Proposed Pedestrian, Bicycle Trail Leads to Controversy

SACRAMENTO -- The Del Rio Train Plan encompasses 4 1/2 miles, starting in the area of the Sacramento Zoo, moving south to the Pocket and Meadowview area, intersecting Freeport Boulevard, then moving under I-5 to the water tower in South Sacramento.

"This will connect not only residents, but it will also connect businesses, schools, they’re preschools along the way, commercial areas and it will connect the river bike trail system as well,” said Brian Ebbert, President of Southland Park Neighborhood Association.

There's also miles and miles of old train tracks that've sat dormant for 40 years.

The plan for the trail would preserve its historical value, retaining 98 percent of those tracks.

The trail for pedestrians and bicyclists would run alongside those tracks in some parts, and on top of the tracks in other parts.

"This is one of those neighborhood amenities that everyone can enjoy, from children to seniors, to the disabled to just anyone in the community,” said Ebbert.

But the Railroad Museum Foundation would like to see those train tracks resurrected, redesigned and used for vintage locomotive tours.

FOX40 reached out to the foundation but didn't hear back from them.

That plan doesn't sit well with some residents along the tracks.

"I don't like the idea of a train behind me. But if it’s only coming now and then, I can get that. it's not really gonna bother me. But it doesn't pencil out,” stated Jeff Hunt, 14-year original home owner in the neighborhood.

Some homeowners are concerned about the noise.

"We would never have any peace, if the trains are constantly going back and forth. That would be the big thing. We have a little one too. She would actually never sleep, neither would we,” said Joann Baishiki, homeowner.

And some are worried about the environmental impact of those old tracks.

"It is environmentally toxic to have these vintage trains running through people's backyards, next door to preschools, churches, homes, businesses. It's not compatible,” said Ebbert.

The deadline is Monday for the community to submit concerns to be included in the Environmental Impact Report.

Supporters are hoping for the report to be completed by the fall and work to begin on the trail within 18 months.