After five years in the works, the Rincon Multi-use Trail, a 4,500-foot-long pedestrian and bicycle corridor planned around Carpinteria, is taking a step forward with the state recommending $6.8 million of funding.
The project is expected to begin construction in 2019, when the Caltrans Active Transportation Program grant money would be available, said SBCAG public information manager Gregg Hart.
The funding recommendation was made by staff with the California Transportation Commission, who narrow down projects seeking funding by scoring them against a rubric.
According to SBCAG, the funding decision will be considered by the commission in December.
Currently, the gap in the California Coastal Trail forces cyclists to navigate more dangerous or circuitous routes around or along Highway 101, the railroad track or inland.
The project’s west trailhead will sit by the intersection of Rincon Road and Carpinteria Avenue, where the trail will roll down the hill facing Highway 101, cross a bridge over the railroad tracks, and make its way down the bluffs to Rincon Beach Park and the California Coastal Trail.
“We are very pleased to have CTC staff support for funding the Rincon Multi-use Trail Project,” SBCAG Executive Director Jim Kemp said in a statement. “The project will provide a world-class trail to the world-class beach at Rincon.
“It completes a critical missing link of the California Coastal Trail and connects Santa Barbara’s South Coast to Ventura and Ojai for bicyclists and pedestrians.”
Hart said the project was part of the effort to put together the Linden and Casitas Pass Interchange Project, a $60-million, four-year construction project that involves upgrading bridges, and improving freeway access and bike and pedestrian routes.
That project, part of the larger Highway 101 widening project, includes reconstructing Highway 101 at Linden Avenue and widening the overcrossing to three lanes.
Construction is expected to take about a year, he said, and is slated to finish in 2020, before the Linden and Casitas Pass project is completed.
SBCAG has already contributed half a million dollars to the project for the coastal development permit process and for a California Environmental Quality Act document, Hart said.
Another $500,000, he added, is still needed for increased environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act, which is required because the ATP money includes federal dollars.
The project, which spans both Carpinteria and the county’s jurisdictions, still requires one more county coastal development permit, Hart said.