Truckee Explores Trail to Link Tahoe Donner with Downtown

Because of its higher elevation and snowfall levels, Tahoe Donner’s road maintenance needs are more significant than other parts of Truckee. To meet that need, Tahoe Donner homeowners pay an additional assessment (tax) – typically used for accelerating the town’s slurry sealing and asphalt overlay schedules for the subdivision.

It’s called the Truckee Special Service Area 1, a.k.a. “TSSA 1,” and the fund has an approximate fund balance of $5.2 million, accumulating at a rate of $589,000 per year. Aside from roadway maintenance activities, TSSA 1 funds may be used for trails and improved roadside parking in the town right-of-way which directly benefits the Tahoe Donner community (i.e., TSSA 1 service area).

Each year, the Truckee Town Council reviews the town’s pavement management program along with any eligible projects that directly benefit the TSSA 1 service area. In recent years, the Tahoe Donner staff and board of directors have reviewed these plans and requested the town designate TSSA 1 funds for additional projects that would benefit Tahoe Donner in addition to the regular roadway maintenance activities. Recently these funds were used to improve the on-street parking area at the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Center along with completing a class 1 trail design from Tahoe Donner to downtown Truckee.

As the town and Tahoe Donner both look to encourage non-motorized transportation, a proposed trail has been explored that would run from the Northwoods Boulevard entrance to Tahoe Donner (by the power lines and monument sign) to Bridge Street downtown. The paved trail, known as Trail 13, would be for multiple uses like hiking and biking but not for motorized vehicles.

The estimated length of the trail is just over one mile. Per the Town of Truckee’s Trails and Bikeways Master Plan, Trail 13 is proposed as a Class 1 path and its design standards are as follows: separated from a roadway with a minimum ten foot wide hard surface path. The trail may or may not include a separate soft surface trail running parallel to the hard surface path.

Following the Tahoe Donner Board of Directors recommendation, the town council approved the use of TSSA 1 funds for an environmental impact study. The study, completed last summer, determined that the trail could be built with minimal impact to the area in question. Initial design parameters are now being developed.

Now the town is considering whether to use TSSA 1 funds for construction of the trail. At its March and April board meetings, the Tahoe Donner Board of Directors discussed the issue and made a recommendation to the town to program TSSA 1 funds to construct the first phase (one quarter mile) of Trail 13 from Northwoods Boulevard to Euer Valley Road South. Additionally, the town is reviewing their five year pavement management plan, which may impact the available town funds which are augmented by TSSA 1 funds to provide for the accelerated road maintenance in Tahoe Donner. Potential shortfalls in town budgeting may impact the frequency of slurry sealing and road overlays in Tahoe Donner; however, the town staff does not believe modifications to the funding or current road maintenance levels will impact the proposed trail project.

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April 18, 2012

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