Rail Trail Progress Update September 2017

In partnership with the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) the lead agency for implementing the overall Coastal Rail Trail project, we are delighted to report the following progress. The Coastal Rail Trail is moving forward as several sections are funded and on their way to being completed. Currently, 13 miles of the 32-mile trail are underway from the North Coast to Watsonville. Here is a quick update on the next sections of Rail Trail to be constructed. Click here for Final Map

1. Westside Santa Cruz: Natural Bridges Drive to Pacific Avenue and the Santa Cruz Wharf (2.1 miles). This segment will provide a car-free path for residents to bike and walk downtown, to the beach and to the Wilder Ranch trail. It will be the first section of the Coastal Rail Trail to be built and will serve children, families, commuters, and others for every day transportation and outdoor exercise. The City of Santa Cruz projects groundbreaking in early 2018 and completion by the end of 2018.
2. San Lorenzo River Crossing: Great news, the City of Santa Cruz has advanced widening of the current pedestrian-only walkway for use by both cyclists and pedestrians. This short, but important, part of the rail trail is much cheaper than a new bridge that was anticipated in the master planning process. Thanks to the work of those clever engineers, FORT’s advocacy and County Supervisor Coonerty’s leadership, coupled with funding from the state and our partners at the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, a preliminary analysis revealed the existing railroad trestle will support the rail trail without the need for a new bridge. The design and environmental review phase is scheduled to start this fall, with construction anticipated in 2018.
3. Watsonville: Lee Road to Walker Street (1.2 miles). The trail will provide users a car-free connection to the City of Watsonville’s Slough Trails, housing nodes, and industrial employment centers. Lee Road dead ends at the Watsonville State Wildlife Area but will serve a future connection to Pajaro Valley High School. Design and permitting are in process with construction scheduled to start in 2018 and be completed in 2019.
4. North Coast: Davenport to Wilder Ranch (7.5 miles). The project will provide all users a safe car-free paved path from Davenport to Wilder Ranch. A focused environmental study is underway and right-of-way is being secured from State Parks. The RTC is targeting construction to begin in 2020 and completion in 2021.


5. Mid County: Santa Cruz Wharf to 17th Avenue (2.2 miles). This segment will connect the City of Santa Cruz and Live Oak neighborhoods providing users with car-free access to businesses, the Simpkins Swim Center, the Boys and Girls Club, schools, parks and beaches. The City of Santa Cruz, the lead agency for this City/County project, is planning to begin design in 2019. Design work will take 2 to 3 years. Construction will follow design allowing this key segment to open as early as 2024.
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