It's already been a long path for the Fort Ord Regional Trail and Greenway—aka FORTAG. After a decade of imagining and planning, not a single foot of trail has yet been built.
But FORTAG's vision—a 28-mile loop connecting the Rec Trail to the former Fort Ord from Del Rey Oaks and Seaside and up north to Marina—just officially cleared a major hurdle that could have kneecapped the entire trail network: On June 24, Monterey Elections certified the final results of the June 7 election, and Measure B, a Del Rey Oaks ballot initiative that would preclude any new trails in the city unless on Highway 218, Gen. Jim Moore Blvd. or South Boundary Road, has been defeated by 12 votes.
In effect, the initiative, which failed with 387 yes votes and and 399 no votes (a 65.71-percent turnout for the city, well above the 31.08-percent turnout countywide), would have killed the first funded segment of FORTAG—a 1.5 path through city parks, under the highway near the Frog Pond, and up Carlton Drive—which has already been granted $10.3 million from the state to build (and which would have had to be returned).
The race has been tight since the first votes counts were reported—Del Rey Oaks has just 1,216 registered voters right now, so every vote counts. For councilmember Kim Shirley, who helped spearhead the No on B campaign, the news comes as a relief.
"This is the largest infrastructure project we’ve had in many, many decades, and it’s free,” she says, while also noting that nearly half of the city's voter's aren't happy right now, and that she hopes going forward it can be something that unites the residents.
The key to that, she thinks, is communication—ensuring the city does a better job informing the residents of what the project entails, and what the overall vision is.
She adds that, had the initiative passed, it would have put most of the city's business on hold for about six months while the city assessed the initiative's impacts.