Truckee moving forward with West River Street park
Construction on a riverside park off West River Street could start this summer with Truckee Town Council moving forward with initial designs.
In 2018 the town was awarded a $500,000 grant from the California Natural Resource Agency to partially fund the park project. The park design includes an upland area with benches, picnic tables and potentially public art.
“It will be a mixed use gathering space within the park,” said Hillary Hobbs, Truckee management analyst.
Closer to the river, the park will slope down into a bowl area that will allow for a better view of the river. This area would include planted areas, boulders and seat walls and a river overlook.
“Not only does it allow you to get down close and access the river but it makes it feel much more river oriented,” said Hobbs.
The bowl area would also serve as a landing place for a bridge over the Truckee River, which is proposed in Phase 4 of the Truckee River Legacy Trail. Currently the Truckee Donner Land Trust is proposing to acquire 26 acres on the south side of the river, which the Legacy Trail will run through.
Town staff plans to come back to council with more details on the park at the March 10 Council meeting.
The Master Plan
The park is part of a larger West River Street site plan that will include streetscape improvements, sidewalks, utility undergrounding and additional parking.
Staff put forward two options for a new street design. The first includes placing a 16-foot wide sidewalk closest to the park with angled parking between the two commercial sites proposed on the site and parallel parking in front of the buildings. This option, however, would not allow for a bike lane along the road and force some bicyclists to use the sidewalk.
“Pedestrian traffic will most likely be less than that of commercial row,” said Dan Wilkins, public works director for the town of Truckee. “The notion of mixing cyclists and pedestrians in this area, we don’t believe it’s going to lead to significant conflicts,” he said. He added that they hope cyclists coming and going from State Route 89 will eventually use the Legacy Trail instead of West River Street.
A second option would make all parking along the south side of the street parallel. Hobbs said this could create issues with cyclists as the bike lane would run right next to the parking spaces. Additionally it creates a wider space for traffic and has the potential to allow cars to move faster though the area and an unsafe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Council could not agree on which option would be safest and plans to revisit the issue.
Along with the park, town staff is looking at multiple other projects in the area including bridge location, west river streetscape project, the Old Trestle distillery and the cottages residential project.
Hobbs said this has made the park a “complex project to design as all projects are moving at the same time.”
In 2010 the town conducted a redevelopment feasibility study on the site as well as community outreach. In 2019 they hired a landscape architect and initiated the design process and streetscape improvements.
“The town has been actively working on redevelopment of this site for several years,” said Hobbs.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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