This new trail which will ultimately connect with the American River Parkway Trail sounds like a winner, as reported by the Sacramento News & Review.
The abandoned Sacramento Southern Railroad line, which once carried pears, grapes and asparagus from the California Delta into Sacramento to be shipped to market, already feels, in some places, like an urban oasis. Near what will be the Del Rio Trail’s northern terminus, across Sutterville Road from the Sacramento Zoo, a hiker or biker moves through pools of shade thrown by native valley oaks and past nicely landscaped South Land Park backyards—many with access gates in their fences. A 10-foot-wide dirt road parallels slightly elevated tracks; in some places, the old railroad right-of-way widens into scruffy fields.
Over the length of its 4 and a half miles, the Del Rio Trail site is, in other places, overgrown and impassable. Volunteer cleanup efforts have already begun on the stretch running from Florin Road to the Meadowview/Pocket intersection. If all goes to plan, in a couple years or less, this trail will join the American River Parkway as a destination for hikers and cyclists. More importantly, it will become a local transportation resource, connecting South Sacramento and the city core.
Chuck Hayes, a member of the South Land Park Neighborhood Association, has devoted the past year to helping make the trail happen.
“This will mean folks from Meadowview and Pocket will be able to ride all the way to downtown almost entirely on Class 1 off-street paths,” Hayes says—explaining why that designation matters: “The more you can take bike routes off streets, the more comfortable people are. Off-street bike paths are the best way to get people onto bicycles who aren’t already experienced riders—that’s how you get someone who isn’t already on a bike to give it a try.”
A few days exploring the trail site and surrounding neighborhoods provide evidence as to why this is the case. The southernmost mile or so parallels Freeport Boulevard. On weekends, serious cyclists can be seen blasting down the boulevard on their way to big days roaming the rural roads of the Delta. But it’s easy to see why there aren’t a bunch of parents and children riding in the bike lane. The posted speed limit on Freeport Boulevard is, in places, 50 mph—and of course many drivers are ignoring that speed limit. In some places, the abandoned tracks can be seen 100 feet or so from the boulevard.
“I’m one of those guys in spandex some of the time,” Hayes admits, “and other times, when I’m out running errands, I’m just another schmuck on a bike.” His passion for this project clearly arises from a desire to help more ordinary schmucks get in the saddle.
One of Hayes’ favorite facts about this project is something most people would not consider when thinking about a municipal project like this: “At either end of the trail there are shopping centers anchored by grocery stores,” he says. “All of us who live anywhere near this trail are going to be able to do all our shopping on our bicycles,” he says, as if that were just about the coolest thing in the world—obviously.
While many rail-to-trail plans are about recreation, this one is clearly about transportation. The Del Rio Trail will pass within easy cycling distance of five grade schools, two middle schools, two high schools, a library and Sacramento City College. The zoo and William Land Park—the biggest park in the city—are at one end, and the Sacramento River Trail is at the other.
Much of that real estate is within Councilman Jay Schenirer’s district, and he believes this trail might be life-changing for many of his constituents. “It’s a matter of culture and habit,” he says. “For folks who live in these neighborhoods, this could make it easier and more fun for them to ride to work. On weekends, they might want to bike out to Old Sac.”
Retrieved July 5, 2018 from https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/10-million-bike-trail/content?oid=26507305