North Coast Rail Trail

North Coast Rail Trail

The North Coast Rail Trail Project is a 7.5-mile multi-use bicycle and pedestrian trail proposed to extend along the railroad corridor from Wilder Ranch State Park in the south to Davenport in the north in unincorporated Santa Cruz County.

The project comprises the majority of Segment 5 of the larger Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail (MBSST) Network, for which a Master Plan was adopted and a programmatic EIR was certified in 2013. The Master Plan was revised in 2014, along with an addendum to the EIR.

The RTC is working in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD). FHWA-CFLHD is the lead agency for design and construction of this segment of the county-wide Coastal Rail Trail project, which is scheduled for the 2021 calendar year. The RTC is the owner of the railroad right-of-way and is the agency responsible for overall implementation of the rail trail along the 32-mile rail corridor from Watsonville to Davenport.

Funding for design, environmental studies, construction, construction engineering, management, and permitting for this project comes from the Federal Lands Access Program, the California Coastal Conservancy, Measure D and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. Partners include California State Parks and the County of Santa Cruz.

2019 Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) – Now Available

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is the Lead Agency for development of the North Coast Rail Trail EIR, which was prepared in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

As stated in the Notice of Availability, the bicycle and pedestrian trail would include a paved path with striping, parallel unpaved path and shoulder. The EIR evaluates the Proposed Project (Coastal Side) and Alternative 1 (Trail Only) at an equal level of detail, and evaluates Alternative 2 (Inland Side), Alternative 3 (Farmers’ Alternative), and Alternative 4 (No Project) in comparison to the Proposed Project. The Proposed Project and Alternatives 1-3 would all include improvements to three existing parking areas: Davenport Beach, Bonny Doon Beach, and Panther/Yellowbank Beach.

The Final EIR for the Project includes the following:

  • Volume 1 (44 MB): Comments submitted by agencies, organizations, and individuals concerning the 2018 Draft EIR and responses to those comments
  • Volume 2 (210 MB): The Draft EIR, with appropriate revisions made in response to comments for clarification or additional detail
  • Volume 3 (74 MB): Appendices to the Draft EIR (Appendix A contains maps of proposed and alternative alignments)

A hardcopy of the Final EIR is available for review at the RTC office (1523 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz).

Beginning February 12, 2019, hard copies will also be available at the Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown Branch (224 Church Street, Santa Cruz), the Watsonville Public Library (275 Main Street #100, Watsonville), and the Davenport Resource Service Center (150 Church St, Davenport).

NEXT STEPS

The RTC will hold a public hearing scheduled for March 7, 2019, 9:30 a.m. at the County Board of Supervisors Chambers (701 Ocean Street, 5th Floor, Santa Cruz) to consider whether to certify the Final EIR and make a decision on the Project by selecting a preferred alignment.

Comments may be submitted by any of the following options:

  • email to NorthCoastRailTrail@sccrtc.org; or
  • postal mail to: RTC, Attn: Cory Caletti, Sr Planner/Rail Trail Program Manager, 1523 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060;  or
  • verbal testimony at the March 7, 2019 RTC public hearing

Written comments received prior to 12:00 pm on February 27, 2019, will be included in the RTC’s March meeting packet in hardcopy and on the RTC website. Subsequent written comments submitted, received by 12:00 pm on March 6, 2019, will be provided to the RTC as handouts at the March 7, 2019 meeting and will be posted on the RTC’s website prior to the meeting.

Previously Completed

2018 Draft Environmental Impact Report

The RTC solicited comments on the adequacy and completeness of the analysis and proposed mitigation measures described in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The 45-day public comment period was from August 9, 2018 to September 24, 2018. Two public meetings were held during the comment period, on August 22, 2018 in Santa Cruz and on August 23, 2018 in Davenport. Approximately 70 people attended the meetings. The RTC has reviewed and addressed all the comments received on the Draft EIR.

2017 Notice of Preparation and Public Scoping Meetings

A Notice of Preparation (NOP) of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was distributed September 13, 2017, and comments were received until October 16, 2017. Two public scoping meetings were held pursuant to the public participation goals of CEQA in Davenport and in the City of Santa Cruz to gather input on the scope of the EIR analysis.

 

RTC Contact

Cory Caletti
Senior Transportation Planner/Rail Trail Program Manager
info@sccrtc.org
(831) 460-3200