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Full text of Measure D

The People of the County of Santa Cruz hereby ordain and enact as follows: 

Section 1. Title.

This measure shall be known and may be cited as the Santa Cruz County Greenway Initiative (“Initiative”).

Section 2. Findings and Declarations.

The People of the County of Santa Cruz (“County”) find and declare as follows:

1. The Santa Cruz Branch Line Corridor (“Corridor”) represents a substantial asset for the County, but despite multiple studies costing millions of dollars conducted over decades to study its use as a commuter rail corridor, it is still not being utilized for commuter service.

2. The Initiative supports a plan for interim use of most of the Corridor as a high-quality, multi-use trail (“Greenway”). The Greenway would allow for commuting, active transportation, and recreation while preserving the option for future rail use through railbanking, a federal program that allows an existing rail corridor to be used as a trail and leaves certain infrastructure, including bridges and trestles, for potential future rail use.

3. Interim development of the Greenway will provide safe routes to schools and work, connect neighborhoods, and reduce traffic congestion.

4. Numerous examples from other communities nationwide show the popularity and wisdom of public investments in pedestrian and bike-friendly infrastructure.

5. There are existing funds available through Measure D, the sales tax dedicated to transportation passed by the voters in 2016, for development of the Greenway.

Section 3. Purpose and Intent.

In enacting this Initiative, the people of the County do hereby declare it is their purpose and intent to amend the County General Plan and Local Coastal Program to support the following policies:

1. Support the development and interim use of the Corridor between the San Lorenzo Bridge in the City of Santa Cruz and Lee Road in the City of Watsonville as a high-quality, multi-use Greenway for commuting, active transportation, and recreation for people to walk, run, bike and use personal mobility devices.

2. Prioritize interim use of existing trestles and railbed for the Greenway, while preserving future rail options through railbanking.

3. Preserve the use of a portion of the Corridor for existing freight service in Watsonville, existing Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific Railway recreational service, and a future Watsonville/Pajaro Junction station.

 

Section 4. General Plan and Local Coastal Program (“LCP”) Amendments.

This Initiative hereby amends the Circulation Element of the General Plan and Local Coastal Program (hereinafter “General Plan”) of the County. Text to be inserted in the General Plan is indicated in bold/italics type, and text to be deleted is indicated in strikethrough type. Text in standard type currently appears in the General Plan and is not changed or readopted by this Initiative.

Amend pages 3-13 to 3-14, as follows:

Objective 3.7 Rail Facilities and Greenway Planning

To encourage and support the transformation of a portion of the Santa Cruz Branch Line Corridor (“Corridor”) for interim use as a high-quality, multi-use Greenway, while preserving future rail options through railbanking. As used in this General Plan, “Greenway” shall mean a trail between the San Lorenzo Bridge in the City of Santa Cruz and Lee Road in the City of Watsonville for commuting, active transportation, and recreation by pedestrians, bicycles, wheelchairs, e-bikes, skateboards, and personal e-mobility that includes two lanes of wheeled traffic on a paved path, a divider, and a separate walkway for pedestrians, with a shoulder on both sides. To preserve and protect the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Railway (owned by RTC) and the Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific Railway rail corridors for current seasonal recreational travel, for availability to carry freight, for possible future passenger rail transportation, and other transportation purposes. To encourage for possible future connectivity to intra-County rail facilities including AMTRAK and High Speed Passenger Rail, using the Greenway, Metro bus service, and other transit options. for recreational and other transportation purposes.

Policies

3.7.1 Rail Ridership Potential Compatible Development

(LCP) Ensure that new development adjacent to rail lines or the Greenway is compatible with the General Plan and LCP Land Use Plan objective Objective 3.7to preserve and protect existing railroad right-of-way and existing rail facilities for current seasonal recreational travel, for availability to carry freight, for possible future passenger rail service within the County, and for possible future passenger rail transportation for intra-County commuter use.

3.7.2 Noise Protection

(LCP) Require the design of new development near existing rail lines to minimize the impact of existing and potential rail system noise and to provide appropriate setbacks for new development.

3.7.3 Greenway Rail-Trail Planning – Santa Cruz/Watsonville

Support development of the RTC-owned Corridor, including existing trestles and railbed, rail corridor for use as the Greenway. While development of the full multi-lane Greenway is encouraged where feasible, support reduced Greenway widths where necessary to accommodate physical barriers, minimize environmental impacts, or avoid the need for new infrastructure, like major retaining walls, in order to reduce costs and expedite implementation. passenger transit, recreational, and goods movement; as well as. Support development of the Greenway as part of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail and in County plans. as a bicycle/pedestrian trail, with improvements to move forward as they are determined by the RTC to be feasible, fundable, and deemed to meet current or future transportation needs.

