“I truly never thought this would happen in my lifetime. [This project] will give kids a chance to have a feeling of neighborhood.”
That’s how Pleasanton City Councilmember Cindy McGovern closed a public meeting earlier this month. During the meeting, councilmembers heard comments on a project to close the 1.6 mile gap in the Iron Horse Trail between the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station and Santa Rita Road.
The meeting turned into an outpouring of support for the Iron Horse Trail. Consultants and staff are now working on a specific plan to safely wind the trail across five streets, two creeks, two parks, and several housing developments.
The gap closure project is funded with part of the $10 million awarded the East Bay Regional Park District through the Federal TIGER II program last year. When completed next year, the Iron Horse trail will run 33 miles from Concord to Pleasanton, connecting neighborhoods, business parks, and commercial areas in 12 cities.
How did such a long, mostly continuous path find its way into Contra Costa County? The route was originally a segment of the Southern Pacific Railroad (and created in 1891!). Because the path was outfitted for rail, it’s nice and flat without too many sharp turns – perfect for running and biking. Since the railroad abandoned the right of way in 1977, residents along the route have worked to turn the unused railroad tracks into a safe and accessible multi-modal regional trail. As rail conversion projects are gaining popularity around the country, the Iron Horse Trail will always be one of the first “Rail to Trail” projects in the US.
Though only 24 miles of the route are paved today, they already connect to several other regional trails, including the Ygnacio Canal Trail, the Contra Costa Canal Trail, the Las Trampas-to-Mount Diablo Regional Trail, and the Briones-to-Mount Diablo Trail.
A true multi-modal trail, the route is open to bicycles, wheelchairs, runners, walkers, strollers, and horses.
Plan your adventure on the Iron Horse Trail today!