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We’ve been talking to a lot of people about the Rail Trail lately. Someone asked me for the top three reasons to build it. See if you can pick my top 3 reasons from this list. Yeah, if you ask, I’ll tell you.

  1. The Rail Trail is within a mile of 92 parks, 45 schools, and half the county’s population.
  2. More than $40 million has already been allocated to build it – and Measure D provides another $80 million.
  3. This approved trail is already being built – the first segment in Santa Cruz, will open in 2018.
  4. 11 more miles (North Coast, Live Oak and Watsonville) of the 32-mile trail can be built in four years.
  5. Almost all of it can be built in 10 years.
  6. The current trail plan has been approved by all levels of government, after a three-year public process.
  7. Abandoning the current plan will delay, by up to ten years, starting to build the trail-only choice.
  8. The bike and pedestrian trail will be 12 to 16 feet wide, the widest paved trail in the county.
  9. The Rail Trail preserves the rail corridor for the future. The trail-only approach does not.
  10. The Rail Trail will transform the way we get around the county. Soon!
Stephen Slade is the Executive Director at Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. He has more than 40 years non-profit experience in fundraising, communications, and management – and a deep passion for the lands that make Santa Cruz special.

Find out more about Stephen Slade…

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This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. In reality, the rail corridor and rail line don’t belong to us, they belong to our children and their children. Rail transit is our gift to them, using the corridor for just a wider trail is foolish and squanders the gift we have to give and the debt we owe future residents to leave the community in a better state.

    OK, Stephen, I’ll ask: What are your top three reasons?
    I’ll bet that number 9 is one of them.

  2. I support the combined rail and trail for another reason. The objections seem to assume that the world supply of oil will remain stable for the next 40 years or so, when everything points to the opposite. When gasoline and diesel tops $15/gal., rail is how we will move food as well as people. We live in a region endowed with amazing year round food production, and rail will be the most economical way to move food from Davenport and the North Coast to Pajaro Valley and vice-versa. Not only commuters but our daily bread (wheat as well as corn can grow with less irrigation on the North Coast plains – it’s already being produced). We know we cannot necessarily depend on the present food system, or the federal government, to feed us in End Oil times. Keeping those tracks is an investment in our future in so many ways. Thank you.

  3. It’s curious that local groups promoting an exclusive “trail only” design are doing everything in their power to delay construction. This is evident in their actions, their lobbying efforts, and in their rhetoric and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.
    If my neighbors want a safe and equitable trail soon, I recommend checking the history and facts of the matter. Once checked, I’m confident that we’ll all support the Coastal Rail Trail, as planned and as funded by Measure D with 2/3 voter support.
    The trail is months away from construction, there’s a well-funded group out to kill it. Beware.

  4. Please look at the picture posted. How can we trust you to protect this by paving and adding fences? Seems like the opposite. Protection is not development.

  5. Preserving the rail is of utmost importance. I’m not sure if anyone can remember a time when the stop lights all along Mission St would blink yellow after midnight because there was so little traffic you didn’t need to stop. Also not sure if anyone can remember a time when there would be traffic on the northbound lane of Hwy 1 over the San Lorenzo River only during peak summer weekends? Now there is traffic over that bridge every single day. Can you imagine our traffic woes in 25 years from now? Yes we NEED to preserve the rail. A “trail only” caters to gentrification and the people who are rich, suburban and sip almond caffe latte cappuccino macchiatos. Do you think people in deep south county are going to want a trail only so they can walk their poodles or talk to their stock brokers and live-in nannies on speakerphone? NO. They are going to want to commute to Santa Cruz and work for a living. We need a transportation corridor and not a keep-off-the-grass “trail only” gentrified suburban dog park.

  6. 12. Gridlock

    Thank you Land Trust for supporting a project that is so important to the future of travel in Santa Cruz County. I can’t think of a greater need for our community. I can hardly wait to start using the trail segment in Watsonville that will connect with all the other trails.

  7. Thank you Land Trust for your investment in time, energy and financial resources that has made the rail trail a reality. It is unfortunate that special interest groups wanting a trail only have caused delays and wasted public resources. The trail with rail will serve all Santa Cruz County residents and I look forward to the opening of the first segment in 2018.

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