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Pleasanton, Concord trail extension finished

EBRPD, elected officials, community members join together Tuesday to celebrate Iron Horse Trail extension

The East Bay Regional Park District held a dedication ceremony at Creekside Park Tuesday for the completion of the Iron Horse Trail extension from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton.

This 1.6 mile project was the last gap in the Iron Horse Regional Trail between Pleasanton and Concord, and was a part of the East Bay Green Transport Initiative.

According to the park district's general manager Robert Doyle, the trail expansion was funded by a U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery II (TIGER II) grant, as well as by Caltrans' Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, Alameda County Transportation Commission (CTC), voter-approved 2008 Measure WW, and the City of Pleasanton.

"I would especially like to thank the taxpayers," Doyle added. "They really funded this project."

The Iron Horse Trail begins in Concord and will eventually extend to the San Joaquin County line -- for a distance of over 55 miles.

It was formerly used by the San Ramon Branch Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad from 1891 to 1978. The railroad tracks were removed in 1979 and the trail development began in 1986.

Livermore resident Bob Coomber has been using the trail since it was built and says he believes the extension will be a benefit to Pleasanton and the surrounding communities.

"It's a link to other communities. It gets you through town and it gets you in shape," said Coomber, who added that sometimes he'll use the trail just to grab a morning coffee in Danville.

"The coolest thing about it is there's stores and restaurants right off the trail. It makes it worthwhile," he said.

Some of Tuesday's guest speakers included EBRPD board president Ayn Wieskamp, congressman Eric Swalwell, Pleasanton mayor Jerry Thorne, Caltrans chief deputy district director Dan McElhinney, Alameda County chief of staff operations Dawn Argula from supervisor Scott Haggerty's office, Alameda CTC deputy director of planning and policy Tess Lengyel, and BART director John McPartland.

"This trail will be remembered as the good the government can do," said Swalwell.

Recognizing the park district's vision of "healthy parks, healthy people", Wieskamp said Tuesday, "What's better than having this trail extension."

The Iron Horse Trail provides a safe, non-motorized route that children and adults can use to travel between schools, homes, and business in Pleasanton.

Yes on BB

In addition, most speakers stressed the importance of voting for Measure BB during the November 4 election.

If approved, the measure will implement a 30-year Transportation Expenditure Plan that will expand mass transit, improve highway infrastructure, improve local streets and roads, improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and expand special transportation for seniors and people with disabilities.

"If you want more better systems of transportation, vote yes on BB," said Wieskamp.

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