Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Report for Coastal Rail Trail Segments 8 and 9 Project

Project Title: Coastal Rail Trail Segments 8 and 9 Project

Project Location/Address: The Project alignment extends from the Beach Street/Pacific Avenue roundabout within the City limits on the west to the eastern side of 17th Avenue in the unincorporated Live Oak area of the County on the east.

Project Description: The City of Santa Cruz, as Lead Agency, in coordination with the County of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, has completed a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Coastal Rail Trail Segments 8 and 9 Project.

The Project is a 2.2-mile bicycle and pedestrian system proposed to extend along the Santa Cruz Branch Line rail corridor from the Beach Street/Pacific Avenue roundabout on the west to the eastern side of 17th Avenue on the east, excluding the recently constructed San Lorenzo River Trestle Bridge Improvements, see project map below. Segment 8 (0.6 mile) is composed of improvements to the existing on-street bicycle system (cycle track) and pedestrian sidewalk. Segment 9 (1.6 miles) is composed of a new multi-use bicycle and pedestrian trail. For Segment 9, the EIR evaluates the Proposed Project: Trail Next to Rail (Ultimate Trail Configuration), as well as an Optional First Phase: Trail on the Rail line (Interim Trail) whereby the railroad tracks would be removed and the trail would be located on the rail bed, at an equal level of detail.

The goals of this project are to increase the numbers of people biking and walking, improve safety and mobility of non-motorized users, and provide high-quality connections to schools, parks, and community facilities.

When constructed, this project will be part of the planned 32-mile Coastal Rail Trail that traverses the entire coastline of Santa Cruz County. A part of the Segment 8 project, the San Lorenzo River Trestle Trail widening, was accelerated ahead of the rest of the segment and was completed in May 2019.

For more information about the project, please visit the project webpage via link https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/coastalrailtrail.

Potential Environmental Impacts: The DEIR provides an evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project and recommends mitigation measures to reduce impacts to a less-than-significant level where possible. As known at the time of this notice, anticipated significant and unavoidable impacts potentially not mitigable to a level below significance include effects to aesthetic quality (scenery), monarch butterfly habitat, and movement and migration of wildlife resulting from tree removal. Additional environmental effects anticipated include impacts to sensitive habitat (including that of Santa Cruz tarplant, and sensitive bird, bat, fish and wildlife species); cultural resources, including to the historic Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line (SCBRL) resulting from removal of the SCBRL; geology and soils (including impacts to paleontological resources); hazardous materials (due to the presence of contaminated soils); noise and vibration (including to sensitive receptors resulting from project construction); and Tribal Cultural Resources.

Public Review Period (45 days): The public review period for the DEIR begins Friday, September 23, 2022, and ends Friday, November 4, 2022. The City must receive all written comments regarding the adequacy of the DEIR within this time period. Written comments may be submitted in person, by mail, or by e-mail. The mailing address is 809 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Direct all comments to the attention of Nathan Nguyen, City Engineer, via email at nnguyen@cityofsantacruz.com or via phone at 831-420-5188.

Public Meeting: The City is scheduled to receive written or verbal comments on the DEIR at a public meeting on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 5 PM – 7:30 PM via remote teleconference. Information regarding participation will be available via the project webpage at link https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/coastalrailtrail.

Lead Agency: City of Santa Cruz
Department/Division: Department of Public Works
Address: 809 Center Street, Room 201, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Contact Person: Nathan Nguyen, City Engineer
Email: nnguyen@cityofsantacruz.com
Phone: 831-420-5188

Address Where Copy of Draft EIR is Available: Copies of the DEIR are available for review Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, at the City of Santa Cruz City Hall, Public Works Department, 809 Center St., Room 201, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 except on specified holidays. The DEIR is also available at the City of Santa Cruz Downtown Library, 224 Church St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060, and online, at https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/coastalrailtrail.

Rail Trail Segments 8 and 9 Project Location Map

Segment 8/9 map