2025: Truckee will remain auto-dependent
Truckee planning commissioners and town officials met Tuesday night to review the town’s 2025 General Plan and environmental impact report regarding transportation circulation, traffic and noise.
The update of the plan started four years ago and has been undergoing several review sessions in order to fine tune the draft document. The transportation meeting was not intended to take public comment, only public questions about the plan.
Duane Hall, Truckee town planner, said a public hearing will be held in August for people to voice their concerns.
Hall led the discussion session with a presentation that gave an overview of the future plans for the town. He said Truckee will be an auto-dependent community.
“It’s not by choice but by circumstances thrust upon us,” Hall said.
He said the low density of people per square mile, the number of roads, and harsh winter weather are a few of the reasons why town residents rely on automobiles as their main form of transportation.
“It’s very difficult to ride your bike to work in February,” Hall said.
Cadie Olsen, a Truckee planning commissioner, said the dependence on cars wasn’t very visionary for the town’s future and asked Hall if better public transportation was a possibility.
Hall said the town is trying to enhance public transportation and provide bicyclists and pedestrians with adequate trails and paths.
“We are taking action to provide alternative transportation,” Hall said.
Leigh Fitzpatrick, Truckee Trails Foundation executive director, didn’t attend the meeting, but said the organization was enlisted by the town to update plan maps to show trails and bike paths.
Fitzpatrick said “the core network is being developed” in order to provide the town with other forms of transportation.
“There’s progress being made,” he said. “Sometimes the pieces aren’t always evident.”
Gordon Shaw, principal for LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc., said the constraint on further development in public transit comes down to the town not having the necessary funding to keep the system running. He also said it’s difficult to run a year-round bus system when the number of people who ride the buses fluctuates from one season to the next.
Town council members discussed the need for added public transportation during the ski season when many resort workers and international tourists frequent the area.
Truckee Planning Commissioner Cole Butler said it is a tough predicament because it’s hard to weigh the costs of the public transportation system with the number of people who will use it.
“It’s the chicken before the egg,” Butler said.
Duane Hall, Truckee town planner, said road improvements are a part of the General Plan, taking into account the increase of traffic as the town continues to grow in the next 20 years. “We react and make those improvements when they’re needed,” he said.
– Hall said widening of “the mousehole” on Highway 89 south is a short range “high-priority” project of concern the town will address.
Adding three or four more roundabouts is also part of the General Plan, Hall said. Dan Wilkins, Truckee town engineer, said the roundabouts are efficient because of low maintenance costs for the town versus the use of stop lights at intersections. Wilkins said they cause drivers to have fewer stops and starts because of the design. He said this action cuts down on air pollution from vehicles.
– A study of downtown traffic flow is needed in order to better access traffic congestion turning left from Glenshire Drive to Donner Pass Road and Bridge Street traffic, Hall said. He said the town is still working on possible remedies for these traffic delays.
– Hall said public comment regarding the General Plan should be addressed to him in written form sent either by e-mail, email@example.com or mailed to the Town Hall 10183 Truckee Airport Rd. 96161. The public hearing will be in August, but Hall said he didn’t have a specific date.
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