Santa Cruz rail line to be purchased. The Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission agreed yesterday to pay Union Pacific $14.2 million for the 32 mile stretch of railroad from Davenport to Watsonville. County residents already use the railroad right of way for bicycling and walking, and Union Pacific has apparently been worried about liability, while enforcing their property rights results in criticism from the community. The county plans to establish and rail trail along the railroad while operating a recreational rail service along the corridor. The rail trail will become part of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network. Union Pacific currently runs three freight round trips each week on this branch line.
- Santa Cruz Sentinel: County transportation leaders land $14 million deal to buy Union Pacific rail line.
- Rail Trail support bike ride.
- Santa Cruz County Friends of Rail Trail.
- Santa Cruz People Power: Rail trail purchase on track.
Chinese Acrobats at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Watch acrobats perform at the Beach Bandstand area of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk Sundays through Thursdays until August 21. Shows are at Noon and 3pm Monday through Thursday, Noon and 6pm on Sundays. Their gig includes tricks with bicycles. Shows are free.
Caltrain updates, etc.The Caltrain Joint Powers Board met yesterday. Some quick notes.
- Some 20+ cyclists showed up to give their input on the Bicycle Master Plan. Caltrain staff proposes adoption of the plan (which doesn't address capacity), but JPB directors seem to "get" the idea now that capacity should not only be maintained, but even expanded.
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has taken the lead among Bay Area bicyclist advocacy groups in pushing Caltrain to adopt a plan that better services bicyclists. SFBC published their own Caltrain bike plan online (PDF), as well as a rebuttal to Caltrain's bike program FAQ.
- SF Examiner looks at the issue of charging extra to bring bikes on board Caltrain. “I’m not crazy about that idea,” Caltrain boardmember Jerry Hill said. “We want to encourage people to use their bicycle, and during peak commute is when people need transit. Many people who ride bicycles don’t have the luxury of having other forms of transportation and I don’t think we should penalize them for doing the right thing.”
- In other business, the JPB voted to increase Caltrain fares after public hearings. While Caltrain reported record ridership of nearly 12 million riders from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, increasing fuel prices impact Caltrains operating budget. "Even though the ridership is up," says JPB vice chair Don Gage, "it's still not enough to keep up with the rising gas costs."
- Peninsula cities don't want High Speed Rail and are joining a lawsuit against the California High Speed Rail Authority. Boo to them.
- VTA Watch examines the proposed 1/8 cent tax to bring BART to Santa Clara. Hurray to Palo Alto councilor Yoriko Kishimoto, who speaks out against bringing BART to San Jose.
- A 'suspicious device' was reported at the parking garage next to the Sunnyvale Caltrain station late Wednesday night. Officials closed the garage to public access and the Santa Clara County Sheriff closed the Sunnyvale Caltrain station at 10 PM. Caltrain established a bus bridge between Mountain View and Lawrence Avenue. At midnight the bomb squad determined the 'device' was not dangerous and allowed people access to their vehicles in the garage. Caltrain operated normally the next morning.