Town, residents weigh in on Donner Lake bike lane issue |

Town, residents weigh in on Donner Lake bike lane issue

The bike lane proposed for the Donner Lake area of Donner Pass Road will reduce parking and cut into private driveways and stairways but leave residents with an improved and more aesthetically pleasing section of road, say town engineers and some local residents Monday night.

The construction of the 2.6-mile segment of bike lane would reduce parking by approximately 90 spaces, require a new drainage system, and prompt the removal of several trees. But the design, planned for between Donner Pines Market and South Shore Drive, would leave the road with a curb and gutter system, a granite rock wall instead of a guardrail, improved parking areas, and eight or nine new crosswalks.

Fewer than 10 Donner Lake residents attended the Monday-night meeting at Truckee Town Hall to examine the plan that, at points, encroaches on their driveways and could result in the modification of stairways.

The original date for the bike lane project was 2004, but with the Truckee Donner Public Utilities District still installing water lines in the area, the project may be delayed.

“The reality of it, with all the conflicts, means it could slip to 2005,” said Project Manager Bill Quesnel.

Senior Engineer Pat Perkins said, “We don’t want to do a lot of paving work, and then the utilities come in and tear it all up.”

The drainage system will include catch basins to remove sediment from water runoff that would compromise the clarity of Donner Lake.

“We’re going to have to do those things to get a permit, and we should do those things because it’s Donner Lake,” Quesnel said.

Planners suggested removing several trees to make extra space for parking, improve drivers’ vision of the road, and reduce shade that creates iciness in winter.

The residents made comments favoring some tree removal and asked the planning team about boat trailer parking. The loss of 90 parking spaces – which includes currently unpaved sections that are used as makeshift parking – was a major concern. But several of the residents recognized that the idea of the bike lane was to create a more pedestrian area. Some suggested making the piers bike-accessible and including bike racks in the project.

“You’re trying to create a more pedestrian area, not an auto area,” said area resident Emilie Kashtan, who also noted she was concerned about the town cutting into driveways, yard space and parking areas without compensation to homeowners.

The planners emphasized that the bike lane project is still in its early stages, and that public input at this point is very useful in shaping the project.

“If we say it’s not worth it, we need to see where it’s worth it and where it’s not,” said Perkins of the project. “We haven’t done any design work here; all we have done is finalize some concepts.”

The meeting was poorly attended because many of the residents in the project area were not notified of the meeting. The project team hopes to repeat the meeting in January with a better turnout, they said. The team is also working with individual homeowners on specific problems, such as driveway and stairway modification.

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