Bike groups support trail to
link Sebastopol and Petaluma
Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, Sebastopol TrailMakers, BikeWalk Sebastopol, and citizens of Petaluma have come together in support of Sonoma County Regional Parks’ efforts to build a visionary trail. The Petaluma Sebastopol Trail is an 11-mile, paved, multi-use trail that will link the cities of Sebastopol and Petaluma. The trail will offer a safe, dedicated route for transportation and recreation by people who walk, bike, use wheelchairs, ride horses, and use other non-motorized modes.
“This trail is one of the most important in our Countywide bicycle pedestrian network,” says Sandra Lupien, Outreach Director at Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. “It could reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions, improve public health, create safe routes to schools, and stimulate the economy. That’s why we’re putting energy extra energy behind the Petaluma Sebastopol Trail.”
Now local residents and businesses can help make the trail a reality.
Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, a 10 year-old non-profit organization, is leading a six-week campaign to raise $19,000 in local matching funds by March 15, 2012 in support of a $190,000 grant proposal to be submitted by Regional Parks through Caltrans. The grant will fund a feasibility study of the planned “Petaluma Sebastopol Trail Project.” This study is the necessary next step toward creating the trail, which has been designated as a high priority project in the 2010 Sonoma County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, and is part of Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Regional Bicycle Network for the Bay Area.
“These groups,” says Ken Tam, a Sonoma County Regional Parks Planner, “play a key role in raising funds and supporting a project that will improve the quality of life for Sonoma County residents. With their help, I am confident that we can raise the 10% local match required for the Community Based Transportation Grant.”
The groups have already raised $10,000 toward the $19,000 goal, including commitments from Santa Rosa Cycling Club, Sebastopol Sunrise Rotary Club, and the City of Sebastopol.
The Petaluma Sebastopol Trail is a community-based effort, and will be the result of years of collaboration by citizens, community organizations, businesses, and local government.
Lynn Deedler is a Sebastopol resident who has been researching a trail like this for years, including a connection within Sebastopol City Limits. “It looks great,” he says, “to see this trail that I have been dreaming about printed on a County map. I think it’s going to happen.”
Bicycling between Sebastopol and Petaluma is a reasonable distance for many people, however, many are deterred by the lack of a dedicated route.
“For years, I’ve wished for a route,” says Joe Morgan, a member of the Petaluma Wheelmen Cycling Club, “that makes it safe and accessible for bicyclists of all levels to ride between Petaluma and Sebastopol; this trail will provide that route. I hope my neighbors in Petaluma and Sebastopol will support the project by contributing to the matching fund.”
Morgan is an avid cyclist, but the Petaluma Sebastopol Trail will benefit all types of users.
“My 7 year old wants to ride her bike to school, but we live on the South side of town and it simply is not safe for her to ride on 116,” says Larkin Morgan, a mother of two living in Sebastopol. “And, an off-road trail would mean a world of difference and the momma bear in me could relax a little while pedaling downtown for school or shopping.” Morgan has been working with Deedler as part of the citizens group, Sebastopol TrailMakers.
Those wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to the matching fund can do so online at www.bikesonoma.org (Click on the article titled “You can help link Petaluma and Sebastopol for Bikes!”); it is also possible to download a donation form at this link to mail along with a check. To receive a donation form by mail, call 707-545-0153 or emailSandra@Bikesonoma.org.
If CalTrans does not fund Regional Parks’ application, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition will hold the matching fund for one more round of applications (in 2013); if the project is not funded at that time, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition will contact donors to ask if they’d like their donation refunded.
Love the idea of a more bicycle-friendly County? Support SCBC with a tax-deductible donation.