Recreation Corridor Plan and Trail Feasibility Study
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
State Route 89, a two-lane mountain roadway, is the only access route to many of Lake Tahoe's popular recreation areas and to many of the residential neighborhoods along the West Shore. Emerald Bay, one of California's 36 National Natural Landmark sites, is one of Lake Tahoe's most popular and photographed locations. Almost 12 miles of undeveloped shoreline offer beach access to sites such as Meeks Bay, Sugar Pine Point State Park, Baldwin Beach, Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Tallac Historic Site, Camp Richardson, and Pope Beach. Seven trailheads provide day-use access to waterfalls and alpine lakes as well as backcountry and Desolation Wilderness access for overnight recreational opportunities.
The Draft SR 89 Recreation Corridor Management Plan was released on July 22, 2020. The plan identified completing the West Shore Tahoe Trail as a priority project. Completion of a Feasibility Study for the trail was identified as part of Phase 1 projects in the Corridor Plan.
West Shore Tahoe Trail
Completing the West Shore Tahoe Trail was identified as a high priority project in the State Route 89 Recreation Corridor Management Plan. The plan also identified guiding principles and several high-level alternative routes for the trail (see attachments). Multiple site visits and consultations were conducted with residents and landowners in the project area as part of the planning process.
The 11.3 mile long segment of bikeway trail between Meeks Bay and Spring Creek Road has been identified as the next segment of bikeway to be constructed, and the final segment of the West Shore portion of the Tahoe Trail, a major component of the region's non-vehicular network. The trail will cross private and public property and highway right of way, as well as connect to popular recreation sites, including Emerald Bay and D.L. Bliss.
The purpose of completing this segment of trail is to provide multi-modal access to popular West Shore recreation sites, reduce vehicle and parking impacts, improve transportation options for residents and visitors, improve safety, enhance recreation access, reduce water and air pollution, and enhance stormwater management and water quality.
Tahoe Trail Conceptual Principles:
- Identify and provide buildable and convenient connections to communities, public facilities, public lands, the lakeshore, and open space. Consider connections to other projects identified in the Corridor Plan.
- Identify opportunities to restore and enhance water quality and reduce storm water pollution through design and construction of the trail.
- Maximize the percentage of trail segments that are Class 1, identify segments where Class 4 trails can replace Class 2 trails.
- Serve both recreation and commuter needs, with recreation needs receiving first priority where trade-offs must be made.
- Provide for a variety of bicycle and pedestrian users on the trail, while recognizing and managing potential conflicts.
- Provide adequate public and private support facilities, such as restrooms, garbage, and wayfinding.
- Remain sensitive to the cultural resources and natural resources in the corridor.
- Consider social and economic benefits of the trail.
- Provide interpretive opportunities along the trail for natural, cultural, and historic resources.
- Minimize the number of crossings of SR-89, crossings should be over or under the highway when feasible.
- Where appropriate, use and enhance existing disturbed area, such as old logging and fire access roads, and take advantage of joint parking opportunities, such as at school sites.
- Include opportunities for universal accessibility.
- Provide visitor amenities, such as rest areas and vistas, to make the bikeway an enjoyable experience.
- Implement signage and naming consistent with the collaborative work the Lake Tahoe Pathway Partnership
- Identify public utilities early in the process and potential for co-location and undergrounding of utility lines.
- Identify opportunities to collocate conduit for communication systems and fiber optic within trail footprint.
- Respect private property rights
- Reduce noise impacts from trail usage
Scope of Work
Task 1. Path Feasibility Study
Within the geographic limits of the project area, refine the conceptual alignments identified in the corridor plan. Consider existing documents, available data, guiding principles, stakeholder input, site walks, and other relevant information.
Study needs include the following;
- Presume the path will be 10 feet wide and paved with asphalt.
