Walking the walk: Truckee residents look to make town a place for pedestrians | SierraSun.com

Walking the walk: Truckee residents look to make town a place for pedestrians

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Submitted PhotoTruckee students navigate Donner Pass Road during lunch break. A group of Truckee residents is working to make the town more pedestrian friendly.
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More than 40 people took to the streets of Truckee last Wednesday to experience the challenges of getting around town on foot.

Led by the Truckee Health Challenge 2013 Coalition, local residents and representatives on Sept. 17 walked along Donner Pass Road and through the Mousehole ” two areas the group identified as particularly important.

“When you are actually out there walking, you realize how inadequate existing options are,” said Dr. Sandra Carter with Truckee Health Challenge. “There is a lot of potential for improvement.”

Donning red T-shirts, the group walked the stretch of Donner Pass Road most students walk, and then passed through the railroad undercrossing on Highway 89 south known as the Mousehole, Carter said.

“We had Truckee Police with us and vehicles slowed, but even with that, it was frightening,” Carter said.

John Svahn, executive director of the Truckee Trails Foundation ” a member group of the coalition ” agreed that the Mousehole is a major hurdle for walking and cycling alike.

Mayor Barbara Green said the town is chipping away at the problem slowly but surely, but Truckee presents many challenges.

“Because the town is so huge ” it’s 12 miles long ” it’s difficult to do the job all at once,” Green said.

Svahn said the group learned about opportunities.

Carter said the Truckee Health Challenge decided to look at walkability as an important element for physical fitness.

“The impetus behind the Truckee Health Challenge is the rising epidemic of obesity nationally,” Carter said. “One of the first challenges is most American cities presume people use the automobile ” they’re not built about walking, bicycling or mass transit.”

Truckee, Carter said, also has to contend with the weather.

“There’s either no sidewalk or no snow clearing on the sidewalks,” Carter said.

Along with health and mobility benefits of a walking-friendly community, Carter said there would be environmental benefits in getting people out of their cars.

The Truckee Health Challenge Coalition will now take what they have learned and give it to Nevada County Public Health, the town, the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District and other interested entities, Carter said.

“The next steps are identifying exactly what should be done,” Carter said.

Want to get involved in Truckee Health Challenge? Contact Dr. Sandra Carter at 550 2309.