Group forms to create better bike lanes | SierraSun.com

Group forms to create better bike lanes

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

A new organization of cyclists is fighting for better bike paths and routes in and around Truckee.

The Truckee Tahoe Bike Coalition, founded by Truckee resident Michelle Gartner, is working to get bike lanes on Highway 89 north, establishing routes through signs and maps, and making sure that the mousehole on Highway 89 south will be accessible and safe for bicycle traffic.

The Truckee Tahoe Bike Coalition, with its 25 active participants, is working with Caltrans to make sure changes to the mousehole take bicycle traffic into consideration, as well.

“We are working with the mousehole design, making sure there is a criteria for cyclists and pedestrian traffic access and safety,” Gartner said.

Winder Bajwa, project manager for Caltrans, said there are provisions for pedestrians and cyclists in the mousehole, and the plans would be available for public viewing Sept. 27 at Truckee Town Hall.

Working with Caltrans, Gartner and the coalition are trying to get bike lanes along Highway 89 north from the Highway 267 bypass to Alder Creek Road, as well.

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“There are trucks going 60 miles per hour, it’s a bad road, and no shoulder,” Gartner said, “It needs a bike lane for the middle school and Prosser Lake View.”

The coalition is trying to get a grant from the state for the bike lanes along the northern stretch of Highway 89.

“Getting a bike lane on 89 north is going to be the easiest of our projects because there is a transportation grant right now,” Gartner said.

That grant is for 2007-08, according to Caltrans, and the Truckee Tahoe Bike Coalition must have its application into Caltrans by Oct. 13 to receive funding.

Another project Gartner is working on is changing how funding is allocated to bicycling routes in the community.

“We are putting together a petition to the state because state funding is based on population, and up here they need to look at usage,” Gartner said.

Gartner founded the Truckee Tahoe Bike Coalition about a month and a half ago, she said, after volunteering for the Truckee Trails Foundation for three years and working on the advisory board of the Truckee Bike Coalition.

She began working on bike routes there, creating the Truckee Bike Route Map for the Truckee Trails Foundation, working with Dan Wilkins, the Truckee public works director, and Caltrans to put up signs along the bike routes.

Gartner then decided to form a group that was “task oriented, didn’t have a board governing it, or membership to be a part of the organization,” Gartner said.

“People like to complain about things. They would rather complain than find a way to fix it,” Gartner said, “I wanted a democratic way to go about doing this.”