Master plan for urban trails may take a hike
Mesa County commissioners will consider tossing the Urban Trails Master Plan at their meeting this morning, in hopes of creating a “clean slate” for trails planning.
A resolution on today’s agenda would abolish the trails master plan, created in 1997, and defer to the Mesa County Standard Specification for Road and Bridge Construction for guidance on trails.
The swap will keep many standards for trails development intact because of redundancies across documents, according to Mesa County Long-Range Planning Director Keith Fife, but will eliminate the master plan’s map that suggests future trail routes.
Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca said it was the potential trails mapped in the master plan across private property that spurred commissioners to consider retiring the trails master plan.
The map suggests the possibility of trail routes on private land, including along water district canals, but states anyone using those routes now are trespassing. Acquafresca said he would prefer to start fresh without those routes in a plan.
“We believe at some point in history, canal road trails may be a good idea, but it flies in the face of private water entities when government designates trails on their property without permission,” he said. “It would be better to remove those designations from the maps and, if in the future, people that view those routes for trails want to negotiate with the underlying landowner, that would be fine.”
Acquafresca said local government leaders and the public can funnel future ideas on trails into a 2040 regional transportation plan that will address a variety of transportation modes, from trails to trains.
Work on that plan will begin soon through the local Regional Transportation Planning Office and may be complete by the end of the year, according to Acquafresca.
A regional transportation plan must be completed every five years to keep an area eligible for federal funding for transit projects, according to Fife.
The commissioners administrative meeting will begin at 9 a.m. today in the public hearing room at the Old Mesa County Courthouse, 544 Rood Ave.