FAQ on Measure L
Q: Does Measure L express the desire of the Capitola voters to keep bikes and pedestrians on a trail over the Capitola trestle?
A: YES. Measure L is the only opportunity for the voters of Capitola to express their opinion directly to keep the trail on the trestle.
Q: Will a YES on L vote “save” the historic trestle?
A: YES. The long-term plan of the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is to tear down the existing historic trestle and replace it with a new structure (MBSST pg. 4-61).
On Oct. 25, 2018, George Dondero, Executive Director for the RTC stated:
“Initially, the trail would have to be connected to existing city streets and bike lanes on sidewalks, but with the intent that at some point the trestle will have to be replaced. The RTC is looking at redesign, a new design, for a new trestle through the city that would accommodate both trains and the trail.”
Q: Does Measure L “tie the hands of the City Council”?
A: No. Measure L states very clearly that it will “harmonize with and strengthen the City of Capitola’s General Plan and Coastal Plan.” The California Coastal Commission agrees, writing in its letter of August 9, 2018: “We would not interpret the Initiative language to prevent the City from providing much needed bicycle and/or pedestrian access from Cliff Drive, through the Village core, and up to Park Avenue.”
Q: Does a YES on L vote put Capitola “last in line” for public rail trail funds?
A: No, this statement is false and fabricated by the No on L campaign as a scare tactic. We are seeing a lot of “fear campaigning” on the national level and it’s unfortunate that the No on L campaign is engaging in this type of activity locally. No public agency like the RTC can allocate funds based on political grievances.
Q: Will a YES on L vote improve public safety for children and families?
A: YES. Many children use the Capitola trestle to go to New Brighton Middle School today. By using the trestle for bikes and pedestrians—which means pulling up and recycling the steel rails and providing a flat surface and railings on the trestle—it will clearly improve safety for children and families.
Q: Will a YES on L vote improve traffic congestion in the Village?
A: YES, a trail constructed on the Capitola trestle will help the Village. If the current RTC plan is followed, bikes and pedestrians will be funneled through Capitola Village leading to increased traffic congestion.
Q: Will a YES on L vote improve beach and bluff access?
A: YES. The current RTC plan calls for freight trains through Capitola neighborhoods, which could start as early as 2019 (Progressive Rail Administration Coordination and License Agreement approved by RTC June 14, 2018). Long-term, if a trail next to the rail line is ever built, it will require a cyclone fence (MBSST pg.-60) to be constructed from one end of Capitola to the other, essentially dividing the city in half and preventing beach and bluff access at many current locations.
Q: Will a YES on L vote result in any change to the current RTC plan, since it owns the trestle?
A: YES. A strong YES vote will send a resounding message to RTC Commissioners that the wasteful train plan—completely unfunded and costing over $1 BILLION over 30 years (UCS pgs. 151-152)—should be abandoned and a beautiful transit-oriented Greenway for bikes and pedestrians should be implemented without further delay. Capitola has two representatives on the RTC and this vote will direct its Commissioners to heed the will of the people.
Q: Isn’t the train already planned?
A: Proponents of No on L want you to believe that the “train plan” is already heading down the tracks. There is NO plan for a train. Why?
A passenger train is completely unfunded and would cost over $1 BILLION.
There would have to be hundreds of decisions made and new taxes passed and raised before a train could be a reality, best case in 15-20 years.
Even the RTC’s expensive narrow trail plan is only 30% funded because of escalating costs related to complexity and environmental degradation. Measure D allocates $85M for a trail yet the cost of the RTC’s trail-next-to-rail is $282M (UCS pg. 158).
$85M Measure D funds / $282M cost = only 30% funded.
Capitola voters have a real chance to change the direction of the RTC’s unfunded train fantasy.
Q: I heard the just completed Unified Corridors Study cost over $1 MILLION. Is that correct?
A: Yes, at 225 pages, that’s over $4,000 per page! We can expect the same type of waste to continue if we don’t stop this runaway train now.