Doctors Overwhelmingly Support Greenway

Doctors Overwhelmingly Support Greenway

Over 150 Santa Cruz County doctors and medical professionals support removing the railroad tracks to build a safe, healthy and socially equitable trail

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA—JUNE 13, 2017—150 doctors and medical professionals announced today that they support the trail proposal advocated by the Santa Cruz County Greenway organization ( as the safest and healthiest option for the Santa Cruz County community. The group of professionals reached this conclusion after studying the alternatives and decided the medical community should speak out about issues of health, safety, and the environment. Greenway advocates replacing the unused tracks with dedicated paths for pedestrians and cyclists as the backbone of an improved county active transportation network.

“The health benefits of regular exercise are well documented,” said Dr. Robert Quinn, Medical Director for Rehabilitation Services at Dominican Hospital and President of Santa Cruz Medical Group. “Greenway provides the best opportunity for the Santa Cruz County community to walk, cycle, use wheelchairs and get active. Commuting by bicycle more than halves the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack. And with the obesity crisis among our youth, we have to take every measure to encourage an active lifestyle at early ages.”

The doctors and medical professionals also emphasize safety in their endorsement of Greenway. The Greenway plan calls for an off-street pathway without detours onto dangerous streets, more protected bike lanes, and separation of bikes and pedestrians so that commuters and recreational users can safely go at their own speeds. In 2014, Santa Cruz was first among more than 100 California cities of similar population—about 60,000 inhabitants—for wrecks with injury or death involving bicycles, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. In 2016, the city had 106 wrecks involving cyclists.  

“The more often you ride a bicycle in Santa Cruz County, the more likely you are to be injured,” said Dr. Anne-Marie Jackson, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist with Dominican and Director of Physicians Medical Group. “Despite the fact that I have been hit by cars twice while commuting along Soquel at heavy traffic time in the afternoon, I continue to commute by bicycle as often as possible because it allows me to stay healthy without finding a separate time to exercise. I know that every time I get on my bike I will be riding in an unprotected lane alongside people who might be distracted by text messages, phone calls, or the need to find places on their map apps. I look forward to the day when I can commute safely along the Greenway.”

“Safety isn’t just for cyclists,” said Dr. Dana Welle, MD—a local resident and Chief Medical Executive, Stanford Healthcare. “Cities with high bicycling rates have lower crash rates for all road users.” Dr. Welle experienced a bicycle accident that changed her life forever, “A bicycling accident on a local road forced me to reevaluate my career. In car and bicycle accidents, the car always wins and many cyclists lose more than just careers. I was lucky.”

Social equity is another key reason for the medical professionals’ support of Greenway. Households earning less than $20,000 per year are roughly twice as likely to bike for transportation than all other income groups. Dr. Casey KirkHart, Medical Director at Santa Cruz Community Health Centers, sees many low-income families whose poor health stems from lack of access to jobs, education, and affordable housing that Greenway can address.

“Greenway is an engine for equity in Santa Cruz County,” said Dr. KirkHart, “and not just by providing free and healthy transportation for my patients and staff. Let’s create affordable housing along Greenway so anyone can access this incredible resource from their own backyard. Local, minority-owned businesses can build Greenway, creating jobs while connecting our diverse communities to their own jobs and schools. Greenway, can—and should—provide opportunity and high quality of life for everyone in Santa Cruz County.”

“It’s time to prioritize community safety, health, and well-being,” said Dr. Quinn. “Let’s stop dreaming about an unaffordable train with low ridership in the wrong place, and set our sights on better transit options that can get large numbers of people to and from our medical centers, our schools and colleges, and other major employers. Let’s build the Greenway NOW!”

1. Celis-Morales, Carlos A., Donald M. Lyall, Paul Welsh, Jana Anderson, Lewis Steell, Yibing Guo, Reno Maldonado, Daniel F. Mackay, Jill P. Pell, Naveed Sattar, and Jason M R Gill. “Association between Active Commuting and Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and Mortality: Prospective Cohort Study.” BMJ. British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 19 Apr. 2017. Web. 09 June 2017

2. Todd, Michael. “Santa Cruz Cyclists Are Highly Prone to Wrecks, According to Report.” Santa Cruz Sentinel. Santa Cruz Sentinel, 23 May 2017. Web. 03 June 2017

3. Fernandez, Elizabeth. “Soaring Medical Costs from Bicycle Accidents.” UC San Francisco. UC San Francisco, 02 June 2017. Web. 09 June 2017

