It’s official! We read in Street Smarts | Navigating Santa Cruz County that the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail (MBSST for acronym aficionados) will pass through Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties on the Rail Trail, now in process of negotiation by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC).
This is good news for everyone concerned with non-automotive transportation in Santa Cruz County, and good news as well for those of us concerned with preserving our natural, undeveloped sensitive habitats.
With the MBSST planned for the rail corridor just 1/4 mile from Arana Gulch, there is no longer any justification for building a paved bicycle connection through Arana Gulch from Broadway to Brommer Streets through Critical Habitat for the endangered Santa Cruz tarplant. The MBSST will add yet one more cross county bicycle-pedestrian connection to the already existing network of dedicated bike lanes criss-crossing the County and City.
Even better, the MBSST will provide a car-free route through the City and county, unlike Brommer and Broadway Streets, which are busy city streets with parking on either side. This will be truly safe bicycling and walking. The MBSST will travel through developed and undeveloped areas of the county and city, providing bicyclists and walkers of every stripe an opportunity for convenient, hassle free transportation and recreation, from one side of the county to the other, even unto Monterey County and beyond.
With cross-town traffic safely accommodated on the MBSST Rail Trail, Arana Gulch can be left in its natural area state, and the City Parks and Recreation Department can continue its good work of managing Arana Gulch for the Santa Cruz tarplant and other native species.