A Vision to Connect Every Community in the Sacramento Region by 2050
The Sacramento Regional Trail Network brings more access to walking, biking, and rolling options
May 23, 2022: Imagine we are in the year 2050. Because of the coordination between cities, counties, and planning partners, the Sacramento Regional Trail Network has been successfully implemented. Now, instead of a daily car ride to work, school, or the store, or to meet up with friends, folks can walk or bike across city and county boundaries to get to their desired location. This network has allowed community members and visitors alike to change their travel behaviors, which has resulted in less traffic, better air quality, more access, and better mental and physical health. The vitality and livability of the Sacramento region has blossomed due to the increased connections that the regional trail network provides.
By 2050, the added trails will have stimulated the economy by bringing in maintenance and construction jobs, attracting tourists, and providing connections to other regional attractions. Ginny McCormick with the Friends of El Dorado Trail can see the Sacramento Regional Trail Network doing just that: “In El Dorado County, like many other parts of our region, you can experience year-round adventures. In the spring you can use the trails to check out the wildflowers, in the summer you can use the trails to access white-water rafting, and in fall you can enjoy Mother Nature’s firework show as you use the paths to access many different local wineries.” These additional trails will not just improve our region’s connectedness, but they will create exciting opportunities for locals and visitors alike to access other amenities.
As of 2022 there are 672 miles of multiuse paths in our region. The Sacramento Regional Trail Network will leverage nearly 300 of those miles to make regional connections. In total, more than 800 miles will be added to the network. Of those 800 miles, 400 miles have been identified to be paved trails, 170 miles will be informal and unpaved, and 250 miles are trail study corridors that need a little more planning to determine precisely where they will be located.
Current access to trails, however, is not equal. An analysis conducted in 2020 concluded that connected trail access for lower-income residents was 30 percent less than for average- and higher-income residents in our region. The regional trail network addresses this by planning for low-stress active transportation access for disadvantaged populations to parks and other community destinations. “The Sacramento region has a very diverse population, and providing disadvantaged communities more access and connections is a great start to advancing equity in our region,” said Pristina Zhang, project manager with Civic Thread, an organization focused on transportation and environmental justice in underserved communities. Furthermore, Zhang added that as access and connectivity are increased, it is important to ensure that BIPOC residents are welcomed and feel safe while using the network.
Our northern neighbors at the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship are embarking on a similar path to stimulate their economy. “Outdoor recreation is a $887 billion industry, and we plan to bring that money to our local businesses by creating a network of trails spanning over 15 mountain towns to attract tourists,” stated Alex Terry, Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s Connected Communities coordinator. “When people use trails, they stop in town to resupply, get a hot meal, and purchase necessary parts for their equipment. The money spent in our small towns will support fire recovery and prevention efforts, and benefit local businesses.” By improving recreation and travel opportunities, the Sacramento Regional Trail Network is expected to reap some of the same economic benefits.
In the future, the new proposed trails will increase access to trails for more than 850,000 residents, support healthy lifestyles, and connect people to important destinations tied to economic vitality efforts. Once these trails are implemented, our region will see many benefits and we will be open to even more opportunities in the future. Now it is up to cities and counties to move forward with the implementation of these proposed trails.
Are you ready? Let’s Ready, Set, Trails!
Visit www.ReadySetTrails.com to learn more.