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Truckee trails plan is on the right path

In 2002, the Town of Truckee completed the Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan.

This visionary document involved the work of countless volunteers and dedicated town staff, and provides for over 130 miles of trails and bikeways for recreation and for alternative transportation.

Of course, the obvious question is what has happened in the intervening years to take a network of trails from conception to reality. And what does this network look like as it appears on the ground? Over the next few months I’ll be writing about what has happened, what is happening, and what is planned to grow Truckee’s trails and bikeways infrastructure.



But first, back to the Master Plan and a primer on trails. Currently, the Master Plan provides for four different kinds of non-motorized routes:

– Recreational Trails ” These are unpaved trails, single track or wider;




– Class I Bike Paths ” These are paved bike paths that are separate from any roadway. A great example is the bike path from Squaw Valley to Tahoe City;

– Class II ” These are on-street bike lanes that are striped and signed, and are also often characterized by a stenciled biker in the middle of the lane. You’ll see Class II bike lanes all the way around Northwoods Boulevard and along Donner Pass Road from Gateway to the Donner Pines Market;

– Class III ” These are on-street routes typically in residential neighborhoods with slower vehicle speeds. The only thing a bike route needs to become official is roadside signs.

While the Trails and Bikeways Plan is very clear about where Class III and Class II bikeways go, what it does not do is distinguish between recreational trails and paved bike paths. Why does this matter? Knowing which trails are paved bike paths and which are recreational, soft surface trails can help the town provide trails that meet both the recreational and alternative transportation needs of our community.

To provide better guidance, the Town of Truckee has partnered with the Truckee Trails Foundation and Streamline Consulting Group to conduct a public process that will add detail to the Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan. The primary outcome will be to assist town staff help developers and other trail builders understand what kind of trails are required for different areas of Truckee.

What is also cool about the process is that it will add to our understanding of how people in Truckee think about their emerging trail system. During the process we will be conducting surveys at soccer games, in front of cycling stores, at trailheads and in different neighborhoods to gauge public opinion. This is also an opportunity to bring together members of the many different user groups to form the Advisory Committee that helps to guide the process.

Finally, the process could very well end up providing the town and the Trails Foundation with some innovative tools that the public can use to chart the progress of Truckee’s trail system.

Why is this important? Almost daily I receive calls and e-mails inquiring about this trail or that bike lane. The process underway to add detail to the Trails Plan could produce valuable tools for the community “

establishing a tiered system of prioritizing trail and bikeway construction, and an updated Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan map backed up by an informational database where you can click on a section of trail or bikeway and get important information about who is responsible for building the trail, timelines and budget. Want to know the status of the Our Truckee River Legacy Trail? Click on the map and you’ll know as much as the people building the trail.

Of course there is already one map available that can show you the current status of Truckee’s bikeways system ” the Truckee Bike Map that the Truckee Trails Foundation produced last year. My shameless plug: Great to look at and easy to use, the map is your guide to easy, intermediate, and advanced rides. All the bike routes shown on the map correspond to the signed bike routes you see along Truckee’s roadways, which were funded and installed by the Town of Truckee.

This map is available at fine establishments throughout Truckee (for a list go to http://www.truckeetrails.org and click on ‘links’ for a list of bike map distributors) for a small donation of $3.

Leigh Fitzpatrick is the Executive Director of the Truckee Trails Foundation. He wants to remind everyone to come out for Truckee Trails Day on Sept. 16th. Go to and click on ‘events’ for details.


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