3.7.4  Rail Planning – Watsonville/Pajaro Junction

Support a station at Watsonville/Pajaro junction to be used by inter-region Amtrak (Pacific Coast and San Francisco Bay Area – Monterey County), future High Speed Passenger Rail, and other future commuter trains. Support extension of bicycle and pedestrian access, Metro bus service and private bus service to station.

3.7.5  Rail and Greenway Corridor Safety

Require any future development adjacent to or near the railroad right-of-way (ROW) or the Greenway to be planned with the public safety of the rail corridor in mind. New developments may increase traffic volumes not only on streets and at intersections, but also at at-grade crossings. This includes considering pedestrian circulation patterns or destinations with respect to railroad ROW and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Where rail use exists, mitigation Mitigation measures to consider include, but are not limited to, planning for and incorporating grade separations for major thoroughfares as feasible, improvements to existing at-grade crossings to accommodate increases in traffic volumes, and continuous vandal-resistant fencing or other appropriate barriers to limit the access of pedestrians and trespassers onto the railroad ROW.

3.7.6  Rail Services – Felton to Santa Cruz

Support enhanced rail service from Felton to Santa Cruz, including station development at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

3.7.7  Rail Planning – Around the Hill

Support passenger rail service between the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Cruz via Gilroy and Watsonville/Pajaro to serve recreational and inter-regional travel.

Programs

a. Encourage and support RTC and other agencies to study and develop the Greenway and to include the Greenway in planning documents, including regional transportation plans and plans for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail. Identify land use policies which will support future passenger rail use and prepare recommendations for General Plan and LCP Land Use Plan amendments at such time passenger rail use is approved and funded. (Responsibility: Planning Department, Regional Transportation Commission, Board of Supervisors)

b. Participate in planning and consider funding for fixed guideway/rail service in the Santa Cruz/Watsonville corridor. (Responsibility: Planning Department, Public Works, Regional Transportation Commission, SCMTD, Board of Supervisors)

c. If initiated by the RTC or other agencies, participate in a Santa Cruz to Los Gatos rail study and an around the hill recreational and commuter or passenger rail service study. (Responsibility: Planning Department, Public Works, Regional Transportation Commission)

Section 5. Conforming Amendments.

In light of the amendments set forth above in Section 4 of this Initiative, the General Plan is hereby further amended as set forth below in order to promote internal consistency among the various sections of the General Plan. Text to be inserted in the General Plan is indicated in bold/italics type, and text to be deleted is indicated in strikethrough type. Text in standard type currently appears in the General Plan and is not changed or readopted by this Initiative. The language in the following amendments may be further amended without a vote of the people in the course of future updates and revisions to the General Plan, provided that any such amendments do not conflict with provisions of Section 4 of this Initiative.

Amend the fourth paragraph on Page 3-3, under the heading “SUMMARY OF THE ELEMENT,” as follows:

The Goals and Strategy section provides an overall framework for the Circulation Element and coordinates policies for different modes. It includes goals regarding Balanced Transportation, Transportation Financing, and Minimizing Impacts.

The Transportation System Management (TSM) section is the cornerstone of the Circulation Element and Transportation Planning in general. TSM addresses the need to make more efficient use of the existing transportation system both through low cost, “fine tuning” improvements and through efforts to promote alternatives to driving alone, especially during the peak periods. The TSM section relates to different modes of travel and includes application of a trip reduction ordinance. Throughout the element, the provision of transit, pedestrian, and bicycle facilities is stressed.

The Parking section discusses the provision of adequate, convenient parking facilities, but also addresses the role of parking management in discouraging unnecessary auto use. It also encourages parking supply which is more efficiently utilized and located to minimize costs and environmental impacts.

The Transit section provides policies and programs that cover development of the transit system, promoting transit, and increasing mobility and active transportation rail service development. Increased transit services are called for, including specialized services and facilities for low-mobility groups such as disabled persons and the elderly. Transit is to be encouraged through bus passes, carpool programs, and subscription bus services to large employers and tourist activity areas. The Rail and Greenway Planning portion of the element describes passenger rail lines on the Santa Cruz-Watsonville corridor and connections to Santa Clara and Monterey Counties the potential use of the Santa Cruz Branch Line Corridor for the Greenway, as defined in Objective 3.7.

The Bicycle/Pedestrian section includes policies and programs regarding the promotion of bicycle use, bicycle safety, and pedestrian facilities. Bicycle facilities, including pathways and secure parking, are required as part of new development. A yearly development program for the County Bikeway System, as well as education, registration, and bikeway maintenance programs, are proposed.

