Broadway-Brommer multi-use path stuck in the courts

Recently, Street Smarts received an email from TC of Santa Cruz wondering about the status of a variety of pedestrian- and bike-friendly projects around town. One of them was the Broadway-Brommer path, which if completed, would connect the city to Live Oak. Below is the 411 from Chris Schneiter, city civil engineer who’s working on the project. Street Smarts: What's the latest news about the Broadway-Brommer path? Chris Schneiter: The Arana Gulch Master Plan environmental document, which includes the multi-use trail, was challenged in court and the city prevailed. That decision has been appealed (2006). We are currently waiting for a court date to hear oral arguments on the appeal. That could happen in the next two- to three months. Assuming the city again prevails, this would be scheduled for a coastal permit before the California Coastal Commission. If a permit is issued, the trail could move forward to final design and construction, contingent on funding. SS: What’s the lawsuit about? CS: The (California) Native Plant Society (and Friends of Arana Gulch are) opposed to anything near the tarplant, which is endangered, though the plan would require the city to take an active role in re-establishing the plant habitat. It is a plant that seems to thrive on abuse: burning, grazing, mowing, etc. The trail goes around historical plant colonies and, so, is a bit more circuitous than a typical trail could be. SS: How long has this project been in the works? CS: Since the early 90’s. SS: Is it really going to happen? CS: That depends on who you ask. We will know with more certainty as the steps above are accomplished. SS: Where it would begin and end? CS: The connection is from Broadway at Frederick to Brommer at 7th streets. It also includes a trail spur to the north at Agnes. Also for those interested, they can go to http://www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/pr/parksrec/index.html, click on Parks and Greenbelts, and then Arana Gulch for the master plan and environmental documents. SS: What's the cost and who's paying for it? CS: The cost estimate for construction is approximately $4.2 million. There is about$1.6 million in federal transportation enhancement funds and other related funds committed to the project. Once the lawsuit is resolved there will be a greater effort made in getting more funds to close the gap. One reason this project is expensive is that it includes a bridge over Hagemann Gulch, very specific construction methods to minimize disruption of the habitat and avoidance of past tar plant colonies. SS: Why is this path so important? CS: It is a priority for the City of Santa Cruz to make this greenbelt property accessible to the disabled, encourage people to bike and walk as much as possible by providing safe and attractive alternatives, and to protect the environment, including the Santa Cruz Tarplant. The master plan adoption and mitigations include implementation of a Santa Cruz Tarplant management plan to encourage its growth.
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One Response to Broadway-Brommer multi-use path stuck in the courts

  1. Michael Lewis says:

    I was dismayed to read your “blog” on Tuesday, January 26th, and to find the only links to information about the Broadway-Brommer project going to proponents of the project, such as Micah Posner and the City of Santa Cruz’s Arana Gulch Master Plan.

    There is no link in your article to an extensive and fact-filled treatise on the project on the Friends of Arana Gulch website at http://members.cruzio.com/~arana/. The City has an obvious fiduciary interest in the project since it stands to gain $1.6 million of federal funding, even though the projected cost of the project has increased from the estimated $2 million at its inception to its current $4.2 million. The Posner article is highly opinionated and unsupported by facts.

    Please, publish a “blog” post on Arana Gulch that contains all of the facts: the federally threatened, state endangered status of the Arana Gulch tar plant, the designation of Arana Gulch as an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA) by the California Coastal Commission, the designation of Arana Gulch as critical habitat for the Santa Cruz tar plant by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the recent completion of the Soquel Avenue bike Lanes project that obviates the need for any further East-West bicycle connection, the planned seismic retrofit of the O’Connell bridge over the Santa Cruz Harbor that will further obviate the perceived need for an additional East-West bike lane. Leaving your readers with only Posner’s opinionated article in his own newsletter is a disservice to us all.

    I bicycle between Live Oak and Santa Cruz regularly on Soquel Avenue and Portola/O’Connell Bridge. I have never found the several routes between the two municipalities to be unsafe or unpleasant. Nor do I find any impediment to bicycling safely and swiftly anywhere in Santa Cruz County between Capitola and Mission Street.

    There is no need for yet another East-West bike route in Santa Cruz.

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