For over 6 months, KSQD volunteer Christine Barrington worked on answering a simple question: What’s the truth behind the story of rail and trail in Santa Cruz County?

After the first Measure D vote in 2016 confirming the citizen support for rail, which was followed by the contentious Measure D vote in 2022, Barrington wasn’t sure what to think. Were rail advocates just utopian dreamers? Were trail-only advocates property-owning schemers? Santa Cruz Local called the second Measure D vote a “rout,” showing strong support for both rail and trail. But Lookout points out that the “specter” of Measure D continues to haunt—and hobble—the County’s ability to bring about the result that a clear and overwhelming majority of citizens want.

This series of 4 episodes explores the real story with the real people who made the rail & trail project happen. With just a germ of an idea, County employees, elected officials, nonprofits, and volunteers slogged through years of opposition by an extreme minority of landowners to keep the project on the rails (so to speak!). Supported by housing equity advocates, environmentalists, cycling enthusiasts, and commuters alike, the project has been continually stalled and threatened by the actions of a select few.

We revisit these episodes in a time when a small cadre of County Supervisors once again are using “death by delay” to stop rail & trail from moving forward.

Rail-Trail Episodes:

#1) The Rail & Trail: Visiting the Past; Finding the Future
#2) The Rail & Trail Part 2: 2206-2018: George Dondero, Cory Caletti and John Leopold
#3)  Questions and Conundrums
#4) Friends of the Rail and Trail
Bonus show: Mitigating Environmental Impacts of the Rail and Trail with Senior Ecologist Justin Davilla