Colusa County draft bicycle plan submitted
A draft Colusa County bicycle plan was submitted to the Transportation Commission on Tuesday afternoon — the first update since 1992.
The staff members who compiled the plan and all the people who helped craft its contents hope, however, that it will not end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust like the last one.
No project is believed to be completed from that plan.
"Basically the intent (of the plan) is to assess the needs of the bicycle community of Colusa County," said Mike Azevedo, the program manager for Colusa County Public Works.
It is not, he said, a start-up list.
"The plan is just that, to recognize the needs. There is no mechanism to fund those needs, but there is a (state) Bicycle Transportation Account that we can compete for when this plan is complete," Azevedo said.
He said he would personally love to see a bike path that runs from Colusa to Williams, or a recreational trail along the levee system.
Both those ideas would be long-term hopes at best, Avevedo admits, but will never get done unless the county includes them in a plan.
Siskiyou County has gone so far as to incorporate its bicycle plan into its overall tourism attraction plan — an idea that is not foreign to Colusa County since it has the river, a wildlife refuge and historical sites that can be targeted for just such a goal.
Azevedo said if Caltrans was to ever move forward on its longtime plan to widen Highway 20, that would provide an opportunity to add bike lanes.
"We did have Caltrans representatives at our outreach meetings and while the acknowledged the benefit, they would not commit themselves to something like that," Avevedo said.
Similarly, as the state moves forward with its levee improvement plans, there could be an opportunity to add the bike trail as part of a widened setback levee.
More likely to be completed are smaller in-town projects, such as bike lane striping as certain streets are given a new surface.
Colusa has done a fair amount of that outside the context of the county plan, and the county recently completed a similar project on Wildwood Road in Arbuckle.
Additionally, both cities are working on downtown improvement plans, and finding ways to make them more bicycle and pedestrian friendly are part of those discussions.
Azevedo said there is no reason the county could not be part of those efforts.
Updating the plan started with four information outreach meetings in early September. They were held in Colusa, Williams, Maxwell and Arbuckle. Some of those meetings were attended by members of other communities as well.
"I was pleasantly surprised at the level of participation, both in pure numbers and suggestions and ideas brought to the forefront," Azevedo said.
Residents in Maxwell, for example, would like to see a bike lane that goes from the grammar school to the high school complex.
Azevedo and other staff took all those ideas and compiled the draft plan, which will be distributed to the cities, Caltrans and other agencies for their input.
Once all that is collected, a final plan will be brought back to the commission, and ultimately the Regional Transportation Authority.