- Consider user issues when identifying trail alignment alternatives including accessibility to existing and future activity centers, existing and future transit service, safety issues, aesthetic values, recreation and commuter travel concerns, parking, and operations and maintenance of the completed path.
- Take into consideration the "big picture" or overview of the entire path system to enhance the rider's experience in the various alternatives through selection of the best scenic vistas, optimum visual experience along the path, interpretation of historic and cultural points of interest etc.
- Identify land coverage and capability requirements and constraints. Tabulate by land capability class the square footage of land coverage estimated to be required on private parcels and public parcels. Identify any necessary coverage or allocation needs.
- Identify major constraints to path construction and ways to overcome these constraints based on but not limited to the following:
- Land ownership patterns (private land)
- Low Land Capability
- Excessive Hill Slope
- Excessive Grade
- Excessive cut and fill required to address grades and slopes
- Potential Scenic Impact
- Public or Private Utilities and potential conflicts
- Species of Interest
- Key acquisitions (fee title, easements) that are required to construct the path.
- Identify path segments that may require intensive design and engineering due to slope constraints or other known physical, historic or archaeological constraints, and potential scenic impacts. Provide creative design concepts to these constrained areas with photo simulation or conceptual drawings (more detail in Task 2).
- Identify segments and sub-segments to support planning, engagement, evaluation, and ultimately implementation, that considers e & f above.
- Conversely, identify path segments with the least constraints to determine if a path segment that would be relatively easy to construct would be useful to the public. Develop evaluation criteria for alternative selection based on public and stakeholder input, project goals, and the task of this study.
- Based on the above analyses, identify a preferred path alignment. Identify potential project phases and planning level cost estimate for each phase.
Task 2. Artistic Renderings.
Produce digital and physical renderings, video, 3D footage, conceptual drone flights, etc. for the preferred trail alignment from Task 1. The desire is to have innovative ways to share the potential trail alignment with stakeholders and the public. Specifically, renderings or other artist representations should at minimum highlight segments of the trail and creative design solutions to Task 1.g. (Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nruLPCwB6U)
Task 3. Agency Team Support: Lead and deliver the Feasibility Study and support partners during the process. Partner agencies and involvement will include partners from the SR89 Corridor Plan.
- Organize one to twice monthly check in meetings with a project steering committee
- Participate in bi-monthly project development team meetings. These meetings will include the steering committee plus additional stakeholders.
- Conduct three (3) focus group meetings with a broader stakeholder group that will include representatives from HOA, businesses, and user groups.
Task 4. Outreach and Engagement
Stakeholder and public input are critical to successful project development. Regular public communication will occur through a variety of approaches to create multiple opportunities for public input and to provide helpful information about the progress of trail project planning, design, and construction. By involving the Washoe tribal community; local, state, and federal agencies; advocacy and interest groups; and the community-at-large in the planning process greater stewardship and support of the implementation, maintenance/ management, and funding of the trail can be encouraged.
The Outreach Strategy should incorporate both physical and digital outreach tactics and be flexible to changing COVID-19 guidelines. At a minimum four (4) public workshops, webinars, meetings, town halls, etc. should be conducted. Develop and implement an outreach strategy to gain input and buy-in from the broader public and stakeholders within the corridor. The outreach strategy should achieve the following;
- Respect the Washoe community by involving them in determining ways to protect and interpret Washoe cultural, historic, and natural resources values.
- Provide opportunities for existing local businesses to participate in the process so they can help enhance the visitor experience on and access to the trail.
- Provide opportunities for homeowners in the corridor that may be impacted by trail alignment to participate in plan development. Consider that many homeowners in this corridor are non-resident and/or seasonal in nature.
- Coordinate with appropriate agencies to incorporate the bikeway in new development plans and avoid conflicts with road and highway projects.
- Engage the public, relevant stakeholders, and landowners to gain input on trail design and location, improve the design, meet community needs, and to gain buy-in.
To view the full RFP visit http://www.trpa.org/document/rfps/