Public planning processes are local, participatory and aim to include diverse voices in local decision-making. The overall intent of a public planning process is to develop comprehensive and well-researched plans that consider the needs of all community members, and that individuals and organizations can utilize to guide local community initiatives. Voter referendums sidestep public planning processes and instead minimize a complex issue into a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote. As such, Ecology Action opposes Measure D.
Ecology Action has been following the ongoing development of the rail corridor plans as we do with many of our county’s transportation planning projects. Our position has consistently been to support a Coastal Rail Trail that includes a practical, feasible, and sustainable multi-modal transportation solution driven by formal public planning processes.
We have urged that the rail trail be constructed as quickly and cost-effectively as possible in alignment with the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network Master Plan. We also support preserving the rail tracks until rail transit is a feasible option for the future. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission is currently considering both the development of a trail over the tracks (an “interim trail”) as well as one alongside the tracks (the “ultimate trail”) in some sections. These planning efforts provide analysis on both options and help to form the basis for nuanced discussion.
When dynamic and complex projects like these exist, we’ve seen how a public planning process has the power to help produce successful outcomes. Ecology Action encourages voters learn more about this project and actively engage in the planning processes that are underway.
Links to local agencies that are leading the transportation planning include:
- County of Santa Cruz general plan update and Regional Transportation Commission planning processes: https://sccrtc.org/
- County of Santa Cruz planning processes related to the Coastal Rail Trail:
- City of Santa Cruz planning processes related to the Coastal Rail Trail: https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/CoastalRailTrail