4. Garrick, Norman W., and Wesley E. Marshall. “Beyond Safety in Numbers: Why Bike Friendly Cities Are Safer.” Planetizen: The Independent Resource for People Passionate about Planning and Related Fields. N.p., 27 June 2011. Web. 09 June 2017

5. Anderson, Michael, and Mary Lauran Hall. “BUILDING EQUITY: Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Protected Bike Lanes: An Idea Book for Fairer Cities (n.d.): 33. PeopleForBikes.” PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project and Alliance for Biking & Walking, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 9 June 2017

About Santa Cruz County Greenway

Santa Cruz County Greenway is a nonprofit which advocates for a scenic, safe, and functional 32-mile bicycle and pedestrian path from Davenport to Watsonville. Greenway’s vision is to transform Santa Cruz County into a world-class active transportation community.


Santa Cruz County Greenway
Gail McNulty, Executive Director
849 Almar Ave, Suite 247
Santa Cruz CA 95060

Dr. Robert Quinn • Contact information provided to press
Dr. Casey KirkHart • Contact information provided to press
Dr. Anne-Marie Jackson • Contact information provided to press

Copyright 2017 Santa Cruz County Greenway. All rights reserved. Santa Cruz County Greenway is a trademark of Santa Cruz County Greenway. All other organization names are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.

Doctors and Medical Professionals who support the Greenway vision

Marian Acquistapace, CNM
Peggy Albrecht, MD
Audrey Arnold, OT
Nick Astromoff, MD
Barbara Bannan, MD
James Beckett, MD
Tim Blakeslee, DFM
Raimy Boban, MD
Sherry Boles, RN
Mark Brenis, DPM
Elisa Breton, MD
Melissa Browning, FNP
Brian Brunelli, MD
Ruth Burker, RN
Andrew Calciano, MD
Isaac Chankai, MD
Robert Chen, MD
Michael Coulson, MD
Gary Crummer, MD
Jane Daughenbaugh, RN
Vanessa de la Cruz, MD
Grant de la Motte, MD
Kirti Desai, MD
Cheryl Demonner, PA
J.Andrew Dorosin, PA-C
Arthur Dover, MD
Erick Eklund, DDS
Taryn Elward
Cynthia Fazekas, MD
Jennifer Field, SPT
Val Fielder, RN
Sarah Flores, FNP
Andrei Fon, OT
Leelia Franck, MD
Joe Franks, MD
Larry Friedman, SW
Leura Fromm, CNM
Jeanne Gallagher, MD
Farnoush Ghaderi, MD
Julia Greenwood, NP
Meredith Hammig, CNM
Rema Hanna, MD
Matt Hansman, MD
Ciara Harraher, MD
Hossein Hassani, MD
Stefanie Hatfield, MD
Carlene Hawksley, MD
Rebekah Herrick, PA
Doug Hetzler, MD
Bill Hopkins, DPM
Alvice Hurray, DPM
Anne-Marie Jackson, Ob-Gyn
Julie Jaffe, MD
Dena Janigian, MD
Jennie Jet, MD
Karl Johsens, MD
Freshta Kakar, DO
Heajin Kamalani, MD
Lacy Karo, OT
John Kaufman, MD
Kate Kenney, RN
Suzanne Kerley, MD
Charlotte Kim, MD
David Kipps, MD
Casey KirkHart, DO
Paul Krause, MD
Dawn Larsen, MD
Gordon Lee, MD
Louis Lee, MD
Linda Leum, MD
Karen Lynch, MD
Sarah Lynch, SLP
Glenn Macwhorter, DC
Steven Magee, MD
Morgan Maglo, MD
Drew Maris, MD
Roy Martinez, MD
Samuel S. Masters, MD
Bonny Masters, MD
Kevin McHugh, MD
Kelly McNamara, OT
Jay Meisel, MD
Margann Mentor, CNM
Susan Miyata, RT
Jacqueline Moga, Med Phys
Eva Montes-Portis, Director
Aaron Morse, MD
Melinda Munoz
John Munro, MD
Kristina Muten, MD
Jackson Nagle, MD
Josh Novic, MD
Chris O’Grady, MD
Elisa Orona, Director
Barbara Palla, MD
Himabindu Pitta, MD
Steve Plumb, MD
Burke Poole, RT
Robert Potts, MD
Essex Powell
Treta Pyrohit, MD
Robert Quinn, MD
Paula Quinn, MD
Margaret Quinn, RN
Mark Rigler, MD
Janel Rittenhouse, OT
Juan Rodriguez, MD
Maritina Rodriguez, MD
Lorena Russo, MD
Matt Ryan, MD
Mary Ryan, PA-C
Howard Salvay, MD
Kristy Sanden
Jacqueline Sedgwick, MD
Katie Shasky, RN
Molly Shields, MD
G.Patrick Shields, MD
Renata Shoham, RT
Wendy Sickels, MD
Michael Simpson, DPT
Damien Smith, MD
Renee Sosa, RT
Julia Stevens, NP
Morgan Stryker, PA
Melissa Sullivan, RN
Michael Suval, DO
Alexis Tapia, MA
Meghan Thomas, MD
Sienna Titen, MD
Fred Tomlinson, MD
Melinda Valdez, RN
Emily Vandenberg, NP
Carmen Ventura, MA
Brian Waddle, MD
Heidi Wagner, RS
Pamela Wagner, PA-C
Sepi Walthard, DDS
Dana Welle, MD
Julie Western, SLP
Melinda White, DO
Quinn Wickham, MD
Courtney Widmann, PA
Rick Williams, MD
Barbara Williams, PT
Diana Wilson, RN
Glenn Wong, MD
Thomas Yen, MD
Teresita Yin, RN
Christine Yoo, RN
Sara Zojaji, RN
Margarita Zuniga, RN


