Sacramento city wins court fight on bike trail that would link six neighborhoods

The city of Sacramento cleared a key legal hurdle Friday for a planned bike trail that would run through a half-dozen south Sacramento neighborhoods, offering residents a safer off-street passage between Meadowview and William Land Park.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles ruled for the city in a lawsuit filed by a group of rail preservationists who had claimed the city’s environmental review of the Del Rio Trail project was inadequate.

The Sacramento Rail Preservation Action Group filed the lawsuit in 2019 in part to stop the city from infringing on the remnant tracks that exist in the rail corridor to be used for the new trail. Rail aficionados say they hope to rehabilitate the tracks at some point for possible excursions trains. The tracks were used until 1978 for trains carrying farm products. The rails have fallen into disrepair, with several sections missing.

City officials counter they have tried to leave the tracks in place where they can, but need space to build what they say will be a major urban amenity, a 4.8-mile off-road bike trail that would run through parts of Land Park, South Land Park, Freeport Manor, Z’Berg, Pocket and Meadowview neighborhoods.

The corridor runs behind homes and businesses, parallel to and between Interstate 5 and Freeport Boulevard. The north terminus is at Sutterville Road near the Sacramento Zoo. The south terminus is at Meadowview Road.

City Councilman Steve Hansen said the city will now move forward on construction bids with a tentative timeline to have the trail constructed by 2022.

Officials, who have been pushing in recent years go build more bike paths in the city, say this off-street trail provides a rare opportunity for a lengthy urban commute and recreation route that is safer for cyclists than riding in streets with cars. City officials say the corridor will be usable as well by pedestrians, runners and dog walkers.

The project is supported by the South Land Park Neighborhood Association, which says it would be inappropriate and dangerous to run locomotives through residential neighborhoods, but said it intends to work on adding tributes rail history in the corridor.

The Sacramento Regional Transit District has agreed to hand ownership of the rail corridor to the city to construct the trail.

City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood, in a statement Friday, thanked the court “for recognizing the diligence the city has put into the planning of this project.”

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