Community Invited to Coastal Rail Trail Groundbreaking on January 10

The City of Santa Cruz welcomes the community to celebrate the groundbreaking for the first segment of the Coastal Rail Trail on Thursday, Jan. 10, from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. at the west base of the San Lorenzo River Railroad Trestle Bridge. The Coastal Rail Trail includes many projects that, together, 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 first Coastal Rail Trail segment, the San Lorenzo River Parkway Phase III/Trestle Trail Project,  will replace the existing 4-foot wide walkway on the San Lorenzo River Railroad Trestle Bridge with a new multi-use trail that is 10 feet wide.

“This groundbreaking is a historic start to what will be 32 miles of car-free coastal access. The Trestle Trail will make walking and biking safer and easier between the Boardwalk and our Seabright neighborhood and the Riverwalk and downtown,” said Mayor Martine Watkins. “It also supports our Go Santa Cruz initiative and Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions.”

The public is invited to celebrate — come rain or shine — with City and Santa Cruz County officials and community members who helped to bring the Coastal Rail Trail project to fruition over many years. Speakers will include Mayor Martine Watkins, Regional Transportation Commission Chair Ed Bottorff, Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County Executive Director Stephen Slade and Friends of the Rail and Trail Board Member/Bike Santa Cruz County Executive Director Janneke Strause. Other important Coastal Rail Trail supporters will be present including former U.S. Congressman Sam Farr and Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency John Laird.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be followed by a free-of-charge community party from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m. hosted by Friends of the Rail and Trail.  It will include speakers, refreshments, commemorative giveaways and Coastal Rail Trail engineering displays.

Attendees may park free of charge at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk River Parking Lot. Free bicycle valet parking is hosted by Bike Santa Cruz County.

Coastal Rail Trail fundraising and planning started with former U.S. Congressman Sam Farr’s vision for a trail system that arcs around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He secured $4.5 million dollars in funding for the Santa Cruz County side of the trail system alone. Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency John Laird secured a grant for over $.5 million for this first Trestle Trail Project. Transportation Development Act funds and Measure D tax dollars fund the remainder of the $2 million Trestle Trail Project cost.

The Trestle Trail Project is being constructed with a savings of over $4 million compared to the conceptual Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Master Plan developed in 2013. The savings derives from a structural analysis which determined that a new stand-alone bike/pedestrian bridge was not necessary. Instead, the trail will be cantilevered from the existing bridge saving significant time as well as cost.