Rail trail project planners showed renderings and maps of two versions of the paved path from Santa Cruz to Live Oak during a public workshop on Thursday, March 31.

The images were the first to publicly detail Segment 8 and Segment 9 of the proposed path along the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line. Thursday, leaders gathered input from a few dozen people so plans can be refined. Comments on Segments 8 and 9 are due April 15.

Segment 8 runs from Pacific Avenue and Beach Street in Santa Cruz to the east side of the San Lorenzo River bridge. Segment 9 runs along the rail line from the San Lorenzo River bridge past Murray Street, Simpkins Family Swim Center and on to 17th Avenue in Live Oak.

For Segment 9, planners have started designs for two possibilities:

  • An “interim” plan that aims to temporarily remove the train tracks and build a path on the rail line.
  • An “ultimate” plan that keeps the rail track and builds a path next to it.

An environmental impact report for the two versions of the rail trail on Segment 9 is due at the end of the year.

Segment 8: Pacific Avenue to the San Lorenzo River

Because the bike path was recently upgraded along Beach Street near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, relatively few major changes are proposed:

  • A sidewalk island is proposed to accommodate picture takers near Beach Street and Riverside Avenue. It aims to keep people from standing on the bike path to take photos.
  • More visible crosswalks are proposed on Beach Street where it crosses Riverside Avenue as well as Main, Westbrook and Cliff streets.
  • Bike path upgrades are planned near the roundabout at Pacific Avenue and Beach Street.

Santa Cruz City Engineer Nathan Nguyen has said that some goals of the project are to add cyclists and walkers on the path and facilitate bike trips to schools and businesses. City planners are working with staff of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission and RRM Design Group on Segment 8 plans.

No railroad tracks are proposed to be removed on Segment 8 and no upgrades are expected to the San Lorenzo bridge path that was widened to 10 feet in 2019, Nguyen and other engineers at the meeting said…

Read the entire article here: https://santacruzlocal.org/2022/04/01/rail-trail-plans-detailed-from-boardwalk-to-17th-avenue/