Greenway Facts

In 2008 several neighbors from the Neighborhood Association for Bennett Valley volunteered to find out more about the Greenway property. Their efforts led to the formation of the Southeast Greenway Campaign in September 2009.


Highway 12 Right-of-Way/Santa Rosa Southeast Greenway Campaign


  • Caltrans acquires a 4-mile strip of land to extend Highway 12 from Farmers Lane through what is now Spring Lake Park, and all the way to Melita Road at Rt. 12.


  • The Sonoma County Water Agency constructs Spring Lake for flood control purposes.


  • The County constructs recreational facilities and Spring Lake Park opens. State Parks acquires land for Annadel State Park.


  • Caltrans removes the bridge across Spring Lake from the Highway 12 realignment plan.


  • City of Santa Rosa removes the freeway extension from the General Plan.


  • The Southeast Greenway Campaign is launched with the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy serving as fiscal sponsor.



  • The Ameriaia_reportcan Institute of Architects selects the Greenway for a community planning process led by a national team of experts. 300 + community members participate. The final report, Imagine… A Greenway to Spring Lake and Beyond, serves as the first concept plan for the Greenway.
  • Santa Rosa City Council amends the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan to include a Class 1 bike path from Montgomery H.S. to Spring Lake Park.


  • At the request of the Greenway Campaign, the Santa Rosa City Council asks Caltrans to consider non-motorized transportation and additional community uses for the Highway 12 extension.
  • The Greenway Campaign convenes community partners to discuss strategies to make the Southeast Greenway a reality. Participants include the City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Sonoma County Transportation Authority, Sonoma County Water Agency, LandPaths, and local State legislative representatives.


  • The Santa Rosa City Council adds the Southeast Greenway to its strategic goals and objectives.
  • Caltrans Right of Way (ROW) officials advise the Greenway Campaign to assemble community partners and come back to them with a proposal for acquisition of the property.
  • Caltrans issues a draft Highway 12 Transportation Concept Report, stating that the land is no longer needed for a freeway extension.


  • State Senator Noreen Evans sponsors SB 1095, requesting that Caltrans declare the ROW as excess land and transfer it to local government agencies for community purposes. The bill does not pass the Appropriations Committee, but succeeds in galvanizing community support with 41 government and community organizations sending letters of support.
  • The City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Regional Parks, LandPaths and the Southeast Greenway Campaign sign a Mutual Letter of Intent and form a Greenway Partnership with the intention of acquiring, planning, developing and maintaining the SE Greenway. The Letter of Intent receives unanimous support from the Santa Rosa City Council and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
  • The Santa Rosa City Council approves $100,000 in the Community Development Department’s 2014-15 budget for planning services to support acquisition of the Greenway property.
  • The Sonoma Land Trust joins the Greenway Partnership, offering their expertise to help acquire the property and secure funding.
  • The California Transportation Commission votes to rescind the proposed Hwy 12 ROW from the freeway plan, freeing Caltrans to begin the process of declaring the property surplus and disposing of it.


  • The Greenway Partnership meets with Caltrans to begin planning a path towards acquisition of the property.
  • The City’s Community Development Department initiates an analysis of the Greenway property.
  • Caltrans, the Sonoma Land Trust and the Greenway Partnership sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), establishing a process for determining a fair price, performing due diligence, and negotiating to acquire the property for community benefit. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Rosa City Council unanimously approve the MOU.
  • The Sonoma Land Trust becomes the new fiscal sponsor for the Southeast Greenway Campaign.
  • In October, the Santa Rosa City Council accepts the Community Development Department’s staff report entitled, “Southeast Greenway: Existing Conditions, Opportunities and Constraints” and by resolution initiates a General Plan Amendment and Rezoning of the Greenway property.


  • In February, over 300 people attend “Southeast Greenway 2016 – The Time is Now! The Greenway Community Partners and Caltrans present a roadmap for Greenway planning and acquisition.
  • Members of the Campaign Committee receive the City of Santa Rosa Merit Award for Environmental Sustainability on behalf of the Southeast Greenway Campaign from Mayor John Sawyer.
  • The City of Santa Rosa, with help from the Greenway Partnership, selects PlaceWorks, a planning consulting firm, to spearhead the development of a General Plan Amendment and complete an Environmental Impact Report for the Southeast Greenway.
  • In July and August the consultants conduct focus groups and a community workshop, where 200 + neighbors and interested community members share their vision of how the Greenway land should be used.
  • PlaceWorks and City staff hold a second community workshop and conduct community input surveys, where citizens provide feedback on Guiding Principles and 3 Alternative Plans for the Greenway property.

The Future

  • The City adopts a General Plan Amendment, establishing land uses and zoning for the Greenway property.
  • Caltrans and the Greenway Partnership obtain two property appraisals and negotiate a price for the Greenway property.
  • The Greenway Partnership launches a fundraising campaign and acquires the Greenway property for the benefit of the community.