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The Gold Rush Shared-Use Path

This project will serve as a “Non-Motorized Highway”, or the backbone of active transportation travel, in Tuolumne County and is a key component of the Region’s Vehicle Miles Travelled Reduction Plan. Tuolumne County, the City of Sonora, Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me Wuk Indians, and the Tuolumne County Blue Zones Project are all partners on the project.

The completed Gold Rush Shared Use Path will be a Class I facility that stretches over 14 miles to continuously connect the major, and historical, Tuolumne County communities of Jamestown, Sonora, and Columbia as well as the Chicken Ranch Tribal Lands.  The path will improve active transportation continuity, encourage healthy and low emission travel behaviors, increase safety, maximize disadvantaged individuals' access to critical services, and enhance community identity.

Project Background

The SR 49 / 108 Corridor links residents of the historic communities of Columbia, Sonora, Jamestown, and the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians Tribal Lands to health care providers, employment, grocery stores, retail, education, parks, and other community services. This connection is vital for disadvantaged members of our community, a growing senior population, and students who are trying to access services. Unfortunately, existing conditions in the corridor only favorably accommodate those with personal vehicles. Those trying to access critical services through other means of transportation, especially via walking or biking, often find themselves having to risk their lives just to get somewhere. There are, currently, no existing bike facilities along SR 49 and very limited, inadequate pedestrian facilities. What facilities that do exist are usually non-ADA compliant, pavement is distressed, and there are multi-directional intersections and driveways that create additional discomfort for cyclists and pedestrians. This has resulted in the common practice seen today of pedestrians and cyclists using shoulders or being forced into travel lanes. It is not uncommon for vehicle-pedestrian and cyclist collisions to occur. The Caltrans SR 108/49 Multimodal Congested Corridor Plan included pedestrian counts collected near the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, within the project area, where over 10,000 pedestrians were counted in a single day. As part of the same study, Caltrans also noted that over 12% of the crashes along SR 49, within the proposed project route, involved a bike or pedestrian (Caltrans SR 108/49 Multimodal Congested Corridor Plan 2021). According to TIMS data, there have been 35 cyclist and pedestrian related crashes within the proposed Gold Rush Shared Use Path project area over the past 10yrs, with an average overall 23% increase in pedestrian crashes each year. The result of this need is the Gold Rush Shared Use Path. The project is a partnership between Tuolumne County Transportation Council, Tuolumne County, City of Sonora, Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians, and Blue Zones- Tuolumne County. When complete, the Gold Rush Shared Use Path will be a separated, Class 1, multi-modal facility stretching over 14 miles through Tuolumne County to continuously connect the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians Tribal Lands, Jamestown, the City of Sonora, Columbia, and Columbia College. The intention of the project is for it to serve as the backbone of non-motorized transportation in our County and provide a safe way for residents and visitors to get around without a car. Over time, connector paths will attach to the Gold Rush Shared Use Path to provide a complete, easily accessible way to get around the county on foot or travel by bike. Among these planned connector paths is that of the Greenley Road Extension connection.



Funded Title: Gold Rush Multi-Use

Path – Phase 1

Total Cost: $6.418 million

Funding Source: Active Transportation

Program Grant and CMAQ Local Match.

Awarded October 20, 2022.

Amount Funded: Funded from planning

through construction

Length: 1.5 miles

Location: Beginning at the new bus stops on Stockton street and stretching down to the end of the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. Then, also, from the entrance to Woods Creek Rotary Park, up through the park, to connect near Sonora High on the other side.

Planned Improvements Highlights: 1.5 miles of Class I Pedestrian and Cyclist path separated by a landscape buffer, several rapid flashing beacon crosswalks, pedestrian-scale lighting, and ADA improvements.

Phase 1 Snip.JPG

If you would like to stay informed of important project developments, and later be added to a e-mail list, please contact:

Shannon Thaggard

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