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County plans for next 25 years of transportation

County plans for next 25 years of transportation

One of the transportation projects being considered includes reconstruction of the Hwy. 99 and Fulkerth Road interchange.


POSTED November 27, 2009 11:40 p.m.
Concerned Turlockers gathered at the Turlock Youth Center on Monday to help draft the 2010 Regional Transportation Plan, a document that will guide transportation in Stanislaus County for the next 25 years.
The final RTP, due to the state and federal governments in July 2010, will serve as a blueprint for all sorts of future transportation ranging from cars to bikes to airplanes.
“Really, the intent of the RTP is to improve the transportation system,” said Jaylen French, StanCOG associate planner and RTP project manager.
More than 20 attended the Monday evening meeting, which Carlos Yamzon, senior planner with the Stanislaus County Council of Governments, termed a “Very good showing.” He went on to say that these public outreach meetings, of which the Turlock meeting was the fourth and final for the initial RTP process, were important because they allow StanCOG to engage the public to learn about pressing transportation issues.
The document is split into two portions, labeled Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects. Only Tier 1 projects have funding attached in the RTP, while Tier 2 projects are more of a wish list. The document is not intended to be a laundry list of projects, but instead a comprehensive plan of projects that relate to one other and make sense for the region’s transportation needs.
In Turlock, there’s still some discussion ongoing about what projects should be in which Tier.
“We’re still talking about what should be Tier 1 or Tier 2,” said Turlock Planning Manager Debbie Whitmore
Most of Turlock’s current Tier 1 RTP projects are focused on the Westside Industrial Specific Plan, including widening Fulkerth Road, Washington Road, Linwood Avenue, and West Main Street, all West of Highway 99. The WISP improvements also feature a reconstruction of the Highway 99 and Fulkerth Road interchange and the construction of three new collector roads, including an expansion of Tegner Road. Some widening work would also be done outside the WISP on East Avenue, Monte Vista Avenue, and Olive Avenue in the current Tier 1 plan.
The RTP Tier 2 road projects for Turlock include a planned West Main Street and Highway 99 interchange, a new Highway 99 and Highway 165 interchange, and widening of Taylor Road and East Avenue.
The Tier 1 plan doesn’t ignore the cyclists in the community, calling for new bike paths along Canal Drive, Swanpark Drive, and Quincy Road. Fulkerth Road, West Main Street, Tegner Road, and Monte Vista Avenue, are included in the Tier 2 wish list for bike paths.
The Turlock Municipal Airport also features heavily in the RTP, including work on runways, taxiways, aprons, and new hangers.
While inclusion in the RTP doesn’t ensure that a project will be built, projects must be mentioned in the RTP to be eligible for state and federal funding.
“It’s a plan, it’s not a programming document,” Whitmore said.
Turlockers at Monday’s meeting proposed other projects for inclusion into the RTP, including a northern connection to Monte Vista Crossings, an expansion of Taylor and Fulkerth Roads, and additional bike routes throughout the city.
StanCOG planners will take those suggestions into account as they compile the final draft project list in December. That list will be reviewed during a public meeting in January 2010, which will likely be held in Modesto.
“I’ve been working with the cities every day to finalize the list,” French said.
Public review of the draft RTP and the associated Environmental Impact Report will commence in April 2010. The RTP should be finalized in July 2010.
More information on the RTP process is available at www.stancog.org
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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