Truckee Council approves West River Street park contract changes, extends microtransit service

West River Street Park Master Plan Phase 1 rendering.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee Town Council approved changes to the West River Street Park project during their Valentine’s Day meeting. 

The park project has been in the works for almost two decades, since the town acquired the former Nevada County Maintenance Yard at 10257 West River Street in 2004. Since 2010, town officials have hosted several public workshops. In 2019, the town awarded a design contract to Melton Design Group and a design plan was approved in Feb. 2020

Goals for the park include providing a passive park with public river access, restoration of the riparian edge, public open space, being a catalyst for riverfront development, and connectivity to downtown and the Legacy Trail.

The design plans are currently at 30% but staff would like to see the plans completed excluding the streetscape improvements adjacent to the park. Staff has identified additional work items that need to be added to the contract to help bring the design percentage up, including an increased complexity of design, accounting for previous and ongoing bridge coordination and design revisions, additional survey scope and plan updates to reduce overall construction costs. 

The contract needs an additional $124,822 to complete the additions. 

Vice Mayor Dave Polivy spoke in opposition to the park, stating that there are several other river and trail access projects in the works in surrounding areas. 

“I do, very much so, agree with the project goals,” Polivy said. “I very much like parks. What I don’t like is a bad budget return on investment and it’s simply more that I don’t place this particular capital improvement project as such a high priority when compared to the many other CIP projects coming before us.” 

He admitted that it was likely that he would be out voted on this project so if it was going to move forward, he had a few changes he’d like to see included. Specifically, he wanted trash service and public restrooms, which were not included in the original plan, to be added. 

The contract amendment passed 3-1, with Councilmember Courtney Henderson being absent and Polivy providing the no vote. 

The meeting began with an update from Town Manager Jennifer Calloway. She discussed the traffic issues that have been plaguing Truckee. She said while she hates passing the responsibility, many of the issues are out of the Town’s control since the traffic is caused by the ski resorts which are in a different county and the roads are controlled by Caltrans and California Highway Patrol.

Still, the Town has continued to advocate for different traffic strategies and attended the Joint Olympic Valley Mutual Advisory Council and North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council meeting on Feb. 9 that discussed the issue. 

“There is no apparent solution in the short-term, other than working with the ski resorts to address destination management strategies — parking reservations, ski pass sales — and a lot of that is proprietary information. We don’t even know and can’t be told how many passes are being sold, that’s not something they’re sharing. So couple that on top of the traffic congestion, we can’t even plan from an evacuation stand point,” Calloway said. 

She went on to say the ski resorts need to employ traffic managment solutions and “be good neighbors.”

During the meeting, the council also approved a continuation of the Microtransit Pilot Program through June 30, 2024. To free up additional funds for the program, staff recommended the elimination of the Dial-A-Ride service. However, because the Dial-A-Ride service allowed for reservations, it was the primary mode of transportation for many disabled riders. So, as a stipulation to the program extension, the council asked that microtransit service offer reservations for Americans with Disability Act eligible riders. 

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