SACRAMENTO — Many residents in South Land Park have been looking forward to a new bike and walking trail coming to their neighborhood.
“It’s a great community amenity and benefit to the region,” said South Land Park Neighborhood Association President Brian Ebbert.
The proposed Del Rio Trail project would bring five miles of trail to South Land Park, connecting South Sacramento to the city’s downtown.
It’s a plan Ebbert said the community overwhelmingly supports.
“Over 2,700 residents were polled, 83 percent support this trail project,” Ebbert told FOX40.
The trail would run alongside old train tracks currently not used by Sacramento Regional Transit.
However, the project would also remove nearly 2 percent of existing rail, raising concern among train advocates.
“Once you lose it, it’s gone forever,” said Cheryl Marcell, CEO and president of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation.
Marcell said she supports the idea of the bike trail but also wants to maintain the old train tracks for future use.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to partner, we think,” she said. “We just want to preserve the rail for any future operational flexibility and that may be an occasional train coming back into Old Sacramento to get some maintenance and repair. But a very occasional purpose of using the tracks that’s in that middle section in South Land Park.”
She said future train activity would not involve passengers.
Still, the majority of residents in South Land Park who gathered Wednesday night at a neighborhood meeting said they did not want trains passing through their neighborhood, pointing to increased pollution and noise.
“Our house backs up into the Rio trails and that would be a lot of noise and possible derailment, who knows what, but it wouldn’t be a very good thing, I don’t think,” said South Land Park resident Brian McNamara.
Most people FOX40 spoke with say they can get behind the trail itself. They say it would give families a place to be active and enjoy nature in their backyards.
“Everyone can utilize this trail versus an excursion trail, which has negative impacts,” Ebbert said.
A tourist train was rejected by the state in 2014.
The trail project is up for a vote by the Sacramento City Council next week.