By Maureen Gaffney
With construction of eight new miles of VINE TRAIL between Calistoga and St. Helena, and four new miles from the Vallejo Ferry to American Canyon coming soon, the VINE TRAIL moves towards its next step in a safe and separated pathway connecting communities up and down the Valley to local businesses, schools, wineries and neighborhoods.
But most importantly, the VINE TRAIL connects us to each other.
Sure, the Trail is used by tourists—and hallelujah to that—imagine how many cars are removed from Highway 29 by these cash-laden visitors using the trail instead? But whether by delivering guests to your business or offering a car-and-carefree outing to friends and family, the VINE TRAIL is for you—residents from Vallejo to Calistoga and all of the charming enclaves in between.
Residents in American Canyon, Napa and Yountville where the trail has been integrated into the fabric of the community have come to not only enjoy but to depend upon the trail for errands, trips to school or work.
Choosing the trail over Highway 29 or the surface streets of Napa can cut a trip’s time in half when traffic, construction, detours, and parking are taken into consideration.
Plus, would you rather steam in your car in stop-and-go traffic, blood pressure on the rise, or ride your bike (or e-bike) next to the Napa River to the sound of birds chirping and bike bells dinging?
59% of trips taken for any reason are less than six miles. Replacing these car trips with ones taken by foot or by wheel on a fully separated pathway not only relieves traffic congestion, but simultaneously reduces carbon emissions and just plain makes you happier.
While the upcoming route adoption in St. Helena is tricky business due to the limited right-of-way and narrow streets, city planners and traffic engineers, together with input from local residents via multiple public meetings, are working to ensure the safest, least disruptive path forward.
It is our firm belief that once the VINE TRAIL is completed and connected from Calistoga to Vallejo, future generations will wonder how the Valley ever lived without it.