Santa Cruz Rail Trail in Aptos

The Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission purchased the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line with the vision of creating a corridor for passenger and freight rail line, with a path along the tracks for use by hikers, bikers, joggers, and wheelchairs. The 32-mile trail will run from from Watsonville to Davenport, and will form the spine of a larger Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network.

The trail will, of course, run through Aptos, as seen on this map:

Several portions of the trail have already had funds allocated for creation of the path along the tracks, as can be seen in this document. Notable portions are 2.4 miles from Natural Bridges to Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz and a 4,000 foot long path parallel to the tracks in Watsonville.

It is worth noting that at present, no projects have been designated for Aptos, despite the fact that the tracks run through some very scenic portions of the county, as well as through some fairly densely populated neighborhoods which would stand to benefit considerably from having a pedestrian-and-bike friendly path which could take residents and visitors into and out of the new Aptos Village.

The rail trail provides an historic opportunity for Aptos, as it could be a real benefit for the community by encouraging tourism to the area and keeping people out of their cars and the cars off the road. Anyone interested in the project is encouraged to get involved by attending meetings of the Santa Cruz County Transportation Commission, or by volunteering or financially supporting Friends of Santa Cruz County Rail and Trail.

There is a competing vision for the rail and trail:  ditching the rail, and converting the whole path into one purely for pedestrians and bicycles.  Proponents of this approach say that a train service will never be economically viable and that having both rail and trail in the same corridor will be enormously costly and likely never get off the ground.

Related Posts On AptosCommunityNews

The Santa Cruz Rail Trail in the News

Sanctuary Trail shows county’s ambition

Aptos High Rail 2 Trail Club Editorial

See also

Santa Cruz Rail Trail

Santa Cruz Rail Trail

Comments

comments