The Streets and Highways section includes policies and programs covering the road system, capacity, Level of Service (LOS), neighborhood traffic control, signage, safety, recreation access, and minimizing impacts. Local, collector, and arterial streets are defined and standards are set for access and interior circulation. A set of roadway improvements are recommended, with additional details to be supplied by the Live Oak and Pajaro Valley Community Plans. A formal Level of Service policy is suggested to limit congestion and require mitigating improvements by development projects. The concentration of commercial uses, and development of mixed uses and neighborhood facilities are encouraged.

The Commodities Movement section includes policies and programs calling for standards and requirements for truck use and access.

A final Implementation section discusses staging of improvements, funding and responsibilities, and plan revision processes.

Separate illustrations in the Circulation Element are provided for the Aptos, Soquel, Live Oak, Carbonera/Felton, and Pajaro Valley areas. These indicate current and planned functional street classifications, major roadway improvements, major transit facility locations, and existing and planned bikeways.

Local Coastal Program (LCP) Land Use Plan policies and programs related to shoreline access are included. Specific LCP Land Use Plan policies and programs are noted by the initials LCP.

Amend page 3-4, under the heading “GOALS AND STRATEGIES,” as follows:

TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM GOALS

The following are goals for improving the transportation system. These relate to the objectives, policies and programs listed later in the element.

  • Transportation System: Provide a convenient, safe, and economical transportation system for the movement of people and goods, promoting the wise use of resources, particularly energy and clean air, and the health and comfort of residents.
  • Mode Choice: Provide the public with choice in transportation modes on a well-integrated system.
  • Limit Increase in Auto Use: Limit the increase in auto usage to minimize adverse impacts. Increase transit ridership, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, and bicycling, etc.
  • Efficiency: Provide for more efficient use of existing transportation facilities.
  • Regional Goals: Coordinate the development Meet the requirements of regional plans, such as the Congestion Management Program, Air Quality Management Plan and Regional Transportation Plan, to promote consistency with the County General Plan/LCP policies. Integrate planning for transportation, land use, and air quality goals.
  • Parking: Manage parking supply to provide reasonably convenient parking for groups such as shoppers, and visitors who are most sensitive to the parking supply levels, while encouraging alternatives to solo commuting and limiting impacts on neighborhoods.
  • Access: Provide for the special transportation needs of the elderly and disabled.
  • Bikeway System: Develop and implement a comprehensive bikeway system that promotes bicycle travel as a viable transportation mode and meets the recreation and travel needs of the citizens of Santa Cruz County. Encourage and support development of the Greenway and protected bike paths.
  • Safety: Reduce the number and severity of bicycle accidents.
  • Finance: Plan a system within the County’s ability to finance and operate, distributing the costs of transportation system improvements equitably among Santa Cruz County and neighboring jurisdictions.
  • Aesthetics: Minimize impacts on visual, historic, and archaeological resources.
  • Coordination: Coordinate transportation improvements in area plans with the General Plan and LCP Land Use Plan and regional transportation plans.

Amend page 3-20 under the heading “Programs” for “RECREATION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT”, as follows:

3-20 a. Consider the Support development of the Greenway Southern Pacific right-of-way for bicycle, pedestrian, equestrian (where feasible), and other modes of active transportation. travel consistent with freight service operations and planning for passenger rail. (Responsibility: Planning Department, County Parks)

b. In development of the Trails Master Plan, County Parks shall develop guidelines for the safe use of “mountain bikes”, and identify suitable areas for their use while reducing the potential for conflicts with other trail users. Design these trails to connect with other on road trails. (Responsibility: County Parks)

(LCP) c. Update the County Code to allow for bicycle rental concessions in conjunction with established park-and-ride beach shuttle parking services as part of ongoing County transportation programs. (Responsibility: Planning Department)

d. Request the State of California and the County of Santa Clara to provide a safe bicycle route between the town of Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County and the Sanborn Park Youth Hostel location and Santa Cruz County. (Responsibility: Transportation Commission, Planning Department)

e. In accordance with regional bikeway funding programs (Senate Bills 244 and 821, etc.), grant priority to those projects which improve bicycle access to employment centers, educational facilities, and commercial developments with secondary priority given to recreational areas and users. (Responsibility: Public Works, Transportation Commission, Planning Department)

(LCP) f. Pursue additional state and federal funding for the Bikeway System, including funding to initiate a program to pay for placement of bicycle parking facilities by public and private agencies. (Responsibility: Public Works, Board of Supervisors)

Amend Policy 3.17.3 for Objective 3.17 “Commodities Movement”, on page 3-51, as follows:

3.17.3 Rail/Air Efficient Commodity Movement

Encourage commercial, industrial, and agricultural developments to utilize rail and/or air cargo for efficient commodity movement.

