Developing Eastern Truckee: Traffic, safety driving force behind Canyon Springs concerns
TRUCKEE, Calif. – As the Canyon Springs environmental review process forges ahead, traffic and safety continue to be major concerns for residents who will likely be impacted by the proposed development.A draft Environmental Impact Report finds that the proposed residential neighborhood near Glenshire could significantly impact traffic and transportation, specifically by increasing delays at key intersections – mainly Glenshire Drive/Donner Pass Road and Glenshire/Dorchester Drive – along with safety concerns at Martis Peak Road/Glenshire.According to one Glenshire resident, another intersection should be looked at.”Did you study the intersection of Olympic Heights and Glenshire Drive?” asked Jean Brooks, a Glenshire resident and SOS Glenshire member, at Tuesday night’s EIR informational meeting at Truckee Town Hall.To which Gordon Shaw, principal of LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc., a subconsultant for the draft EIR, said no.”Why not?” Brooks asked. “It’s significant. No left turn lane there. How many people have been rear-ended when they were trying to turn left to go up into Olympic Heights? You’ve got to look at that.”Since the Glenshire/Donner Pass Road intersection has long delays, particularly when vehicles attempt to make a left turn during peak evening hours, the EIR recommends that before the project breaks ground, a center turn lane on Donner Pass Road be constructed to allow two-stage left turns from Glenshire Drive. An eastbound left turn lane along Glenshire Drive at its intersection with Dorchester Drive is also recommended as part of the first phase of the eight-phase Canyon Springs project.As for the Glenshire/Martis Peak Road intersection – the proposed main entrance to the development – the EIR recommends a safety study be done, and implementing the study’s findings as part of that the phase.”The accident rate there is about twice as much as the state average for a road of that kind,” Shaw said. “Over a five-year period there were nine accidents there. … Six of those nine, there wasn’t any snow on the ground.”One meeting attendee suggested the region’s deer population could have caused some of those accidents.”I drive that hill almost every day, and certain times of the year, I see deer browsing along the roadside every day,” the woman said. “When you say some of those accidents happen when there’s no snow, my immediate thought was because they were swerving to avoid deer. Does that come into the safety – the fact that it’s a wildlife crossing?”Shaw said wildlife will be looked at in the safety study, adding that she brought up a “good point.”Glenshire resident Alex Heyman brought up the issue of roadside bikers.”With the safety assessment, especially coming from Martis Peak going down Glenshire Drive to Hirschdale, and really all along Glenshire Drive … there are a lot of bicyclists on that road,” he said. “I don’t think the numbers take into account a lot of near hits.”The numbers don’t include near hits, Shaw said, and may not include all accidents if some were not reported, but that is something a safety study could analyze.Another point of contention is the impact to residential roads, considering the EIR’s estimate of up to 2,578 one-way trips per day coming and going from the neighborhood.Residents described scenarios of roadside parking challenges and vehicles breaking down on Glenshire roads, making travel on them difficult, if not near impossible, due to their narrow widths.”We did not look at the sufficiency of the roadway width,” Shaw said. “We looked at traffic flow, assuming that there was one lane in direction. If there is a need to look at the width of the roadways, that’s something we would need to add to the EIR.”Other potentially significant impacts identified in the draft EIR are: air quality; hazards and hazardous materials; geology, soils and seismicity; biological resources; cultural resources; and hydrology and water quality.Areas the draft EIR found would to be impacted less than significantly are: aesthetics; agriculture and forestry; greenhouse gases; land use and planning; noise; population and housing; public services and recreation; and utilities and service systems.Furthermore, impacts to the deer herd population would be less than significant, said David Early, principal at the Planning Center I DC&E, the lead consulting company on the draft EIR.Written comments on the EIR must be submitted by March 1. From there, a final EIR – which responds to comments received on the environmental analysis and possibly includes revisions to the draft document – will be compiled.
How to review the 644-page Canyon Springs draft Environmental Impact Report, released in December:• A hard copy or a CD version of the report will be available at the town of Truckee offices at 10183 Truckee Airport Road, in the Community Development Department.• A digital copy online can be accessed through the town’s main website page at http://www.townoftruckee.com or via the following shortened web link: bit.ly/WKFn7W• For full details about the proposed project, visit canyonspringsoftruckee.com