Truckee, Placer County paving way for new Tahoe-area trails
June 21, 2016
TRUCKEE, Calif. — For decades, the town of Truckee and Placer County have each worked to increase bicycle and pedestrian mobility in an effort to decrease the need to travel by car in the region.
Bolstering those efforts, the two agencies are working on a new trail project that will connect Placer County and Truckee.
According to Placer County, under a cost-share agreement with Truckee for design and environmental documentation, the eight-mile paved Truckee River Access Trail project will link the north end of an existing shared-use paved trail at Squaw Valley Road to the Placer County line near West River Street in Truckee.
The existing path at Squaw Valley Road is the Lakeside Trail, which winds south from Squaw to the lake's front in Tahoe City.
“The trails provide a community binding agent that I think is bearing fruit already, and will continue to do so as we get more done.”Tony LashbrookTruckee Town Manager
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In other words, the new Truckee River Access Trail will connect Truckee with the lake on the West Shore.
"The Truckee region is very, very auto-orientated place the way it was laid out by the counties," said Tony Lashbrook, Truckee Town Manager. "And this trail network is finally starting to provide an alternative to travel by automobile for recreation, school, work, et cetera."
The project — part of the town's Truckee River Legacy Trail Phase 4 — will also include the construction of a bridge across the Truckee River and a trailhead parking lot.
The locations for the bridge and trailhead are yet to be determined, as both Truckee and Placer County are coordinating preferred sites. Components such as the floodplain location, environmental constraints and property ownership will factor into the final blueprint.
"Where the access point to that proposed trail is going to land, it may land on the town's side and it may land on the county side," said Peter Kraatz, Placer County assistant director of public works and facilities. "So it made sense for the two jurisdictions to come together and jointly support that. Because we see it as a multiple benefits to establish this trailhead in and around the town-county boundary, it made sense to work together."
Lashbrook added: "It's a project that benefits the (trail) system, and we're all working as a system — it's great."
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According to the town, the estimated cost of the proposed trail connecting Truckee and Placer County is $82,587, with the two agencies providing $41,293 apiece.
Notably, the town is paying all design costs ($277,221) for the Truckee River Legacy Trail Phase 4 within the town, which connects the Truckee River Regional Park through the Hilltop development, south of the Truckee River, to Highway 89 South by West River Street.
"The trail system is that sweet spot of public investment that I think most importantly benefits our local community," Lashbrook said. "But at the same time, it makes our region that much more attractive to visitors."
What's more, Lashbrook said, the trails pull the Truckee neighborhoods closer together, pointing to the recent completion of the Truckee Legacy Trail (Phase 3B) to Glenshire as a prime example.
"One of the geographical challenges of Truckee is we're so big and our neighborhoods are so far apart," he said. "The trails provide a community binding agent that I think is bearing fruit already, and will continue to do so as we get more done."
Pending the timing of securing construction funding, a portion of the project could start as early as 2018, according to Placer County.
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Additionally, Placer County approved an agreement with Dokken Engineering to complete National Environmental Policy Act compliance environmental documents for the Martis Valley Trail Project.
The proposed trail would stretch nine miles and provide a multi-purpose connection between Northstar Village and the town of Truckee.
While Northstar Community Service District, the lead agency on the project, has already completed a section of the trail extending from the Truckee town line south into Placer County, the action by Placer County will help advance the construction of the path, which is anticipated to begin in 2018, according to the county.
Specifically, completing the NEPA will allow the project to move forward using federal dollars, said Kraatz, referring to Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program funds.
Once NEPA clearance is obtained, the project will transition into final design and, eventually, construction.
The total cost of the agreement is in the amount of $108,077, plus a contingency of $10,000, according to the county.
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