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Proposed bike path would link Glen Ellen neighborhoods

By Tracy Salcedo

The idea of formalizing a proposed bike route linking Glen Ellen neighborhoods south of the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) with the village and neighborhoods north was introduced to the North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council (NSVMAC) at its April 20 meeting.

Chair Arthur Dawson, who has “pushed it along slowly over time,” sketched out the proposed route for fellow councilmembers. The path would follow existing neighborhood roadways from Madrone Road into the SDC, where it would hop aboard the old railroad grade, once part of the the Sonoma Valley Railroad Company line, that runs along the eastern border of the campus. Partly paved and partly a gravel roadway, the grade hooks up with the Valley of the Moon Trail in Sonoma Valley Regional Park, which continues toward the village. An existing trail connection to Carmel Avenue would drop users into the village core.

The route was an informational item on the NSVMAC agenda, with the goal of getting it “on the books” as a project the council, Sonoma County, and the state of California, could support.

The council backed the concept, and members also expanded on the idea. Councilmember Mark Newhouser suggested folding the proposed path into a more comprehensive plan for non-motorized transportation in the north valley. He also suggested developing the path as a public-private partnership, noting that with the help of the community, the county might be more easily convinced to embrace the project.

Councilmember Jed Cooper asked about how Dawson’s plan might link with the proposed 13-mile-long Sonoma Valley Trail (SVT), which would link the city of Sonoma to Santa Rosa along the Highway 12 corridor. He noted the Sonoma Valley Trail includes a recently refurbished section that runs through Sonoma Valley Regional Park, and said hitching the two proposals “would add a ton” of benefit to the local area.

“I think this is a big deal,” Cooper said. First District Supervisor Susan Gorin was not at the meeting, but she has been a vocal supporter of creating connections and safe passage for cyclists and walkers throughout