Bay to Zoo Trail
City of Eureka Bay to Zoo Trail
Project Updates 2023
The Bay to Zoo Trail Project (project) creates approximately two miles of Class 1 hiking and biking trail through gulches and greenways of the eastern side of the City of Eureka. This new trail segment will connect the existing Eureka Waterfront Trail in the north of Eureka with the Sequoia Park Zoo located in the southern edge of the City.
The project will transform one of the City's busiest streets (Myrtle Avenue) with the installation of the City's first roundabout at the new trail crossing. After approximately two miles of Class 1 bike trail, the Bay to Zoo Trail enters local City streets and sidewalk for approximately half a mile as a bike boulevard, culminating at the City's Sequoia Park and Zoo. As a Safe Routes to School project, the Bay to Zoo Trail will connect multiple neighborhoods to Zane Middle School, the only middle school in the City of Eureka.
Another key element to the project is that the trail will connect residents to essential services, transit stops, and medical services. The Bay to Zoo Trail provides more than two and a half miles of new pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, a new roundabout to increase safety at the busiest street crossing, and increases the overall quality of life for residents of the City of Eureka.
This project presents a great opportunity to enable more transportation options for residents of the City. By providing a safe, separated facility for walking and biking, this project will significantly increase the number of non-motorized trips, improve safety, enhance public health, and promote community vitality.
The project limits are surrounded by some of the busiest roadways in the area, including Myrtle Avenue and U.S. Highway 101. These, along with other adjacent facilities, have high traffic volumes and high speeds which leads to high levels of stress for both drivers and non-motorized users where they intersect. The Bay to Zoo Trail addresses these challenges facing Eureka's transportation needs and the residential community. The Bay to Zoo Trail, and associated Complete Streets improvements, will provide a safe, direct route for non-motorized users to connect to downtown Eureka, schools, the hospital and employment centers along a gulch and green-way corridor parallel to but separated from current routes.
This project will transform Eureka’s walking and biking connectivity and fulfil a decades-long vision of connecting neighborhoods with the Bay to Zoo Trail.
Additionally, the trail serves as an important connector for City and County residents in a larger context. The trail will connect to the existing Waterfront Trail at Tydd Street, thereby bringing in an additional 6.3 miles of existing Class 1 trail while connecting the users of the Bay to Zoo Trail with the core Downtown/Old Town areas. With the Cycle 5 Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant award that the County of Humboldt received, the Arcata Bay Trail and the Eureka Waterfront Trail will soon be connected. In the near future users of the Bay to Zoo Trail will be able to connect to the City of Arcata and Cal Poly Humboldt, which is located approximately six miles north of Eureka.
To ensure that the trail has minimal impact to the environment, the design includes boardwalks and footbridges to cross marsh lands and streams. In the area where the trail enters cedar and redwood trees, the large trees are kept in place and the trail meanders around them. These design features have been included to preserve the natural integrity of the area and to ensure that active transportation users are able to admire the natural resources of the area.
The Bay to Zoo trail has been a concept since 2000, was identified as a Safe Routes to School Project in 2016, and was adopted as a Strategic Visioning Goal by the Eureka City Council in 2018. The City has been seeking grant funding to complete the project since 2018. In the fall of 2022, the City was notified that it was successful in procuring a Caltrans Cycle 6 Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant that will include permitting, design, right-of-way and construction of the trail. The initial phases of the project will begin in the fall of 2023 with construction anticipated to be conducted in 2026/2027.
Project Overview Map
Project and Design Concept Images
Conceptual Roundabout & Trail Crossing at Myrtle Ave and McFarlan Street
Conceptual Trail Alignment
*Final trail alignment will be determined through the design process and property owner negotiations
Current Project Status Updates
- City applied for and received ~$10,000,000 in funding through the Caltrans Active Transportation Program
- Funding awarded is for Design, Permitting, Right-of-Way (ROW), and Construction
- Funding will become available to the City in September/October 2023
- Next Steps will be Permitting/Design/ROW
- Construction is estimated to take place in 2026-2027
FAQs- Bay to Zoo Trail- April 2023
- What is the Bay to Zoo Trail?
