Silverado Trail (copy)

Cyclists on Silverado Trail in the Stags Leap district. The Napa Countywide Bicycle Plan proposes adding 459 miles of bike trails, lanes and routes to the current 142-mile system.

Napa County wants to add 459 miles of bikes paths, lanes and routes to create a bike system totaling 602 miles.

The Napa Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors last week passed the updated Napa Countywide Bicycle Plan. Local city councils and the county Board of Supervisors will in coming weeks consider sections that apply to their jurisdictions.

Now what’s needed is time and money to quadruple the existing 142-mile bike system. NVTA officials called the plan “aspirational” – and also something that allows projects to compete for state active transportation grant funding.

“We know this list is very ambitious and will keep your communities busy for years to come,” said Megan Wooley-Ousdahl of Toole Design, who worked on the plan.

Local bike rider Chris Benz praised the effort.

“The plan gives us a lot to work on, all of which will make biking in Napa County much safer, more convenient and more inviting, for both transit and recreation,” she said.

About 50 percent of the general public is interested in bicycling, but concerned about safety. These people often don’t feel comfortable in bike lanes and prefer bike trails or quiet, low-traffic roads, the plan states.

Contrast that to the reality of cycling in Napa County. A trip could entail taking the Napa Valley Vine Trail or a quiet residential street, both of which are high on the comfort level. But a trip could also require taking Trancas Street, with all of its traffic and shopping center driveways.

The Countywide Bicycle Plan lists more than 360 proposed projects categorized by each city and the unincorporated county.

For example, there’s the city of Napa. The plan lists about 150 projects that would expand the 49-mile existing bike system there to 109 miles.

Some of the projects are bike paths, such as a mile-long western Napa River trail from Imola Avenue to the downtown, to match the trail on the east side. Others are bike lanes, such as a 2.4-mile lane on Silverado Trail from Soscol Avenue heading north. Some are simply marked bike routes.

The Countywide Bicycle Plan didn’t delve into more complicated projects, such as what to do along Redwood Road, Jefferson Street and Imola Avenue. Instead, it designated these as study areas.

Among the bigger, proposed projects in American Canyon is to install a bike path along Highway 29, the city’s main road. Napa County is to put up bike route markers along some 230 miles, in such far-flung places at the Butts Canyon and Knoxville areas.

Yountville is to install a short path along Washington Street from Mission Street to Oak Circle. St. Helena is to create a 1.5-mile Lower Reservoir Loop Trail. Calistoga is to create a one-mile Greenwood Avenue trail.

Linking the county north to south, passing through all five cities and the unincorporated county, is to be the Napa Valley Vine Trail. About 18 miles of the planned 47-mile-long Vine Trail exist.

And that’s just a sampling.

The plan gives no grand total to build all of the projects, but rather lists the cost per mile for each type of bike facility. For example, a bike path costs $1.7 million per mile and bike lane with no buffer costs $60,000 per mile.

NVTA Senior Program Planner Diana Meehan said the Countywide Bicycle Plan is too broad and the projects have too many variables to estimate and include a total price.

One NVTA goal is to have 10 percent of local trips made by bicycle by 2035. The 2017 American Community Survey found that less than 1 percent of local commuters travel to work by bicycle.

The Countywide Bicycle Plan proposes to increase bicycling by creating a “world-class bicycling system for all ages and abilities.”

Go to https://bit.ly/32WgFcs to see the Napa Countywide Bicycle Plan.

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You can reach Barry Eberling at 256-2253 or beberling@napanews.com.


Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.