unedited Tahoe Mt. News Sept. article
Bike trail system expands in Meyers
By Kathryn Reed
Pump up the bike tires or lace up those walking shoes, another path officially opens this month on the South Shore.
El Dorado County Department of Transportation workers laid down the mile of trail faster than anticipated, having started the project in July. The trail begins at Santa Fe Road in Meyers and goes north to the entrance of Lake Tahoe Golf Course.
“A portion of this trail is a pilot project with the decking material to minimize impacts in the stream environmental zone,” explained Alfred Knotts, project manager and principle planner with the county transportation department. “The material is fiberglass.”
The 500-foot section paralleling Highway 50 complies with the American Disabilities Act mandate that grades be no more than 5 percent. It also allows light and precipitation to pass through it.
The California Tahoe Conservancy, which with the county and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, is a partner in the project, wanted to see how this type of elevated boardwalk would work in the basin.
This Class 1 trail connects to the Class 2 trail along Pioneer Trail as well as to the Pat Lowe Memorial Trail in Meyers that goes in front of Lira’s and on the other side of the highway by Meek’s. (A Class 2 trail is on the shoulder and is 4-feet wide. Lowe was a county supervisor.)
The current project, like the larger 9.6-mile South Lake Tahoe Greenway Bikeway that is in the planning stages, comes with a price tag of about $1 million per mile.
Ray Lacey, CTC deputy director, said the high cost is attributed to several factors. In the case of the bike path going in now, it is 8 feet wide to meet Caltrans requirements. Whereas, the Greenway trail will be 10-feet wide to meet American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials rules. Both will have 2 foot shoulders on each side to reduce conflicts with other trail users.
“These public works type projects go through sensitive areas and get very costly,” Lacey said. “When you think about a bike trail on solid earth, that’s relatively easy. When it’s a wet, sensitive area and you have to bridge or board them that costs more.”
Some bridges and boardwalks need to be vehicle rated to allow emergency vehicles access – which has been the case in trails in Truckee.
Adding to the cost is the skyrocketing price of materials – notably petroleum.
The second phase of the Meyers project will be completed next summer. That will go from the golf course to Sawmill Road.
By the end of the 2010 building season, county transportation crews will also have installed a trail going from Sawmill Road to Lake Tahoe Boulevard, and from Tahoe Mountain Road on Lake Tahoe Boulevard to the city limits.