Good news for bicyclists and pedestrians

More good news for pedestrians and bicyclists this month. The county’s bicycle and pedestrian plan is on its way to being finalized and Plumas County Public Works Department is seeking money from the federal government to make county road shoulders safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, horse riders and stranded motorists.

Bicycle and pedestrian plan

Jim Graham, public works senior environmental planner, announced at the transportation commission meeting June 19 that the Bicycle and Pedestrian Active Transportation Plan should be ready for public comments early in July. Adoption is tentatively scheduled for August.

The plan provides criteria for prioritizing a list of bicycle and pedestrian walkway and bikeway projects that, when fully implemented, will increase opportunities and make it safer and more convenient for people to walk and bike to work, school, shopping, recreation and other destinations.

When built out, the projects will likely lead to an increase in the number of people using non-motorized transportation in the county.

Graham noted that the recent move by the board of supervisors and public works to study sidewalks and crosswalks in the county, to make them safer and more convenient for pedestrians, fits right in with the bicycle and pedestrian plan.

Graham said, “I really think the bicycle and pedestrian plan is an important part of our economic future because we are becoming a recreation-based community.”

The bicycle and pedestrian plan has been under development since August 2015.

Congressman looking for ideas

Congressman Doug LaMalfa, representing District 1 in northern California, is a member of the House of Representative’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

LaMalfa’s district representative, Shane Starr, recently sent a letter to the board of supervisors asking if the county had any priority projects or policy reforms that could help Plumas County.

Public Works Director Bob Perreault responded to Starr’s letter with five project ideas and three proposed policy changes.

Budgets

The commission approved budget resolutions for the Plumas Transit System and for Senior Transportation.

The commission also adopted the Overall Work Program for 2017-2018. This transportation-planning document is required annually for review by Caltrans and approval by the Plumas County Transportation Commission.

Commissioner Susan Scarlett noted that the plan was an ambitious one, as usual. To which John Mannle, associate engineer and transportation planner, responded, “I try to be ambitious every year, but I usually don’t manage to get everything done.”

Public Works’ list of county road projects seeking federal funding:

$5.9 million for pavement rehabilitation and guardrail upgrades along Gold Lake Forest Highway (CR 519) in Plumas and Sierra counties between SR 89 and SR 49.

$5.8 million to repair and complete paved shoulders on the Graeagle-Johnsville Road (CR 506) for bicycles traveling between Plumas Eureka Estates and Johnsville within Plumas Eureka State Park.

$4.8 million to install shoulders and guardrails along 1.1 miles of Bucks Lakes Road (CR 411) located west of the Snake Lake Road intersection.

$4.5 million to rehabilitate 3.8 miles of pavement along Quincy Junction Road (CR 411), including construction of shoulders for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.

$2.5 million to rehabilitate pavement, upgrade guardrails and improve lighting to three intersections along 3.8 miles of County Route A13 (CR A13), located between SR 147 and SR 36 in the northern area of the Lake Almanor Peninsula.

Public Works’ list of proposed federal policy changes to help rural California counties:

$10.9 million to replace the county’s diesel-powered heavy equipment to meet California’s unfunded mandate that requires that diesel equipment, even in sparsely populated counties, meet new CARB standards.

Reauthorization or replace the $1.4-$3 million per year that was previously given to the county for road maintenance under the Secure Rural Schools program.

Have the federal government implement a pool of money for rural cash-strapped counties to borrow from in order to expedite the replacement of bridges and the reconstruction of roadways. This would replace the state pool that was terminated in September 2016.