Emilie Johnson | Mustang News Credit: Emilie Johnson | Mustang News, 2021

The City of San Luis Obispo’s new pedestrian-bicycle bridge will open on Wednesday, initiated with the City’s ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m.

The bridge, called the Railroad Safety Trail,  will extend from Taft Street to Pepper Street. 

The most recent section of the Railway Safety Trail, from Phillips Lane to Pepper Street, was completed on Oct. 28 and was opened to the public in January. 

This renovation is a part of the city’s plan to create a space for expanded transportation and recreational trails. 

Transportation Planner Bryan Wheeler, a project manager on the trail, has been working on the project since 2016. 

“The plan has changed over the years just based on what the city can get approved,” Wheeler said.

This project began in 2007 and is constantly changing, but Wheeler said that the City has always wanted to increase active transportation. 

“[The Railroad Safety Trail will] definitely cut down the amount of time that you need to take, but it’s also going to be a much more pleasant experience because you’re not having to deal with traffic signals or being in a bike lane next to cars,” Wheeler said.

Other benefits include more people biking and walking and less driving, which will increase the city’s sustainability. 

Wheeler said the bridge is especially helpful to Cal Poly students looking to get downtown. 

“This is gonna provide a great direct, safe connection for them off any street,” Wheeler said. “You will have a low stress way to commute between Cal Poly and downtown.” said Wheeler.

Railroad Safety Trail Plan | City of San Luis Obispo

The City of San Luis Obispo had a soft opening to the Taft Street and Pepper Street trail prior to the scheduled ribbon cutting ceremony. Since then, the City began counting the number of people that are using the bridge.  Wheeler said they haven’t collected much data since it’s relatively new, but they’re expecting a larger outcome to attend the ceremony. 

“We’re expecting around 100 people and we’ll be surprised if it’s more or less,” Wheeler said. “There’s a lot of people from the bike community that come out and ride any new infrastructure so a pretty strong community will probably be there.”

For those who want to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, the city asks that they do not park on Phillips Lane. There will be limited parking available on Pepper street but attendees are encouraged to carpool, bike or walk to the celebration. 

The Bike SLO County repair shop will be providing a free bike valet at the celebration. Wheeler said all members of the community are welcome to join.

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