electric mountain bike

Looking for a weekend bike ride? Check out Santa Cruz’s rail trail

Looking for a weekend bike ride? Check out Santa Cruz’s rail trail 2020-10-13Leave a comment

electrical bike Searching for a weekend bike trip? Take a look at Santa Cruz’s rail path

For extra tales like this, try The Chronicle’s weekly Journey e-newsletter! Sign up here.

A paved, stage mountain climbing and biking path separated from motor visitors throughout the size of Santa Cruz County has lengthy been a dream for locals and guests alike. Now, after many years of advocacy and planning, the Santa Cruz Rail Path is lastly hitting the bottom.

The 32-mile Santa Cruz Department Line from Davenport to Watsonville hasn’t seen a passenger practice since Southern Pacific ended its Suntan Particular service from San Jose to Santa Cruz within the late Nineteen Fifties.

The tracks have been bought by Santa Cruz County in 2012. Its destiny since then has been a neighborhood controversy: Everybody concerned needs a cross-county path, however one faction needs to construct the path subsequent to the tracks to protect the prospect of restoring practice service, whereas one other needs to tear the rails out and construct the path of their place.

The latter group argued that preserving the rails would improve the associated fee, complexity and size of time wanted to maneuver the challenge ahead and mobilized underneath the slogan “Path Now!” After fierce debate and a hotly-contested 2018 poll proposal, Santa Cruz’s Regional Transportation Fee opted to maintain the rails in place, and after years of advanced environmental clearance, design and funding, items of the path challenge are lastly shifting ahead.

The primary to be accomplished was small however transformative. A ten-foot-wide path was hooked up to the trestle over the San Lorenzo River in 2019, permitting pedestrians and bicyclists touring between the Santa Cruz Boardwalk Seaside Amusement Park and the Twin Lakes neighborhood to extra simply share what had been a painfully slender, 4-foot-wide pathway.

Now underneath development is a 1.3-mile phase by means of Santa Cruz’s Westside that may hyperlink native parks and residential areas to the Ingalls Road and Swift Road Courtyards, former Brussels sprouts packing crops that now have bustling second lives as bakeries, wineries and bars.

Guests for whom Santa Cruz is all concerning the seashores have just a bit longer to attend.

Development is about to start in 2024 on the North Coast phase, 5.4 miles from Wilder Ranch State Park, which is linked to central Santa Cruz by present bike paths, to lovely and secluded Panther Seaside. Nearer to the ocean than Freeway 1, this part will supply bicyclists and pedestrians a beautiful, traffic-free cruise by means of blufftop farm fields. The route passes by means of brand-new Coast Dairies-Cotoni Nationwide Monument, the place plans for public entry to beforehand off-limits seashores and hills are progressing.

The rail path’s backers hope the remaining 2 miles from Panther Seaside to tiny Davenport, with its quaint bakeries and beloved surf spots, can start quickly afterwards.

The remainder of the route is technically demanding, and no funding has been recognized for a lot of the lengthy stretch between central Santa Cruz and Watsonville. To the chagrin of the trail-only faction, the path grasp plan concedes there’s no approach to match a path by means of difficult spots just like the excessive, slender Capitola trestle and proposes to route path customers onto floor streets as a substitute.

It’s no shock that an enormous, advanced challenge like this has extra twists than the Boardwalk’s Large Dipper curler coaster, however guests can take the gradual tempo in stride.

Brian Coyne is a contract author. E mail: travel@sfchronicle.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *