Segment 7 Phase 1 Update
Last week the Santa Cruz City Council voted to approve the issuance of a $109K contract to build out Phase 1 of Segment 7 of the rail-with-trail plan. Although this approval was expected, there was a last minute flurry of excitement as trail plans include a cut through the New Leaf Community Market parking lot and the city does not have a written agreement to do so. New Leaf Market has agreed to negotiate with the city to come up with a solution to avoid an on-street re-route.
Within Segment 7, Phase 1, an additional workaround will route rail-with-trail users coming from the north onto Natural Bridges Rd with a left onto Mission St. Extension. From there, trail users will stay on the right side of the street until they cross diagonally in front of the Pacific Collegiate School parking lot to get to the existing bike path. Using this route during school drop-off and pick-up times will create numerous potential conflicts and further slow an already constrained traffic pattern.
Phase 2 of Segment 7 which goes from California & Bay St to the Wharf is indefinitely postponed as the cost of the unanticipated retaining wall project came in double the projected cost in the MBSST.
Segment 7 is the widest and easiest portion of the rail-with-trail to build. If the issues with Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Segment 7 are any indication of how the rail-with-trail issues and costs will unfold, it is reasonable to assume the rail-with-trail will cost closer to $200M rather than the $125M which was projected in the 2012 Monterey Bay Scenic Sanctuary Trail (MBSST) plan. Measure D allocates $85M to build a trail on the rail corridor.
The City and the RTC should take this opportunity to look down the road to the dangerous Capitola detour which is required by the MBSST plan and the San Andreas Rd/Beach Rd detour which will likely be required unless we use the trestles through the Watsonville Sloughs to build Greenway's continuous path.