Every month the Regional Transportation Commission puts out a press release promoting the benefits of the Rail-Trail and keeping the old tracks in place in hopes of a future passenger train in 2035. There are many citizens in Santa Cruz County that disagree with that agenda and believe that we are heading in the wrong direction. One organization has over ten thousand petitioners endorsing a different plan. That organization is Santa Cruz County Greenway.
With the latest 7-5 vote to approve a long-term contract with a midwestern freight corporation to carry heavy commodities along the Watsonville-Santa Cruz corridor, many opponents believed that Greenway would quietly disband. This is not true.
Greenway continues to promote its progressive vision for the corridor, blending bicyclists, pedestrians, E-bikes and newer zero-emission transit modalities in sharing the linear space. Greenway supporters want an equitable, ecologically friendly, wide and safe, multi-use corridor that can be built quickly, inexpensively, and have a positive impact on the communities it traverses.
RTC studies show the lack of viability of a train in the three most fundamental measures: ridership, efficiency and cost. The current Rail-Trail plan exists only because of the train idea. Because the RTC plans to build the trail on the outer edge of the corridor it will be too narrow for commuter use, will detour in numerous locations onto busy streets, will not maintain a friendly 3% or less grade and will cost an astronomical amount of money. (Construction estimates for the easiest 1.3-mile section went from 2.2 million dollars to 7 million dollars.)
There are much better ways to address the transportation issues in this county. The RTC needs to have a watchdog organization like Greenway to help insure that the best interests of our current and future citizens are being met. Please visit the Greenway website: sccgreenway.org.
— Buzz Anderson, Aptos
Buzz Anderson, Lifelong resident of Mid-County, is one of ten thousand petition signers supporting the Greenway vision.