Ravenswood Bay Trail project partners and funders gathered to celebrate construction on the Ravenswood Bay Trail. (Photo courtesy Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District)

The start of construction on a new segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail in the Ravenswood Preserve near East Palo Alto was celebrated Nov. 11  by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, local elected officials, project partners and environmental leaders.

“The new trail will close a critical 0.6-mile gap in the Bay Trail between University Avenue and Ravenswood Preserve, connecting 80 contiguous miles of bayfront trail across three counties,” the district said in a news release.

“Benefits of the project include improved access to nature and outdoor recreation for local residents and new commute routes for cyclists.”

Habitat will be restored and salt marsh wetlands around the area will be enhanced as part of the project, including refuge islands that will help shelter endangered Cooley Marsh wildlife such as the salt marsh harvest mouse and a shorebird called the Ridgway’s rail.

The preserve will be accessed by a new stretch of sidewalk along University Avenue, leading to a raised boardwalk, a bridge with an overlook and interpretive signs.

“This is truly a celebratory moment, as today marks a major milestone nearly 15 years in the making to close a critical gap in the Bay Trail — one that was first envisioned in 2005 to connect multiple communities and cities to their local bayfront parks and open spaces,” said Ana Ruiz, general manager of the open space district.

“For this short but mighty trail segment, it took more agencies and organizations than I can count on my 10 fingers to receive the approvals and funding support necessary to reach the start of construction.”

The district estimates the cost of planning, designing, engineering, permitting and building the Ravenswood Bay Trail at about $5 million.

“The trail is anticipated to open in the summer of 2020, if work can be completed in the narrow construction window constrained by seasonal restrictions for sensitive wildlife species in the area,” according to the district.
More information can be found at openspace.org/bay-trail