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Mar 05th
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Town Hall With Supervisor Neal Coonerty

neal-coonertyNow that the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission has purchased the Union Pacific Rail line, what is the status of the rail trail project?

The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is currently in full swing planning for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network. This project merges plans for a bicycle/pedestrian trail along the rail line that will serve transportation, recreation and interpretive uses for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, families, locals, and visitors.  

The broad vision is for a Trail Network project that will span the coast of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary from the San Mateo/Santa Cruz County line to Pacific Grove, in Monterey County. The RTC is leading the planning effort for project development in Santa Cruz County and the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) is responsible for Monterey County projects. This approach will ensure that when construction of all trail segments are complete, that the planned bicycle/pedestrian network will provide connectivity throughout the county and into the Monterey Bay region, as well as tie in the larger California Coastal Trail and Pacific Coast Bicycle Trails.

The RTC has developed a draft plan that can be accessed on the RTC website, sccrtc.org. The Trail Network Draft Master Plan was released in October and identifies proposed trail alignments, and provides recommendations for design standards, project prioritization, implementation mechanisms, and ongoing maintenance. The 32 miles of proposed trail has been divided into segments so that the public can more easily weigh in on which segments they would like to be prioritized when funding becomes available for construction. The RTC has recently concluded a series of public meetings throughout the county to gather input from county residents in preparation for a Draft Environmental Impact Report, which is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2013. I attended the Nov. 27 meeting in Davenport, which was well attended by North Coast residents.  

Approximately $7 million of local and federal funds have already been secured for construction of initial segments. I plan to continue to aggressively seek funds for this project locally, at the state level, and with our Member of Congress, Sam Farr, who is also an avid supporter of the Trail Network, for additional federal funds. The RTC is still taking public comments on the Trail Network Draft Master Plan, so please consider reviewing the plan yourself and submit any input you might have to the SCCRTC.  

What can the county do to address concerns about garbage and toxic waste in public areas, especially beaches and parks?

I share the community’s concern about garbage and toxic waste being found in public areas. This is not acceptable. We should be able to go to our community’s wonderful parks and beaches without worrying about unsightly or dangerous garbage. I am committed to working with government agencies, community organizations and active community members to address this problem.

County Public Health officials have discussed this problem and assessed current needle exchange resources to determine if increased needle exchange services should be a part of the solution. I’ve met with them to identify a range of alternatives for responding to the problem.

I will be attending the City of Santa Cruz’s Public Safety Committee meeting on Dec. 17 to hear from others and to identify steps that we can take to deal with the waste that is left in our public areas. Representatives from County Public Health will also be participating in the Public Safety Committee’s meeting. This is a problem for the cities and the county and I will continue to cooperate with local officials to address these challenges in our community.

I know there is a lot of (understandable) frustration in the community about this issue. By working together and staying vigilant, we can improve the situation.

Comments (2)Add Comment
We need to have the area under the bridge fenced off
written by Douglass Weymouth, The Clean Team, December 19, 2012
We need the Lost Boys Bridge to be fenced off like the supports for the bridges along the River levee have been. This is the area that holds up the East Cliff Drive curve as it goes in the Murray. It has become a latrine and shooting gallery. I have done a number of clean ups along the tracks and under the bridge and it keeps getting dirtier and dirtier although there is less trash than there was 4 weeks ago.
...
written by Don Honda, December 18, 2012
Nice that you got all these funds for this project and will work aggressively for more, but how about fixing our local roads and finding money for them????

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It is a week of many different festivals along with a full moon, all occurring simultaneously. Thursday Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival (at full moon). Thursday is also the Pisces Solar festival (full moon), Purim (Jewish Festival) and Holi (Hindu New Year Festival). Sunday, March 8, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. The festival of Purim celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew people from the cruel Haman (a magistrate) seeking to destroy them. Esther, the Queen of Persia, who was secretly Jewish, saved her people from death. The sweet cookie hamentaschen celebrates this festival. Friday, March 6, is Holi, the Hindu Spring Festival celebrated after the March full moon. Bonfires are lit the night before, warding off evil. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is the most colorful festival in the world. It is also the Festival of Love—of Radha for Krishna (the blue-colored God). It is a spring festival with singing, dancing, carnivals, food and bhang, a drink made of cannabis leaves. Holi signifies good over evil, ridding oneself of past errors, ending conflicts through rapprochement (returning to each other). It is a day of forgiveness, including debts. Holi also marks the beginning of New Year. At the Pisces Solar festival we recite the seed thought, “We leave the Father’s home and, turning back, we save.” Great Teachers remain on Earth until all of humanity is enlightened. The New Group of World Servers is called to this task and sacrifice. Sacrifice (from the heart) is the first Law of the Soul, the heart of which is Love. This sacrifice saves the world.

 

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