Truckee Town Council approves 15 mph speed limit on mixed-use trails

TRUCKEE, Calif. – After hearing concerns from many shared-use trail users, the Truckee Town Council approved the first-reading of changes to an ordinance that would implement a speed-limit on trails. 

Increased use of trails, as well as new technologies being seen on trails, led the Town to consider changes to the municipal code. The Truckee Police Department to conduct a survey and stakeholder meetings regarding top concerns for trail users. 

The top three most common concerns were litter and dog waste, speed of cyclists and trail etiquette. 

For now, the Town is just tackling the speed of cyclists. After stakeholder meetings, staff landed on 15 mph, which is standard among other trails in California, as the maximum speed limit on shared-use trails. 

The code will now read, “the speed limit for any device shall not exceed 15 miles per hour, but in no instance shall the speed allowed be greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions having due regard for terrain, weather, visibility, including time of day, pedestrian, and vehicular traffic on or crossing the trail, and condition of the device.”

In other words, while the max speed is 15 mph, there may be times when a slower speed is necessary. The example staff gave was if a single person is walking on the trail, passing them at the max speed is probably safe however, if a mother is walking a dog and has her toddler running around on the trail, passing at 15 mph is too fast and unsafe. 

TPD said they will have enforcement officers occasionally on the trails educating users on best practices. Egregious rule breaking could result in a fine of $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second violation and $500 for the third violation. 

During public comment, Allison Pedley spoke on behalf of the Truckee Trails Foundation and Paco Lindsay, who is on the foundation board, in support of the change. 

“We feel like 15 mph is a good place to land,” Pedley said. 

Few public comments were submitted on the item, three of the six that were submitted said 15 mph was too slow and would make commuting on bike inconvenient. 

The council agreed to stick with 15 mph but directed staff to monitor the trails to determine if the speed should be changed down the line. 

Council also asked staff to bring back an item regarding painting center lines on the trails. Staff said they will be painting the Legacy Trail this fall and will determine if it’s successful. 

The Council also approved a letter response to the Donner Lake: A Pearl in Peril Nevada County Grand Jury Report. The Report, which was released in June 2023, highlights the importance of Donner Lake, as well as surrounding conditions, such as hill erosion and Interstate 80 run-off, which are damaging the lake. 

The letter approved by the Council partially disagreed with many of the findings in the report. The Town’s complaint stems from the area of the region the report focused on. 

“The primary focus of the report was on the West Reed Avenue area, which has approximately 80 individual residentially zoned parcels that abut it. The report focus area represents approximately 2% of the entirety of the Donner Lake watershed,” the letter said. 

The letter pointed to the fact that Donner Lake Interagency Partnership for Stewardship was largely ignored in the report but provides important services to the lake such as regular water quality testing. 

Approval of the letter was done on consent so there was no council discussion of the letter. Also on consent, council approved a contract for the Truckee Depot Curb and Gutter Replacement Project and amending contracts for the 2023 Paving and Drainage Project and 2023 Trail Pavement Maintenance Project to increase the contract amounts. 

The next meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept 26. 

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