By Kathy Chouteau
Construction of Phase 1 of the Richmond Wellness Trail project kicks off this week with the contractor performing exploratory potholing and surveying, according to Richmond City Manager Laura Snideman’s weekly report. No traffic or parking impacts are anticipated.
The first phase of the project will extend from the Richmond BART Station to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, and will include new bike lanes and improved sidewalks intended for safe, equitable transportation; rain gardens to facilitate clean water; new street trees to expand Richmond’s urban forest; and signage, per the weekly report.
Actual Phase 1 construction work is slated to begin the week of May 3. At that time, traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions without parking along the Cutting Blvd. to Maine Ave. section of Marina Way South.
The Richmond Wellness Trail is envisioned as a “safe, inviting, multimodal route that inspires a healthy, active lifestyle, increasing connections between historic downtown Richmond, the Iron Triangle and the natural and historic features of the waterfront and the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center,” according to the weekly report.
The commencement of project construction follows a host of planning and brainstorming activities that started in early February 2016 and included community meetings and bike rides, design workshops, a field trip, a walk audit and presentations.
At a 2019 event at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park offering a preview of the Richmond Wellness Trail plans, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt remarked that the city is “focused on improving all the elements that contribute to a healthy community” and that “this project is strategically placed where it has access to housing, access to transportation, green space and the Bay Trail.”
“This is a great example of how cities and parks can improve health and improve wellness by locating facilities like this close to people who need them and use them the most,” Mayor Butt added.
Future phases of the 1.1 mile Richmond Wellness Trail will connect to Richmond’s shoreline, the Richmond Ferry and the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park. The trail is expected to be completed in spring 2022.
According to the City website, the Richmond Wellness Trail is envisioned through the National Parks Urban Agenda, with implementation spearheaded by the Trust for Public Land and grant funding from the California Natural Resources Agency. Project sponsors include the National Park Service, City of Richmond and a Local Government Commission.