Welcome to the winter edition of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) newsletter. During these difficult times of shelter at home, impacts upon our local economy, and worries about our health, we appreciate the opportunity to keep you informed about local transportation topics within our community.
This month’s newsletter focuses on our regional roadway system explaining a very important update to the County’s Transportation Demand Model. This update takes the land use plan or General Plan of each one of our communities and determines or confirms what transportation improvements are needed for Placer County. As a suburban community, our transportation needs are likely to remain the same, with great emphasis placed on the need to widen Highway 65, remove the few remaining bottlenecks on Interstate 80, complete the expansion of the Interstate 80/Highway 65 Interchange and expand our major arterial roadways in each community. However, the last time we updated the model, we did not have the Capital Corridor Train, public transit was utilized far less, and our bike and pedestrian trail systems were much smaller. Regional growth from the Bay Area through Sacramento to Lake Tahoe was also very different 20 years ago. The pandemic is creating a huge influx of new residents coming from the Bay Area who can now remotely work in Placer County.
Day-to-day operations of our roadways are vital to delivering people, goods, and services efficiently and safely. To allow the California Highway Patrol to do their job, the Freeway Service Patrol was created to remove stalled vehicles from our roadways before they result in large backups. This is an important use of gas tax dollars. PCTPA administers this program for Interstate 80 and Highway 65.
General aviation airports are a significant asset for the economic development of our communities. Lincoln and Auburn are updating their airport’s layout plans or capital improvement plans. We need to work with those communities to ensure the continued safety and operation of those airports. Development around those airports must also be compatible with those operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges to Placer County. Those of us that live, work and play in Placer County have suffered greatly. As the vaccination process begins and our communities are brought back online, traffic which is now at 80% of the levels prior to March 2020, will return and will likely be a lot worse than before the pandemic. PCTPA is working hard to make our transportation system as efficient as possible, and to find a local source of funding to expand this system.
The PCTPA Board, our staff and I wish you a Happy Holiday and we look forward to working with you in 2021.
-Mike Luken, Executive Director