Activists Remove 412 lbs. of Trash from Rail Corridor

Activists Remove 412 lbs. of Trash from Rail Corridor

Rail Corridor Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comA group of Santa Cruz County Greenway activists performed a rail corridor cleanup just East of the San Lorenzo River Trestle where construction is underway on the first section of the Rail Trail. The effort resulted in the collection of 412 pounds of trash, including litter, used needles, cigarette butts, broken bottles and discarded clothing and bedding.

Rail Corridor Times Publishing Group Inc“Where will the Rail Trail go next? Literally, where?” asks Buzz Anderson, a long time Greenway enthusiast, who believes the trail should move forward and the rail part should be scrapped. He points out the lack of space in this segment, officially known as Segment 9.

The much touted Rail Trail groundbreaking widens the existing pedestrian gangway on the San Lorenzo Trestle from 3ft to 10ft, but once across the river, bikes and pedestrians will still have to navigate up a narrow ramp and will be funneled on to a 4ft sidewalk along busy East Cliff Dr before reaching the Seabright Brewery, Betty Burgers, Pacific Edge Climbing Gym and other Seabright destinations.

The narrow bike lane, which continues across the Santa Cruz Harbor, has seen numerous accidents in the recent past and a fatality in 2018. Nothing has been done to improve bike safety along this dangerous section since the passage of Measure D in 2016.

“Right now the plans make the trail run next to the rail instead of replacing the rail with a trail as Monterey, New York and thousands of other communities across the country have done,” said Anderson. “That adds time, money and endangers lives,” he added.

Rail Corridor Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comThe current Rail Trail plan has no solution for both Rail and Trail to continue under East Cliff Dr. “If you did want to build a trail there (and keep the rail), you’d need to remove the trees, excavate the hillside, and build about an 11ft retaining wall,” says commercial real-estate appraiser Ryan Whitelaw.

Solving this same problem on Segment 7B, the Rail Trail stretch behind Neary Lagoon, has already produced plans for a nearly 30 ft. retaining wall and the removal of trees that are valuable monarch butterfly habitat. The local Sierra Club has challenged these plans because of the tree removal.

Nadene Thorne, a Greenway enthusiast for the past two years added, “I’d like to see the RTC go forward with building the Rail-Trail in this location (at Seabright). Massive concrete retaining walls and major excavation work would have to be done to keep the trail to the side of the existing tracks here. I personally would like to know what that is going to cost. It’s definitely a factor when you compare the current plan to the alternatives.”

“Bank the rail, build the trail,” said Manu Koenig, Executive Director of Santa Cruz County Greenway. “It’s time for the County to figure out the details of rail banking and move forward. For now, Greenway will try to keep the corridor clean and continue to encourage the RTC to act in the best interests of the people.”


Santa Cruz County Greenway is a 501(c) 4 non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is “to create a spectacular Greenway as the backbone of an active transportation and transit network.”

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One Response to "Activists Remove 412 lbs. of Trash from Rail Corridor"

  1. Barry Scott  May 12, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    It’s great to see locals clean up public spaces like beaches and the rail corridor. It’s unfortunate, however, that this article seems more to do with the trail project. The new bike/ped bridge is a safe, beautiful connector between two neighborhoods, one that never existed before. It connects to the existing ramp up to the Riverwalk and sidewalk of East Cliff Drive.

    That’s a good thing, but the design for Segment 9 offers much more than this article seems to reveal. On the inland side of the rail section is over 16 feet of clear width for the trail to continue eastward, between the columns and the bridge abutment. Using a cut and fill engineering technique, excavation can be half what is described above. The trail will be somewhat higher than the railroad grade and, of course, safely separated from any passing traffic.

    For me, the best part about the Coastal Rail Trail is that it’s held in trust for transit, thanks to the unanimous vote in January by members of the Regional Transportation Commission, including representatives of Scotts Valley and Capitola. Residents of all four cities and unincorporated areas of the county will have a fantastic transit system with their trail before long.

    I hope the author will give some thought to developing an article about how six nation in the European Union implemented a comprehensive bike + train program that dramatically increased the number of users of both modes, thus taking millions of car trips off the roads each year. More about that project can be found at Copenhagenize or BiTiBi.


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