Why separating fast moving cyclists from slower foot traffic, etc. is important:

Vivanco, Leonor. “Does Separation of Lakefront Trail Put Chicago on the Right Path?” N.p., 29 July 2016. Web. 03 June 2017.

Children’s Health Benefits

Bicycling to school improves children's cardiorespiratory fitness. Borrestad, L., et. al., 2012 - Experiences from a randomized controlled trial on cycling to school: Does cycling increase cardiorespiratory fitness?, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 7 March 2012

Cycling to school is associated with lower odds of being overweight or obese for adolescents. Ostergaard, A.G. et al, 2012 - Cycle to school is associated with lower BMI and lower odds of being overweight or obese in a large population-based study of Danish adolescents, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Volume 9

Community Health Benefits

After a bike and pedestrian lane was installed on a South Carolina bridge, 67% of users indicated that their activity levels had increased since the opening of the lane. McCarthy, D., 2009 - "Wonder’s Way Bike Pedestrian Pathway on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge: A Successful Model for Facilitating Active Living in Lowcountry South Carolina"

A report estimated that Portland, Oregon's regional trail network saves the city approximately $115 million per year in healthcare costs. Beil, K., 2011 - Physical Activity and the Intertwine: A Public Health Method of Reducing Obesity and Healthcare Costs

A San Francisco Bay Area study found that increasing biking and walking from 4 to 24 minutes a day on average would reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes by 14% and decrease GHGE by 14%. Maizlish, N. et al 2012 - Health Cobenefits and Transportation-Related Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the San Francisco Bay Area

On average, New York City residents who walk or bike to work get more than an hour of transportation physical activity per day. New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2011 - NYC Vital Signs Special Report: Health benefits of active transportation in New York City, 10, 3

After bicycle lanes were installed post-Katrina on a New Orleans, Louisiana street, there was a 57% increase in the number of cyclists. The number of female cyclists increased 133%, and the percentage of cyclists riding in the correct direction increased from 73% to 82%. Parker, K., et al., 2010 - "If you build it, will they come? The health impact of constructing new bike lanes in New Orleans, Louisiana," Active Living Research Conference 2010 Abstract

Countries with the highest levels of cycling and walking generally have the lowest obesity rates. Bassett, Jr., et al., 2008 - Walking, cycling, and obesity rates in Europe, North America, and Australia, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 5, 795-814

Health Benefits of Active Commuting

A study of nearly 2,400 adults found that those who biked to work were fitter, leaner, less likely to be obese, and had better triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and insulin levels than those who didn't active commute to work. Gordon-Larsen, P., et al., 2009 - Active commuting and cardiovascular disease risk, Archives of Internal Medicine, 169, 1216-1223

Active commuting that incorporates cycling and walking is associated with an overall 11% reduction in cardiovascular risk. Hamer, M., and Y. Chida, 2007 - Active commuting and cardiovascular risk: A meta-analytic review, Preventive Medicine, 46, 9-13

According to the federal government, biking for transportation can count toward the minimum 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended for physical health. It is also listed as the safest way to get physical activity. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008 - 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Women who walk or bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. Luoto, R., et al., 2000 - The effect of physical activity on breast cancer risk: A cohort study of 30,548 women, European Journal of Epidemiology, 16, 973-80