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


  • The Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space) approve the final draft of the Vital Lands Initiative  – a long-term strategic plan that will guide the work of the district with a  sweeping set of policies and guidelines that will inform decisions through 2031.
  • The Greenway Partners work with Fidelity Title to complete title reports for the 47 Greenway parcels. The Southeast Greenway Campaign contributes approximately $20K to help hire a local surveying firm to complete appraisal mapping of the parcels.
  • The City of Santa Rosa presents all title reports and the appraisal mapping to Caltrans.


  • In April, the City Council approves a request to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to designate the Southeast Greenway as a Priority Conservation Area for protecting natural habitats, open space, and public access.  The request was approved by MTC and ABAG, making the Southeast Greenway eligible for future grants funding protection activities.
  • In July, the City Council approves a five-year extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between Caltrans and the Southeast Greenway Community Partners.


  • In January, the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is made available to the public for review and comment.
  • In February, the Planning Commission holds a public hearing on the Revised Draft EIR.
  • In April, the City Council approves an update to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which designates the “Multi-Use Paths” in the proposed General Plan map for the Southeast Greenway as Class 1 routes. See Figure 5-4 on page 88 of the Master Plan.
  • In May, the Planning Commission considers the proposed General Plan Amendment and Rezoning and recommends approval of the project to the City Council.
  • On July 9, the City Council holds a public hearing and then adopts resolutions certifying the Final EIR and adopting the General Plan Amendment and Rezoning.  These City planning approvals and accompanying maps are described on the City’s website page devoted to the Southeast Greenway:
  • In early August the Sonoma Land Trust and the Greenway Campaign hold a family event in Howarth Park to introduce families to the Land Trust’s work and the future Southeast Greenway. Child in the Wild offers lots of activities for kids including a jumpy house, face painting, native animal show, and live music.


  • Staff work on the Greenway continues to be delayed as city employees continue to focus on wildfire impacts.
  • In November an updated traffic analysis and Revised Draft EIR text are completed.
  • Campaign volunteers joined the residents of Sonoma County to help pass Measure M, a one-eighth cent sales tax that supports Sonoma County’s regional and city parks for 10 years.


  • In March, the Santa Rosa Planning Commission and City Council hold a second joint meeting to review the preferred land use and circulation alternative.
  • In April, a Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is mailed to surrounding property owners, public agencies and other organizations and individuals.  In May a public scoping meeting is held to gather public comments and guidance on the scope and content of the EIR.
  • In August, the Draft EIR is completed and made available to the public for review and comment.
  • In September, the Planning Commission holds a public hearing on the Draft EIR and the Southeast Greenway General Plan Amendment and Rezoning project.
  • In October, following the public hearing and review period, City staff and the consultants begin additional traffic analysis of future conditions without the Farmers Lane Extension.
  • In October, the substantial impacts on City resources from large wildfires delay staff work on the Southeast Greenway project.


  • In February, over 300 people attend “Southeast Greenway 2016 – The Time is Now!” The Greenway 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 Partners, 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.
  • In October, 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.
  • In October the Sonoma County Ag and Open Space District awards the Greenway project a $1,000,000 matching grant for the acquisition of the Greenway property.
  • In November the Planning Commission and City Council hold a joint meeting to review the draft guiding principles, land use and circulation concept alternatives, and results from the public outreach, and direct staff to create a preferred alternative.


  • The Greenway Partners meet 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, Sonoma Land Trust, and the Greenway Partners 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.


  • 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 gain approval from 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 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.


  • 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 County and State legislative representatives.


  • The American Institute of Architects selects the Greenway for a community planning grant 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.



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


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


  • Caltrans removes the bridge across Spring Lake from the Highway 12 realignment plan after a groundswell of community opposition led by local resident June Moes.


  • The County constructs recreational facilities and Spring Lake Park opens. State Parks acquires land for what is now Trione-Annadel State Park.


  • The Sonoma County Water Agency constructs Spring Lake, stream diversions, and channel improvements for flood control purposes.


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