The State Route 37 (SR37) Public Access Scoping Report is an outgrowth of the Grand Bayway Concept developed by the Common Ground Team as part of Resilient by Design. Funded through a SB1 Adaptation Planning Grant from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), with matching funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and project management by the Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC), the project examines a full range of appropriate public access opportunities within an area envisioned as an “Ecological Central Park”. Completed in June 2020, the report explores the role SR37 plays as a vital east west connection for communities not currently served by public transportation, crossing the four counties of Solano, Napa, Sonoma and Marin, in an area made up of sensitive habitats, restored marsh and wetland complexes. The Baylands are a unique and special environment that is largely unknown to Bay Area residents and visitors and increasingly vulnerable to flooding and sea level rise.
A working group including a cross-section of key stakeholders from the sub-region - including environmental stewards, public property owners, and representatives from the underserved City of Vallejo, was formed with the following goals: To develop a set of bike/e-bike, pedestrian and water recreation options that balance public access and protection of sensitive habitats; confirm trail design principles, guidelines, and routing alternatives to complete a continuous San Francisco Bay Trail Alignment between Novato and Vallejo; Identity opportunities to incorporate access to the Bay via the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail; Consider opportunities to increase awareness and environmental education in the Baylands; and deliver strategic near-term trail and access options, in coordination with the longer and short-term goals of the region. The group has organized a series of events including focus group meetings, “Pop-up” events such as a Bike Tour of Skaggs Island, meetings with state, regional and local agencies as well as community organizations over the past year.
In November 2019, the Exploratorium held a recorded event with representatives from the State Coastal Conservancy, A. Philip Randolph Institute, South Bay Salt Pond, the Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and others to discuss “Public Learning and Equitable Access During Climate Adaptation.
The final SR 37 Public Access Scoping Report, which was issued in June 2020, makes recommendation on near-term “catalyst” projects with advanced renderings and identification of strategic partners and potential funding sources for next phase of work. Additionally, with Caltrans developing two SHOPP projects within the program area, which is the key program that funds highway improvements across the State of California, they have the opportunity to help put in motion key features of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-19-19, which specifically directs the State Transportation Agency to leverage “the more than $5 billion in annual state transportation spending for construction, operations, and maintenance to help reverse the trend of increased fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation sector”.