Nevada County releases draft transportation plan | SierraSun.com

Nevada County releases draft transportation plan

A passenger boards a TART bus at the Truckee Amtrak Station on March 27, 2017.

Truckee residents have a chance to make their voices heard on the latest plan that'll help shape the future of local transportation.

The Nevada County Transportation Commission released a draft of the Nevada County Regional Transportation Plan on May 18 for a 30-day public comment period ending at 5 p.m. on June 19.

"It's a relatively minor update," said Transportation Planner Mike Woodman. "We've completed some projects but with the lack of transportation funding over the last five years, and the smaller growth we've seen, we're not really seeing a need for many new projects in addition to what has already been laid out."

The plan includes Truckee, Nevada City, Grass Valley, and other portions of Nevada County, and serves as a blueprint for the region's transportation priorities though the year 2035. The current draft is an update to the 2010 version.

"When you look at the demographics, the county's population of residents is expected to increase from 98,193 in 2015 to 110,224 in 2035," he said. "Also, when you look at the elderly (age 75 and up), that number is expected to increase 106 percent."

Woodman said the population growth and greater percentage of senior residents is going to increase the need for public transit, but since many residences are spread out in more rural areas of the county, it can de difficult planning where bus routes should go.

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"A lot of those populations don't reside in the incorporated areas, which presents a challenge for transit services because it's more costly to service those areas," he said.

The plan also addresses the impact of climate change on transportation in Nevada County, stating that there are likely to be several impacts to the region related to more intense precipitation during storms and increased wildfire risk.

"In addition to direct damage to transportation infrastructure, fire may create indirect damage when burned slopes become susceptible to landslides during storm events following fires," according to the plan. "Evacuation routes may need to be considered in future road planning, and demands on transportation related firefighting infrastructure, in particular the Nevada County Airport, which serves as a base for several firefighting aircraft, are likely to increase.

Three public workshops on the plan were held in 2015 — one in Truckee, one in Grass Valley, and one in Nevada City. There was also an informational website with an online survey to determine what the priorities were for residents.

According to the results of that outreach effort, the top concern across all three communities was the lack of transit connecting to areas outside the region, and that existing bus routes don't go to places people desire. Other concerns were air pollution, bike safety and missing sidewalks.

The draft plan may be viewed on the commission's website, nctc.ca.gov, or in person at their office in Nevada City. Copies of the plan are also available at the Truckee Library, the Madelyn Heiling Library in Nevada City, and the Royce Branch of the Grass Valley Library.

Public comments on the plan may be emailed to Nevada County Transportation Commission Transportation Planner Mike Woodman at mwoodman@nccn.net. They may also be faxed to him at 530-265-3260 or mailed to him at 101 Providence Mine Road, Suite 102, Nevada City, CA 95959.

Amanda Rhoades is a news, environment and business reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at arhoades@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @akrhoades.