- The Bay to Zoo Trail is a proposed (and recently funded) trail that will connect the Waterfront Trail near Tydd Street in the North to Sequoia Park in the south, utilizing the greenbelt and gulches adjacent McFarlan Street until it enters the street and sidewalk near Russ and Dolbeer Streets.
- When will the Bay to Zoo Trail be constructed?
- The City recently was awarded funding to complete the trail. The next steps will include Design/Permitting/Right-of-Way. Once these are complete, construction will begin. Currently, construction is estimated in 2026-2027.
- What is the Right-of Way (ROW) phase?
- The ROW phase will be conducted concurrently with the design phase and will be the part of the project where City meets with individual property owners to discuss, appraise, and purchase easements for trail access from willing property owners.
- Where does the trail go in relation to my house?
- As of now there are only preliminary design plans to establish potential trail alignments to aide in determining the scope of environmental studies and estimations of quantities for funding requests. Once the design phase begins, City staff will be meeting with individual landowners to explore their interest in having a trail within their property lines and to help determine the alignment. We know that there are currently some property owners that do not want a trail on their property and the trail will be designed to accommodate this. There are also property owners who desire a trail on their property and the City will work to adjust the alignment to accommodate their request when possible.
- Will the trail be placed on the existing (E) sewer easement?
- The location of the (E) sewer easement may line up with portions of the proposed trail. However, the sewer easement does not allow for trail purposes; therefore, a separate easement from the adjacent private property owner will need to be obtained before a final trail route can be established.
- Will there be lighting along the trail?
- Currently, new lighting is not planned. There will be upgrades to the (E) lighting at the intersections of Myrtle at McFarlan, the Buhne Street dip crossing, and the intersection of Harris and Dolbeer Streets.
- How do I tell the City I Do/Don’t want the trail on my property?
- You can email or call the Engineering Department and speak with the project team to discuss this matter or ask any questions that you may have at email@example.com or call 707-441-4203
- I am afraid that homeless people will now be on the trail. Will this really be a problem?
- Homeless people can already access this area. Opening up the area and providing access to the general public will likely discourage and reduce the presence of homeless people within the trail area. Similar projects have documented this.
- Will there be police presence on the trail?
- The City has a Waterfront Trail Ranger and the Bay to Zoo Trail would be part of their patrol.
- Will there be fencing along the trail?
- There will be fencing along some portions of the trail, specifically around Zane School and potentially other locations to be determined during the design process.
- When will construction begin?
- Upon completion of the Design/Permitting/Right-of-Way phases, construction will begin. Currently, the construction phase is estimated to begin in 2026-2027.
- Will access from S Street to the Trail be possible?
- At Zane School, a connector trail is proposed between S Street and the Bay to Zoo Trail. The project will not only build the connector trail but provide fencing between the school and connector trail. This arrangement will allow the public access to the trail without compromising the schools need for campus safety. The city will continue to coordinate with the school district to ensure long term issues are identified and avoided as best as possible.
- How will trail users’ cross busy streets along the trail route such as at Myrtle Avenue, Buhne Street, and Harris Street?
- Intersection improvements will be included at all trail crossings, including: A new roundabout at Myrtle Avenue & McFarlan Street, Pedestrian-activated beacons, improved lighting, new crosswalk markings, and in some locations pedestrian islands) and/or bulb-outs to reduce the crossing width.
- How will the trail be maintained?
- City staff, as well as private volunteers will provide ongoing periodic maintenance and trash pickup along the trail corridor, similar to what is done along the Waterfront Trail.
- Why can’t the money for the trail be used to fill potholes?
- The City received grant funds to specifically to design and construct the trail. These grant funds may only be used for trails and related projects.
- Why can’t a bike lane be placed on McFarlan Street instead of putting a trail through the greenbelt?
- McFarlan Street is not wide enough for a bike lane without removing parking from one side of the street for its entirety and does not separates vehicular traffic from pedestrians and bicycles.
- Does Zane Middle School support the construction of a trail adjacent their property?
- Zane Middle School is a partner in this project and has written multiple letters of support for the project.
- How wide will the trail be?
- The trail will typically be 10’ wide and be comprised of asphalt pavement with an additional 2’ of gravel shoulder on either side for a total of 14’ in width at most locations.
- How will the trail interact with water or “marshy” areas?
- The trail will incorporate bridges or boardwalks to incur the least amount of impact to these areas.