Eureka’s Bay to Zoo Trail Project goes from concept to reality

After being an idea for nearly two decades, the Bay to Zoo Trail is going from concept to reality.

“We’re at a really exciting time right now, at a juncture that should be celebrated. I mean, $9 million in funding to get the project through construction is huge,” City of Eureka’s Director of Public Works Brian Gelving said at the City Council meeting.

Initially planned in 2000, the trail has been a long time coming. Approval for consulting on the project happened on February 6.

The council approved engineering, architectural, and construction services company GHD to oversee the next phase of the project.

The Bay to Zoo trail would start at the Eureka Waterfront trail, extending down to Myrtle to McFarlan Avenues.

The city would likely build a new roundabout at that spot.

“This creates an opportunity to shorten crossing distance, to slow traffic, to really make trail users stand out, and to make trail users visually aware of vehicles. That’s a major improvement on Myrtle,” City Engineer Jesse Wilor said at the council meeting.

The main reason for the trail is to make more pathways for pedestrian travel, either on foot or cycling.

Connections would include not only the zoo, but Sequoia Park, surrounding schools, St. Joseph Hospital, and Open Door clinics.

In its concept phase, the first part of the trail will lead from Open Door on Tydd Street to Mrytle and McFarlan Avenues.

From there, it will extend past Zane Middle School and onto Buhne, passing the hospital and onto Harris and Washington Streets.

Some residents see this project as an exciting opportunity.

“I have two boys; they’re 10 and 12 and they love their independence and they love their bikes,” said one local Eureka mother. “This project is really exciting because they would love to be able to ride to Old Town, but I don’t let them because Broadway is too dangerous so that’s a no-go. I’m really excited and hope the city can approve it.”

Others were a bit skeptical about the project as landowners.

“I would hate to see this trail lose its momentum because the landowners feel like they’re bullied by the city to accept this trail no matter what because I feel the outreach has been grossly inadequate,” said one Eureka landowner.

The project is moving into the next phase, focusing on the environmental impacts and right-of-way design.

Once that phase is completed, the project will begin construction in 2026.

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