Amend the “Programs” for Objective 3.17 “Commodities Movement”, on page 3-52, as follows:

Programs

a. Institute a system of truck routes which limit truck traffic on collectors and local streets and in recreational areas to delivery and utility service trucks as much as possible. (Responsibility: Public Works, Board of Supervisors)

b. Where rail use exists, continue Continue the program to upgrade railroad crossings.(Responsibility: Public Works)

c. Where rail use exists, Protect protect railroad rights-of-way from the intrusion of parked vehicles. (Responsibility: Public Works)

d. Where rail use exists, Protect protect railroad rights-of-way by identifying the need for and developing Public Utilities Commission approved pedestrian crossings. (Responsibility: Public Works)

e. Support the continued operation of cargo service at the Watsonville Airport. (Responsibility: Board of Supervisors)

f. Adopt as part of regular updates of the General Plan and LCP Land Use Plan, land use policies and programs which:

• Increase the potential for movement of goods by rail in Watsonville.

• Encourage the use of air freight.

• Provide for major shipping activities along arterial.

• Require use of rail for the movement of goods to the maximum extent possible. 

(Responsibility: Planning Department, Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors)

g. Continue and expand the use of discretionary permit conditions regulating the amount of bulk commodities such as sand, gravel, cement and lumber that must be shipped by rail. (Responsibility: Planning Department, Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors)

h. Require commercial facilities located near existing rail to retain access for rail shipping facilities.

(Responsibility: Planning Department, Public Works, Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors)

Amend Policy 3.20.1 for Objective 3.20 “Plan Revision”, on page 3-56, as follows:

3.20.1 Respond to New Regional Plans Review and update the Circulation Element to be generally consistent with any major updates of key regional plans such as the Regional Transportation Plan or the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District Air Quality Management Plan where in conformance with General Plan/LCP objectives.

Section 6. Implementation.

A. The date that the notice of intention to circulate this Initiative measure was submitted to the County’s elections official is referenced herein as the “submittal date.” The General Plan in effect on the submittal date and the General Plan as amended by this Initiative comprise an integrated, internally consistent, and compatible statements of policies for the County. In order to ensure that nothing in this Initiative measure would prevent the County General Plan from being an integrated, internally consistent, and compatible statement of the policies of the County, as required by state law, and to ensure that the actions of the voters in enacting this Initiative are given effect, any amendment to the General Plan that is adopted between the submittal date and the date that the General Plan is amended by this Initiative measure shall, to the extent that such interim-enacted provision is inconsistent with the General Plan provisions of this Initiative, be amended as soon as possible and in the manner and time required by state law to ensure consistency between the provisions adopted by this Initiative and other elements of the General Plan.

B. The Board of Supervisors is hereby authorized and directed to amend the General Plan and, to the extent they are affected by this Initiative, all specific plans, zoning ordinances, zoning maps, Local Coastal Program policies, and any other ordinances and policies, as soon as possible and in the manner and time required by any applicable state law, to implement this Initiative, and to ensure consistency between the policies adopted in this Initiative and other elements of the foregoing laws and policies. The Board of Supervisors is hereby authorized and directed to request California Coastal Commission certification of any amendments to the Local Coastal Program necessary to implement this Initiative.

C. In the event the California Coastal Commission requests or proposes modifications to the provisions found in Section 4 or Section 5 of the Initiative prior to or as part of certification of any Local Coastal Program amendments included therein, the Board of Supervisors is permitted to adopt such modifications without a vote of the People provided that the Board finds that the modifications further the purpose and intent of the Initiative as set forth in Section 3.

D. The General Plan may be reorganized or readopted in different format, and individual provisions may be renumbered or reordered, in the course of ongoing updates of the General Plan, provided that the provisions of Section 4 of this Initiative shall remain in the General Plan, unless earlier repealed or amended by vote of the people of the County.

Section 7. Liberal Construction.

The provisions of this Initiative shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purposes. Nothing herein shall be construed to make illegal any lawful use being made of any land in compliance with all required permits in force before the effective date of this Initiative.

Section 8. Conflicting Law.

If this Initiative measure and another measure on the same subject matter appear on the same ballot, and a majority of the voters vote in favor of both measures but this measure receives more votes than the other measure, this measure alone shall become valid, binding, and adopted in its entirety, and the other measure shall be null and void in its entirety. If a majority of the voters vote in favor of both measures but this measure receives less votes than the other measure, only those provisions of the other measure that are in direct and irreconcilable conflict with the provisions of this measure shall control, and all other provisions of this measure shall become valid, binding, and adopted. The voters expressly declare this to be their intent, regardless of any contrary language in any other ballot measure.

Section 9. Severability.

If any portion of this Initiative is hereafter determined to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, all remaining portions of this Initiative shall remain in full force and effect. Each section, subsection, sentence, phrase, part, or portion of this Initiative would have been adopted and passed irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, phrases, parts of portions be declared invalid or unconstitutional.

Section 10. Amendment.

Except as otherwise provided herein, this Initiative may be amended only by a vote of the People at a County election. 1387388.1