Expansion of the Railroad Safety Trail enhances access for bicyclists and pedestrians to and from Downtown

SAN LUIS OBISPO– The City of San Luis Obispo held a virtual groundbreaking event for the Taft to Pepper Streets portion of the Railroad Safety Trail (RRST). The RRST has long been one of the highest-priority multimodal transportation projects in the City and is expected to be completed in July 2021.

The City states that the project is consistent with City goals, including climate action, and provides safer access for bicyclists and pedestrians while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project is partially funded by the Local Revenue Measure. To view the video, click here

Over the past two decades, approximately 40 percent of the total four-mile trail has been completed and existing portions of the trail are enjoyed by over 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists per day. This project will focus on expanding the trail from Taft Street to Pepper Streets, which connects Cal Poly to the Downtown area. This segment was included in the 2013 Bicycle Transportation Plan and supports the City’s goal for improving sustainable transportation. 

“Completing the Railroad Safety Trail has been a top priority for many of our bicycle and pedestrian community members,” said Public Works Director Matt Horn. “Through partnerships with Cal Poly, Caltrans, and Union Pacific Railroad, the City is pleased to provide another safe and accessible alternative transportation opportunity for the community.”


In 2015, the City applied for a Caltrans Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant for the project and was awarded $3.24 million in funding towards construction. Over the past five years, the project progressed with planning, design, environmental review, permitting and right-of-way acquisition to the current “shovel-ready” stage.

The RRST extension from Taft Street to Pepper Street, is estimated to cost $5.2 million, and will encompass approximately 0.4 miles from the existing trail alignment on the west side of California Boulevard, near Taft Street, south along the existing bridge crossing over Highway 101, then shifting away from California Boulevard behind the California Highway Patrol property to a new bicycle/pedestrian bridge crossing over the Union Pacific Railroad and connecting Phillips Lane to Pepper Street. A local contractor, Souza Construction, was selected for the project and will begin work this month.

To receive updates from the City, please register for City News e-notifications on the City’s website at slocity.org or follow the City of San Luis Obispo on social media.