To be paved with good intentions
The Truckee Town Council voted on Thursday to construct parallel paved and unpaved surfaces on the Truckee River Legacy Trail.
The long-awaited decision will make the Legacy Trail, the spine of Truckee’s trail system, a versatile resource for recreational and alternative transportation users.
After a lengthy outpouring of public comments from both advocates for and critics of paving the Legacy Trail, four members of the council (Council Member Barbara Green was absent) voted to adopt the Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan update, which included recommendations for surfacing trails ” most notably the Legacy Trail.
“Hopefully we can create something with some of the vision of the Legacy Foundation, but I agree with the other council members in the need to pave the Legacy Trail,” said Mayor Richard Anderson.
The council agreed that paving the Legacy Trail should have minimal impact on the environment, but because of its importance as a link between Glenshire and downtown, and in the interest of being inclusive for all users, the council decided a hard surface is a necessary companion to a second, softer surface.
During public comment, Marshall Lewis, chairman for phase one of the Legacy Trail, argued against paving the trail with conventional asphalt or concrete, providing samples of one alternative.
The samples were of decomposed granite solidified with a binding agent (enzymatic resin copolymer), creating a hard surface with a more natural color, Lewis said.
The Our Truckee River Legacy Trail Foundation will install 2,000 feet of the hard decomposed granite surface in the Truckee River Regional Park, Lewis said.
“I hope everybody will go down there and check it out and keep an open mind,” he said.
Others also suggested alternative surfaces to lessen environmental impacts of traditional pavement manufacturing, transportation and heat retention.
Council Member Josh Susman said he would be interested in further research into alternative hard surfaces.
“I am not opposed to alternative surfaces as long as they are inclusive surfaces,” he said.
Kathleen Eagan, Truckee Tahoe Airport Board chair and one-time Truckee Mayor, said steps should be taken to insure protection of the Truckee River with the new trail usage.
“We all have the responsibility to make sure we do right by the river,” Eagan said.
Susman said, “It seems to me that we want to have a green path, and if we can have materials to minimize the carbon footprint of creating a pavement footprint,” Susman said.
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