The bicycle trail that runs along the railroad tracks in San Luis Obispo could take pedestrians and cyclists all the way from downtown to Cal Poly's campus by the end of next year. And a footbridge to carry people over Highway 101 should follow close behind.
When it's finished, the railroad trail will span the entire city, following the tracks from Orcutt Road on the southeastern edge to Foothill Boulevard in the north.
The project has been stalled. Only one of five sections of the trail has been completed, along with the Jennifer Street Bridge, which crosses the train tracks near the Amtrak station. But now, the railroad trail is finding new momentum. The city has secured funding for a segment that will connect it to the existing segment and move travelers to Marsh Street.
Cal Poly has also offered to pave a section that links Foothill Boulevard and Highway 101. At an April 15 City Council hearing, the city initiated engineering for a bridge to span the highway.
When that's done, all that will be left--the so-called "missing link"--is 500 feet between 101 and Marsh, and the SLO Rotary has made funding that stretch its personal project.
"It was like an orphan," said Jan Howell Marx, explaining the group's decision to take on the more-than-$350,000 project. Marx, a past City Council member who hopes to secure one of two seats available in the next election, is heading up the project as chair of Rotary's Clean and Green Project.
On May 6, the group plans to present the council with the first $50,000. They hope to raise another $50,000 at their spring fundraiser, and the rest, well, Rotary is hoping that it will trickle in.