.Letter to the Editor: Rail for Mom

A letter to the editor of Good Times

Re: “A County Divided”: My mother was known as the Mother of California Bike Trails for her early and successful advocacy to use part of the gas tax to support bikeways. Her first bike advocacy project connected our semi-rural community to the more urban areas, giving cyclists a safe path far from the high-speed traffic. She wanted everyone to be safe on their bicycle, not just those accustomed to watching over their shoulder for speeding vehicles. 

Her commitment to safety and access led her to write three popular trail guides to Bay Area trails and take countless community members on hikes where she was known for her kind smile and welcoming manner. She was a visionary environmentalist who helped save thousands of acres of the Santa Cruz mountains from development, leading to parks we all enjoy now.

My mom passed on recently at 101, leaving three generations of the family in Santa Cruz Co. As she aged, she watched carefully as the Santa Cruz County rail corridor project came into being, excited about the possibilities, and I think of her perspective now as we weigh our options.

Will we give future generations the option of clean light rail and have a trail next to it, or make a path that would be mostly recreational while condemning our neighbors in South County to ever-longer commutes?

Will we keep open the possibility of connecting commuter rail to our bus system and increasing ridership by 150%, or eliminate all possibility of even planning for rail transit and build an extra-wide bike path that won’t help small children, people with disabilities, or those carrying packages get from one town to the next?

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My mom was committed to preserving the beauty of our region for future generations, and to making the best our community can provide available to everyone, not just a few. She loved the idea of rail and trail, a simple choice to keep our options open, serve our people and safeguard our climate. Let’s listen to her wisdom, and Vote NO on D.

Kaki Rusmore

Santa Cruz


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14 COMMENTS

  1. I’m voting NO on Measure D because rail and trail serve far more people and will be built.
    Measure D changes the County General Plan which requires stopping the approved trail project and starting all over. It took ten years to begin construction, we can’t afford to add another ten years.

    And, keeping the tracks in place for something like last October’s fabulous Coast Futura streetcar service would work for people in wheelchairs, the blind, the young and elderly, and keep people free from congestion.

    Thank you Kaki! https://www.coastfutura.org

      • No, upgrade the tracks and it’ll go just as fast as the Muni and VTA in an urban corridor: 25 mph. It took the Tig-M on class one tracks to get from the Boardwalk to Capitola in 20 minutes. Try driving that distance in that time at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. It’ll take 40 minutes! On class two tracks, that’ll be a 10 minute trolley ride! It’ll be an hour from Pajaro Junction to Swift Street. It’s taking ninety minutes by car to drive from Watsonville to Santa Cruz at 8am on weekdays because of all the traffic. It’s about time there was a great alternative, light rail. Also, Greenway is a scam: the cat’s out of the bag about the grift, those owning property next to the tracks suing the feds for having the tracks torn out if D passes. Vote No on D! It’s a Royal Scam if I can borrow from Steely Dan!

        • OH? Look at this GT article:

          https://www.goodtimes.sc/who-really-controls-railbanking/

          Christina Locke, Bay View owner in Aptos and staunch No on D advocate doesn’t mind making money from her land/rail easements. Is she a grifter? She likes to chisel, I mean, negotiate.

          “Locke says she was originally offered just $10,000, but held out for more.

          She finally agreed after the company offered to pay her at least $250,000, she says. Bristow disputes the way Locke characterized the deal, but multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations told Good Times the figure is in the correct range.

          Local planners say they aren’t sure how many people hold what titles along the entirety of the rail corridor.

          Luckily for them, Locke is enamored with the historic nature of having trains pass by.

          “I’d be willing to sell part of my land for that,” she says.”

  2. “My mother was known as the Mother of California Bike Trails for her early and successful advocacy to use part of the gas tax to support bikeways. Her first bike advocacy project connected our semi-rural community to the more urban areas, giving cyclists a safe path far from the high-speed traffic. She wanted everyone to be safe on their bicycle, not just those accustomed to watching over their shoulder for speeding vehicles. ”

    Seems like she twisted her mother’s legacy around to suit her own wishes.

  3. Those who came before us created the world we live in today. I’m grateful to your mom and others of her generation for the positive changes they made. I am taking your mom’s advice and will vote NO on D. I want to leave the next generations more options not fewer. Thank you.

  4. I would like to support the opinion of Kaki Rusmore. Measure D closes off so many opportunities which perhaps to some at the moment don’t see as important. As a former avid bike rider, I am now 77 and would not be able to ride a trail from Aptos to Santa Cruz. But voting NO on D would allow me to take the train to SC. We need to keep the opportunities and options open so that all will benefit in the future – and voting NO will ensure that the bike trail will happen much sooner than if Measure D were to pass.

  5. If you had read Measure D, and specifically the RTC counsel’s report on the Measure, you would know that nothing in the Measure prevents the RTC from continuing to study and seek funding for future transit. Had you walked the corridor, you would also see that much of it is too narrow for a trail and rail, and since these tracks will have to be replaced (over 100 years old, some second hand) it doesn’t make much sense to spend millions ($100M est.) to build around tracks we can never use. What are your thoughts on riding 8′ from a speeding train? How soon do you think we might be building it? And finally, how are we going to pay for it? How about a more realistic interim trail while we work all these long range items out?

  6. “My mother was known as the Mother of California Bike Trails for her early and successful advocacy to use part of the gas tax to support bikeways. Her first bike advocacy project connected our semi-rural community to the more urban areas, giving cyclists a safe path far from the high-speed traffic. She wanted everyone to be safe on their bicycle, not just those accustomed to watching over their shoulder for speeding vehicles. ”

    Seems that Kaki Rusmore is not remembering her mother’s legacy by advocating for a far-in-the future “light rail.”

  7. Advocates for trails, open space, and public transit work for the benefit of their communities for the long term. How we vote now on Measure D will have a profound effect on residents and tourists for many years. Let’s keep our options open and keep building a trail which will allow zero emission, quiet rail transit later.

    Voting NO will ensure that the design, permit reviews/approvals, funding and construction continue for the trail underway now, adjacent to the tracks. A yes vote would ensure all of this is stopped, and planning for the very different proposed trail will have to start completely over. RTC documentation has shown that would take at least 8 years.

    For a trail sooner, vote NO on D!

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