California Coastal Commission Unanimously Approves Widening San Lorenzo River Trestle Bridge for Rail Trail

New ten-foot-wide path allows for improved pedestrian/bicycle access along Coastal Rail Trail while saving millions

Friends of the Rail & Trail today hailed the California Coastal Commission for unanimously approving a new ten-foot-wide multi-use path on the San Lorenzo Trestle Bridge. With this final approval, the City hopes to bid, build and open the new wider path before Memorial Day 2019.

The new wider path, part of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail, will provide the most direct pedestrian and bicycle access between the Seabright neighborhood and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk area, the Riverwalk levee path and downtown Santa Cruz. The new path will be two and a half times wider than the four foot path it replaces.

“The Coastal Commission’s approval of the ten-foot-wide multi-use path is a vote of confidence in the Rail Trail project and a significant improvement for the Santa Cruz community,” said Mark Mesiti-Miller, chair of Friends of the Rail & Trail. “Friends of the Rail & Trail and other trusted community organizations advocated for widening the San Lorenzo River trestle to improve safety and access for everyone who crosses the bridge. We are thrilled this important section of the Rail Trail is moving forward.”

The City of Santa Cruz will construct this project outside of the busy summer season to minimize impact on pedestrians and cyclists, who will be rerouted to the nearby Riverside Avenue Bridge during construction.  The new path will incorporate horizontal-cable railings in place of the chain-link fencing currently used to reduce visual clutter.

Many thanks are due to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County which provided $15,000 for a structural analysis to determine if the wider walkway could be cantilevered from the trestle bridge. This analysis revealed the original plan for a new stand-alone pedestrian/bike bridge was unnecessary, a cantilevered system using the existing trestle was feasible and, the cantilevered system could save the Rail Trail project as much as $5 million. Many thanks are also due to Ecology Action, Bike Santa Cruz County and other trusted community organizations for their advocacy on this project.


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