Regional transportation commission approves $5.3M for Santa Cruz coastal trail

This morning, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC) allocated $5.3 million for the the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail (MBSST). The funds are designated for the Westside Santa Cruz segment between Natural Bridges and the Wharf ($4.06M), $1.04 million for the Lee Road segment in Watsonville, and $200K for the Twin Lakes Beachfront project.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Scenic Trail

With funding designation, local agencies can finalize designs and permitting so that construction can begin.

The MBSST is a planned 50 mile coastal rail trail from the San Mateo / Santa Cruz County line to Pacific Grove in Monterey County. The SCCRTC provides the high level planning view for the project, while local agencies are responsible for design and construction on their segments.

The Westside Santa Cruz segment will construct a new paved trail from Natural Bridges Drive to the wharf alongside the existing railroad right of way. The city of Santa Cruz estimates this segment will cost $5.3M by itself, so the city will need to budget $1.3M of city funding to complete this segement.

The Commission allocated $200K to provide bike and pedestrian improvements between 5th Ave and 7th Ave as part of the existing Twin Lakes Beachfront project near the Santa Cruz Harbor.

The city of Watsonville receives $4.06M to pave a 4,000 foot trail alongside the railroad right-of-way from Lee Road east to the city of Watsonville Slough Trails, with connections to Lee Road and Ohlone Parkway. The railroad tracks run parallel to Beach Street in Watsonville between San Andreas Blvd and Walker Street / Harkin Slough Rd.

The $5.3 million for rail trail funding is a part of a larger $14 million the Commission allocated for transportation projects throughout Santa Cruz County. This includes $2.7M for pavement work throughout unincorporated parts of Santa Cruz County, $1.2M for sidewalks on Airport Blvd in Watsonville, $346K for intersection improvements at Mt Hermon Road and Scotts Valley Drive, $345 for new Paratransit vans and buses, and $479K for intersection improvements at Highway 1 and River Street. SCCRTS also set aside $2M for future construction of auxiliary lanes on Highway 1 between 41st Ave and Soquel Drive.