Six key segments of the San Francisco Bay Trail and Wildcat Creek Trail in Contra Costa County will be completed and made accessible to the public thanks to an agreement between the East Bay Regional Park District and Union Pacific Railroad.
The agreement, approved unanimously by the Park District board on May 3, will provide for the development of several bicycle and pedestrian bridges, improved at-grade crossings and permanent trail easements at six locations along the San Pablo Bay and Carquinez Strait shorelines.
“These additions to our regional trails will improve safety conditions for thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians, and make the shoreline more accessible for everyone who lives in the East Bay,” said East Park District Board Member Whitney Dotson, whose district includes many of the future crossings. “We’re pleased to have reached this agreement with Union Pacific.”
The six new trail improvements are in addition to three completed under an earlier agreement with the railroad.
The new improvements are:
1 Pinole Shores to Bayfront Park in Pinole Easement to close a Bay Trail gap Bridge over tracks to ensure safe crossing
2 Martinez Shoreline/Nejedly Staging Area in Martinez Easement to close a Bay Trail gap
3 Lone Tree Point in Rodeo Bridge over tracks to connect Lone Tree Point parkland to the Bay Trail
4 Carquinez Strait/TXI “Brickyard” in Port Costa Safe track crossing to connect Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline to the Park District’s TXI property
5 Wildcat Creek Trail in Richmond Bridge over the tracks to complete segment of the trail
6 Seaview School in Pinole Easement to close a Bay Trail gap along San Pablo Regional Shoreline
Three improvements have already been completed:
1 Bay Trail crossing at Eckley Pier in Crockett
2 Delta-De Anza Trail crossing at Neroly Road in Oakley
3 Bay Trail easement at Atlas Road in Richmond
The May 3 agreement is a result of an objection the Park District filed in 1996 regarding Union Pacific’s merger with Southern Pacific. The Park District argued that the increased rail traffic due to the merger would hinder recreational access to the shoreline. As a condition of its approval of the merger, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board ordered Union Pacific to provide right-of-way and funding for trail connections. The Park District and railroad recently updated the agreement to reflect current trail priorities.
The Park District expects to complete the projects over several years, as trail connections are developed. Design is almost complete for the project at Pinole Shores with construction anticipated for spring 2017.