Gonzales Council looks into master trail plan

Halen Doughty
Cyclelane delineator

At the April 23 meeting, the Gonzales City Council took a look at the proposed Master Trail Plan for the city. The plan comes after the National Park Service called on municipalities to identify ways to improve walking and bike trails within the city.

The purpose of the plan is to implement connections via existing and proposed bike lanes, sidewalks, and trails. Public meetings were held to gather input from residents, and those recommendations make up the master plan. The improvements will help move pedestrians and cyclists in a safer manner in key areas identified by residents.

The first recommendation deals with the bike lane on Irma Blvd. The lane should be stripped with markings and color. Lane delineators should also be added to protect cyclists and preserve the right of way, as they are a safe solution for defining traffic spaces. One approach would be CycleLane delineators that are rubber bike lane curbs and are quick and simple to in- stall. They are highly visible with highway tape molded into each unit for optimal visibility even at night or in poor lighting conditions.

Another proposal would be to add a small park along the Riverfront area. A stripped pedestrian crossing was recommended at North Burnside Ave. to connect the New River path at East Railroad and North Felicity Ave. An overgrown sidewalk could be cleaned and expanded to connect to North FelicityAve. and the New River path. An existing lot at the corner of East Railroad and North Burnside could accommodate a trailhead with a gazebo, benches, and facilities.

A new pedestrian footbridge crossing New River would extend the existing path. The right-away on New River Rd. could accommodate a walking trail. The existing bridge at New River could then be used to delineate between pedestrian and biking lanes.

Connections along Orice Roth Rd. and S. Darla Ave are in the plan. Several neighborhoods alongs those roads have pedestrian facilities, but a few sections of the road do not have sidewalks.

Other recommendations were made dealing with the proposed passenger rail station planned for the city. Proposed changes in the downtown area where the train station would be include changing East Railroad St., East Roosevelt St., and North Bryan Ave. from two way streets to one ways. Reduction of the roadways would allow the excess pavement to be striped as walking/bike lanes.

A recommendation to create a New River Greenway is among the other proposals for the train depot area. The existing space to the right of East Cornerview St. allows access for a potential greenway and trail along the waterway, which could potentially connect to a pedestrian bridge near North Felix Ave. or New River Rd. This could provide additional access to the proposed train depot.

The National Park Service recommends maintaining a tree nursery for beautification. It is recommended for general practice to maintain these by the city for low cost planting and replacement of trees and plants. In addition, a memorial tree planting program is a common service associated with city beautification, which allows for encouraging greenery while funding it at the community level.

Care should be given to the existing and new landscape along the trails. Threes and shrubs should not impede upon the line of sight for safety precautions. Foliage from the landscape should not endanger or hinder users when in use.

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