Public Comment Period for the Proposed North Coast Rail Trail Project Draft Environmental Impact Report Now Open

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed North Coast Rail Trail Project on Aug. 9. The 45-day public review and comment period is open from Aug. 9 to Sept. 24, 2018.

The proposed Project is a 7.5-mile multi-use bicycle and pedestrian trail that would extend along the rail corridor from Wilder Ranch State Park on the south to Davenport on the north in unincorporated Santa Cruz County. It comprises the majority of Segment 5 of the larger Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail (MBSST) Network. In addition to the trail, the proposed Project includes improvements to three existing parking areas with connections to the trail.

The Draft EIR, prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, identifies potentially significant impacts to a number of required environmental topics, including Aesthetics, Agricultural Resources, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Geology/Soils, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Hazards/Hazardous Materials, Hydrology/Water Quality, Noise, Transportation/Traffic, and Tribal Cultural Resources.

The RTC is seeking public input on the environmental issues contained in the Draft EIR. Comments may be provided in writing or by verbal testimony at one of two public meetings.

All written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2018 to the RTC office (Attn: Cory Caletti, Senior Transportation Planner, 1523 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060) or by email (NCRTDraftEIR@sccrtc.org).

Verbal comments may be provided at the public meetings on Aug. 22, 2018, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Police Station, Community Room (155 Center St., Santa Cruz), and on Aug. 23, 5:30-7 p.m. at Pacific Elementary School, Blue Multipurpose Building (50 Ocean St., Davenport).

The Notice of Availability and the Draft EIR are available online at https://sccrtc.org/projects/multi-modal/monterey-bay-sanctuary-scenic-trail/north-coast-rail-trail/. Electronic copies on thumb drives are available at the RTC office (1523 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz). Hard copies are available for review at the RTC office and the Santa Cruz Public Libraries: Downtown Branch (224 Church St., Santa Cruz); Aptos Branch (7695 Soquel Dr., Aptos); the Watsonville Public Library (275 Main St., #100, Watsonville); and the Davenport Resource Service Center (150 Church St., Davenport).