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City Scene: Expansion of popular recreational trails continues

By: Evert Palmer, Folsom City Manager
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Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy the many miles of scenic recreational trails that meander throughout our community and link to the American River Parkway. Residents and visitors of all ages share the picturesque trails for early morning runs, mid-day walks and evening bike rides. Folsom’s fantastic trail system is a product of the vision and hard work of many. In 2002, the City Council adopted a Bikeway Master Plan that included a goal of 50 miles of recreational trails within Folsom’s current city limits. Staff has worked hard to secure approximately $10 million in grant funding to cover much of the cost of developing almost 35 miles of trails that now wind through Folsom. Hundreds of community volunteers have played a significant role by helping to build trails and install pre-assembled bridges across our creeks. Last fall we opened the 475-foot-long overcrossing spanning busy East Bidwell Street near Blue Ravine Road. That overcrossing completed the final link of the Humbug Willow Creek Trail that winds through Folsom from the El Dorado County line to Folsom Boulevard. It provides a safe route for cyclists and pedestrians across one of Folsom’s busiest roadways. I am pleased to share that the city recently obtained the final piece of grant funding needed to complete the Johnny Cash Trail bike/pedestrian overcrossing, the city’s newest overcrossing to be located just north of the stop light at the intersection of East Natoma Street and Folsom Lake Crossing. Once all three phases are complete, the Johnny Cash Trail will provide connections to both Placer and El Dorado counties, to Folsom City Lions Park, as well as the Lake Natoma trail loop. The $3 million overcrossing project is funded by a $460,000 CalTrans California Bicycle Transportation Grant, a $690,000 SACOG Bike/Pedestrian Grant, and three other previously obtained grants, as well as matching city funds. The bridge will be 19 feet high, 12 feet wide and 300 feet long, plus an additional 2,000 feet for the approach ramps. Our plan is to finish final design of the bridge in the spring and move forward with construction soon after. We saved over a half million dollars for the project by salvaging and stockpiling 58,000 cubic yards of dirt from the Folsom Lake Crossing bridge project. That was the large dirt pile covered by white tarps that until recently was visible on East Natoma Street. The dirt is being used to build ramps leading to the new bike/pedestrian overcrossing. We expect to secure additional grant funding to complete our goal of creating 50 miles of recreational trails in the next five to eight years. We know that our popular trail system is one of the key factors that contribute to Folsom’s outstanding quality of life. If you are not familiar with our trails, I encourage you to dust off your bicycle or put on your walking shoes to experience this wonderful community amenity on a brisk fall day. I welcome your comments about our trails, or other topics of interest, at epalmer@folsom.ca.us. Evert Palmer is the city manager of Folsom. City Scene publishes the last Wednesday of each month.