Sentinel staff report–
The City of Citrus Heights has updated its website with a new interactive map and answers to more than two dozen questions residents raised about a 2.9-mile paved trail project set to connect a series of seven parks in the northeastern area of the city, including a small portion of Orangevale.
The map allows users to zoom in on each section of the trail, enabling viewers to see exactly where the trail will travel. The $7 million trail project, known as the “Electric Greenway Trail,” is set to largely follow an existing SMUD easement under power lines and travel from Wachtel Way through a residential neighborhood, continue over to Woodside K-8, and then pass through several parks before concluding in the Sunrise MarketPlace shopping area.
The majority of the trail avoids residential backyards, but a section travelling between residential homes off Olivine Way has drawn the ire of some residents who don’t want the trail in their backyard. Questions and objections raised by community members were addressed during a Jan. 8 open house community meeting the city hosted about the trail project, and the city has also now included answers to 27 questions on its website.
Questions listed include why funds weren’t instead used to fix roads, how the city will address homeless-related issues on the trails, and whether the trail is set to be installed “no matter what.” Several answers to questions are included below, as taken from the city website.
Q: Is this trail being installed no matter what?
A: The Electric Greenway is a high priority project for the City of Citrus Heights, Sunrise Recreation and Park District, and Orangevale Recreation and Park District. The project is identified in the city’s long term planning documents as a priority project in the General Plan, Bikeway Master Plan, and Pedestrian Master Plan. Each of the project partners’ legislative bodies will be required to approve the ultimate trail alignment, environmental review, and funding prior to construction.
Q: It seems like this trail will encourage homeless to use the trail. How will the city address this issue?
A: In general, the homeless population prefers to be in areas that are hidden from public view. Currently, portions of the corridor for the Electric Greenway Trail Project are overgrown or otherwise not visible to the general public, which can result in homeless camps or other related activities. The construction of the Electric Greenway Trail Project will reduce overgrown vegetation and introduce legitimate trail users to the corridor which will discourage homeless activity along the corridor. In addition, by improving the trail the Citrus Heights Police Department, Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, and the Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District’s Police Division will have improved access to the corridor allowing regular patrols and improved ability to respond.
In 2013, Sunrise Recreation and Park District constructed the Arcade Creek Park Preserve including a 1/3 mile multi-use trail. The park was constructed on land that was formerly overgrown and heavily used by the homeless population. As part of the construction of the project, the overgrown areas were cleaned up and legitimate trail and park users introduced to the park. As a result, the homeless population moved away from the park and the park continues to be heavily used by families, trail users and children.
Q: Why not use this money to fix city roads?
A: The Electric Greenway Trail Project is primarily funded through an Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant. Money received through this grant program can only be spent on projects that increase the number of people biking and walking, increase safety for non-motorized users and enhance public health. ATP funds cannot be used to repair or resurface vehicular roadways.
Q: Why is a signal going to be installed at Fair Oaks Blvd? This will just increase traffic on that road and there is already too much traffic.
A: In order to provide a safe crossing, a pedestrian activated traffic signal across Fair Oaks Boulevard is recommended. The signal will be activated and stop vehicles on Fair Oaks Blvd only when needed, minimizing delays and impacts to the operations along the Fair Oaks Boulevard arterial.