PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Letters

Keep railroad for multiple purposes

By November 11, 2010

EDITOR: We can only hope the supervisors and the rails to trails bunch will get it.
It is unfortunate that too many people are so short sighted, letting their own agenda drive them, instead of them finding the best use for all people and this county.
For 30 years or more I had hoped the rails and trails bunch would “get it,” build a multi-use trail along the roadbed from Folsom through Camino to Cable Point then across the canyon on a people gondola to Pino Grande rail line to Georgetown and Pilot Hill and then Coloma and back to Folsom that would have the rail bed used for a train, one side used for equestrian and the other for walkers, hikers and bicycles. A concept that would sprout sidetracks and spurs using buses, short tracks, trails to the finest El Dorado County has to offer.

Business Park, Town Center, rolling oak woodlands of Latrobe through the fields and small communities, wine country, Apple Hill, farmers markets and Placerville (whose closed main street would become a major attraction as the partial redirection of water from Hangtown Creek flowed down one side of a cobble stoned, flower and tree lined avenue that graced the shops and restaurants allowing for those riding a people mover (looking like an ore car with a Plexiglas cover) to view this beautiful community, then up to the forests out of Camino, providing multiple opportunities for property owners along the way to allow entrepreneurship to prevail and using a large gondola (maybe looking like an old log car) traverse the canyon to the other side where another train greets the circular greatest train ride in the nation as it passes through Coloma State Park and back to Folsom where riders see the entire history that made California what it is, the Golden State.

I have always advised clients to investigate the zoned use of surrounding properties and often have been the lone dissenter at Board of Supervisor and Planning Commission meetings where uproar has brought the neighbors out to defeat a project they perceive is their right, i.e., those who buy a property on a rail line should realize the long-range effects of that easement. Actually, the recourse for residents seems to try and change zoning or lobbying supervisors and planning commissioners to stop anything that is not in their view acceptable.

This brings us again to the rail right of way, ultimately, in case of a national emergency I believe this will belong to the federal government. They can take it and remove anything on its path if need be.

Currently I am asking that this Board of Supervisors use their wisdom and not allow any group or development to impede the 200-foot. easement most railways have along their rail beds and let the progress of rails for trails include not only a rail bed in the middle but room for equestrians on one side and walkers,  hikers, runners and bicyclists on the other.

Develop a memorandum of understanding that within this county this will be the edict, put it in the General Plan — whatever it takes to keep this easement multiple use in perpetuity.

Please do not allow any section to be blocked that would not let this be the ultimate goal. We may all be dust in the wind by the time this can occur but make sure you are good stewards of the best use for which this treasure your forefathers gave you to protect was designed.

JUDY MATHAT
Placerville

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