As for the Iron Horse Trail, the last Southern Pacific train ran on the San Ramon Branch Line through Danville in 1978 but it wasn't until 2001 that the Trail was completed in the San Ramon Valley. In those 23 years, extensive debates took place about the proper use of the railroad route, including for a light rail system. Early on, some folks hit on the idea of preserving the corridor for walking, biking and horseback riding, and Danville and San Ramon agreed to keep the right of way undeveloped.
Only through the efforts of many concerned residents was the trail eventually paved to become the popular recreation and transportation avenue it is today, maintained by the East Bay Regional Park District. The trail will eventually reach from Suisun Bay to Livermore, some 33 miles, traversing 12 cities in two counties. The coordination to put together this trail is mind-boggling. But it didn't happen overnight. When the railroad was first closed down, several scenarios evolved and many debates took place over its best use, including developing the 20-foot-wide swath of land.
In another public effort, the Veterans Memorial Building is currently undergoing the same extensive scrutiny, which gives us confidence that it will be as successful as the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in its usage and its appearance. The public process may seem to take a long time but Danville benefits from debating every aspect of a development - hence its success stories.
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