the minimum width and design solutions have been identified. Solutions to other challenges will be developed further as segments are funded and designed. 96% of the trail will have a usable width of 12 feet or more which includes 2 foot shoulders on each side.

Is it safe to have a trail next to passenger rail service?

Several safeguards will be taken to keep trail users separated from trains. Fencing, buffer landscaping, and space will separate the trail from the tracks and trains. The distance between the center of the tracks and the trail edge closest to the tracks will be at least 8 1/2 feet. For more information on the rail trail design and plans please see the trail master plan design section and scroll to Section 5. Many successful rails-with-trails across the country stand as a testament to the ability of trains and trails to safely coexist.

How is the Rail Trail associated with the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network?

The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network (MBSST Network) is a two-county pedestrian and bicycle pathway project that is envisioned to run from the Santa Cruz/San Mateo County line to Pacific Grove in Monterey County. Congressman Farr is a huge champion and secured millions in federal funds. The MBSST Network is comprised of the Rail Trail and associated spur trails that will connect the “spine” with other trails, destinations and key activity sites.

How long is the Rail Trail?

The Rail Trail from Davenport to Watsonville is approximately 32 miles. On-street bike/ped facilities and natural surface paths represent an additional 18 miles for a total of about 50 miles. Click here for a visual of the full 32-mile rail corridor as it moves through Santa Cruz County.

Who is the owner of the Rail Trail?

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is the owner of the 32-mile Santa Cruz Branch line and managing agency of the Santa Cruz County portion of the Rail Trail. The Transportation Agency of Monterey County is responsible for the Monterey County segments.

Will there be other trails that connect to the Rail Trail?

The MBSST Network is comprised of the Rail Trail and the associated spur trails (A network of associated spur trails is identified that will connect the “spine” with other trails, destinations and activity sites). The Rail Trail is the “spine” of the MBSST Network and will provide multi-use alternative transportation and coastal access. The Rail Trail from Davenport to Watsonville is approximately 32 miles. On-street bike/ped facilities and natural surface paths represent an additional 18 miles for a total of about 50 miles.

Will there be an operational train as part of the Rail Trail project?

The “spine” of the MBSST will be built parallel to, not in place of, the operational rail line so that freight rail and future passenger rail service may be provided. The rail line, including the Rail Trail is not open to the public until the trail is constructed. The purchase of the Santa Cruz branch rail line by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) included the intent to maximize use of the facility including operation of passenger train service. There are no plans to remove the train tracks. The RTC acquired the rail line over a 20-year long public process using funds dedicated by Santa Cruz and California voters (Proposition 116) to preserving the line and expanded uses. A passenger rail feasibility study is in progress. The plan is to evaluate the feasibility of passenger rail service including estimates of capital and operating costs, conduct an analysis of varying service scenarios and technologies and evaluate connectivity potential to other buses and rail services. Both short and long term passenger service scenarios will be developed.

What is the timeline for completion of the Rail Trail?

FORT’s goal is to see the majority of the Rail Trail completed within 10 years.The Rail Trail will be built in segments, not all at once. Currently, there are 2 portions of the Rail Trail that have funding including a segment from Natural Bridges to the SC Wharf and a segment within the City of Watsonville. The Rail Trail segment from Natural Bridges to the SC Wharf is expected to be completed in 2018; the Watsonville segment is expected to be completed in 2016.

 

How Can I Make A Donation?

You can support this legacy project by contributing to the effort to prioritize funding and construction of the Rail Trail. Your support for our staff to engage and educate the public and local agencies is critical to gain momentum toward trail construction. The FORT website offers a secure online payment system. For more details visit our Donation page.

×