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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.