Help Us Create a Golden Corridor of Walking and Biking Through the Ukiah Valley
We live in an incredibly beautiful place, but too often it's behind locked gates. The unused railroad corridor through the center of Ukiah could be a place for us to get outside and walk and bike, but it lies dormant, decaying, and inaccessible. Why can't we put this asset to good use? Why can't we walk and bike here?
We can. As laid out in their Master Plan, the City of Ukiah plans to establish the trail as the centerpiece of a park and regional active transportation network. The key to unlocking this gate is "railbanking." Railbanking is a land use designation that allows for rail corridors to be used as trails while preserving the ability to reestablish the railroad in the future if it becomes economically feasible.
There are approximately two miles of trail currently traversing the city, and any future expansion now hinges on a decision before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in Washington D.C. The STB has the authority to railbank the corridor.
There are funding opportunities to do this! The City of Ukiah has funding to extend the trail another two miles to the south. While there is no funding available for re-establishing rail service, there is funding for trails and parks. These trail projects will be much more expensive, and in many cases impossible, without the ability to remove the rails allowed by railbanking.
This section of rail has been dormant for decades, and there is no plan to resume running trains in this area. Reliable estimates suggest a trail from Hopland to Redwood Valley would generate $20 million in economic benefit per year to the area. Please join us in calling on the STB to open this public asset to public use through railbanking.
I support railbanking so we can extend the Great Redwood Trail as a highly valuable community asset and allow the trail to serve as the centerpiece of a regional active transportation network.