Proposed North Coast Rail Trail Project Draft Environmental Impact Report Released

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 began Aug. 9 and ended 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 sought written and verbal public input on the environmental issues contained in the Draft EIR, including at public meetings on Aug. 22, 2018 in Santa Cruz and on Aug. 23 in 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); Scotts Valley Branch (251 Kings Village Rd., Scotts Valley); the Watsonville Public Library (275 Main St., #100, Watsonville); the Davenport Resource Service Center (150 Church St., Davenport).

(edited 9/26 to reflect end of comment period)