By Shannon Munz
Welcome to the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission’s (RTC) first monthly Transportation Talk column. As the transportation planning agency for the County of Santa Cruz, the RTC creates projects and programs to develop a balanced transportation system that addresses all modes, while improving the quality of life for all of our county residents.
In Santa Cruz County, transportation-related issues, such as traffic congestion, environmental impacts, and infrastructure maintenance, are top of mind for a lot of people as the region continues to grow.
Each month, this column will delve into some of these issues while also talking about the future of transportation and the trends that are guiding transportation planning and how we move people from Point A to Point B.
Here is a look of some of the things we are currently working on at the RTC:
Proposed North Coast Rail Trail Draft EIR
On Aug. 9, the RTC released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed North Coast Rail Trail Project, and we are currently seeking input on the document through Sept. 24.
This proposed project is a 7.5-mile multi-use bicycle and pedestrian trail that would extend along the rail corridor from Wilder Ranch State Park to Davenport, and include improvements to parking lots at Bonny Doon beach, Yellowbank/Panther beach and in Davenport.
It comprises the majority of the north coast segment of the larger Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail (MBSST) Network, which the RTC approved a Master Plan for in 2013.
The RTC will be holding two public meetings to get feedback from the community on the Draft EIR for this project:
- Aug. 22, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Police Station, Community Room (155 Center St., Santa Cruz)
- Aug. 23, 5:30-7 p.m. at Pacific Elementary School, Blue Multipurpose Building (50 Ocean St., Davenport)
If you can’t attend one of the meetings, you can also provide written comments to the RTC office (Attn: Cory Caletti, Senior Transportation Planner, 1523 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060) or by email (NCRTDraftEIR@sccrtc.org). All written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Sept. 24.
The Proposed North Coast Rail Trail Draft EIR can be viewed at sccrtc.org.
Innovators in Transportation Speaker Series
In May, the RTC launched the Innovators in Transportation Speaker Series to give members of the community the opportunity to hear transportation experts from around the country discuss the innovations and trends that are shaping the future of transportation.
We hope this series deepens the community’s understanding of transportation issues and the work we do on a daily basis at the RTC to provide innovative transportation solutions to the county.
The next speakers in the series which are free and open to all members of the community:
Becky Steckler — Wednesday, September 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Veterans Memorial Building, 846 Front St., Santa Cruz. Becky is program manager for Urbanism Next at the University of Oregon. Becky’s talk, “Impacts on Emerging Technologies on Communities,” will look at the ways technologies such as autonomous vehicles, the sharing economy, and E-commerce, affect land use, urban design, transportation, real estate, and the implications of these changes on equity, the economy, the environment, and governance.
Jeffrey Tumlin — Wednesday, Sept. 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. Jeffrey is principal and director of strategy at transportation planning firm Nelson Nygaard, Jeffrey’s talk, “Measuring What Matters,” will focus on transportation planning and how it affects people.
Past speakers in this series discussed topics like Transit Planning, The Evolution of SMART, Implementing Trail and Transit Corridors, and The State Rail Plan. Videos of all past presentations can be viewed at sccrtc.org/speaker-series/.
If you have questions for the RTC or there are transportation-related issues you would like to see us cover, feel free to contact Shannon Munz, RTC Communications Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the RTC, visit sccrtc.org.