Coastal Rail Trail - Public Art Opportunity Master Plan

On June 13, 2018 the Santa Cruz Arts Commission unanimously approved the Rail Trail Art Opportunity Master Plan and on September 25, 2018 the Santa Cruz City Council adopted the plan unanimously. 

Download and read the plan and the staff presentation below - attached in the resources section.


Segment 7 Final Schematics- City of Santa Cruz - phase one construction.

The City of Santa Cruz and City Arts Commission held our first public workshop on Rail Trail Arts Opportunity Master Plan workshop on August 11, 2016. “The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network is a 50-mile bicycle and pedestrian pathway (non-motorized ) along the coast of Santa Cruz County, from the San Mateo County line in the north to the Monterey County line at Pajaro. The system’s “spine” will be within the 32-mile Santa Cruz Branch rail right-of-way, adjacent to the train tracks. The rail trail will coexist with existing and potential future train service, and abide by conditions set forth as part of the rail purchase. Many successful rail-with-trail projects can be found across the nation. This configuration has proven to be successful in many other communities and provides safety features to train operations as well as active transportation options for bicyclists and pedestrians." (Per the Coastal Rail Trail websiteCoastal Rail Trail website.)

We are planning for many types of art along the  3.7 miles of trail within the City, though at this time, only the 2.1 mile segment between Natural Bridges Drive and Pacific Avenue (Santa Cruz Wharf) is fully funded and anticipated to be built in 2018. Grants are being sought for an additional 1.6 miles to connect between the Boardwalk to 17th Avenue - in coordination with the County of Santa Cruz.

The City of Santa Cruz is the lead agency on design and construction of the Coastal Rail Trail within its jurisdiction and is working in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), owner of the rail right-of-way and responsible for overall implementation of the rail trail project in the county.  In addition to design and construction of the trail, the City has also initiated development of an Arts Master Plan. This is a City led project –a project of Santa Cruz City Arts. We have hired RRM Design to help with this effort. As a consultant, RRM is also doing the engineering and design for the segment that goes through Santa Cruz, so it made sense to have them help with the art planning process as well. We are also coordinating with the RTC of course who is coordinating the 50-mile Coastal Rail Trail Project.

The City of Santa Cruz has a 7-person Arts Commission and these appointed volunteers are advisory to staff and City Council regarding art plans. They are/will be highly involved in this effort. Three of the Arts Commissioners were at the brainstorming meeting last week and helped facilitate the discussions.

Over the next few weeks, staff will be working with RRM and the Arts Commission to pull together all the comments and ideas collected on August 11 at the. We will see if there are themes that emerge – or ideas that seem to resonate the most.

We will be taking a first draft of the Arts Master Plan to the Open Streets event on October 9 for the broader public to weigh in.

RRM will make revisions to the Draft Arts Master Plan based on the comments received at the Open Streets event. Then, the final plan will be reviewed by the Arts Commission in a public meeting for adoption – probably in November/December, 2016.

Again, the purpose of our first workshop was to identify opportunities, themes and mediums for projects at 16 +/- opportunity sites preliminarily identified. As funding allows, there would still be one or more calls for proposals – asking artists to respond with more concrete and detailed proposals. This said, we need some kind of a guiding plan in order to go after grant funds – which we will need in order to do anything significant on the trail.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Certainly let me know if you have any further comments or ideas to share!

I will keep you all updated on upcoming steps and important dates.