The first draft of the Napa Countywide Pedestrian Plan, released by the Napa County Transportation & Planning Agency (NCTPA) in early 2016, is a guide outlining the agency’s policies and project priorities designed to make walking in the Napa Valley a safer, more convenient and enjoyable experience for residents, visitors and commuters as the county grows over the next 25 years.
The pedestrian plan will complement the Countywide Bicycle Plan to ultimately to create an overall Countywide Active Transportation Plan – “active” meaning walking and biking, generally.
Who came up with this?
NCTPA staff developed this plan with consultants Fehr & Peers, in conjunction with our local jurisdictions: Staffers from the cities of American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, the town of Yountville, and the County of Napa all helped produce the report. We also received feedback from local stakeholders and the general public.
I like plans. But what’s the point?
A detailed plan will help Napa County agencies compete for state funding, for one! Caltrans’ Active Transportation Program (ATP) funds local projects geared to improve biking and walking opportunities by adding and connecting paths or sidewalks or making existing routes safer. Our plan prioritizes safe routes for children and seniors, and follows Caltrans’ ATP guidelines.
Many important projects could be delayed or discarded without help from the state. The Vine Trail project to create a 47-mile path connecting Napa Valley from Calistoga to the Vallejo Ferry, for instance, has received more than $9 million in ATP funds over the last two years.
OK, I get it. But what does this report really mean? I don’t have time to read 300 pages!
That’s OK! The Countywide Pedestrian Plan is a meaty technical document produced by (and for) transportation planners, but every city, town and county jurisdiction in the Napa Valley has a section detailing the specific walking plans for that community’s residents. Check out what projects are included in your area.
Why should I care about walking plans? I drive everywhere.
So does everyone else in Napa Valley: That’s the problem. According to the California Household Travel Survey (more details are in the plan), 88 percent of all trips in Napa County involved an automobile, with only 9 percent choosing to walk and even fewer people opting for biking or transit. But about 17 percent of trips in Napa Valley were less than one half-mile – about a 10-minute walk.
We’ve committed to doing better. Vision 2040, the Countywide Transportation Plan, calls for a 10 percent increase in walking, bicycling and public transit trips and less reliance on single-occupancy vehicle travel by 2035. It’s not just Napa County, either – that’s the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)’s long-range goal for the Bay Area, too.
I want to advocate for a project in my community. How do I get involved? It seems like the work is done.
It’s not over! This draft will go to the NCTPA Board of Directors for review at the Feb. 17 meeting. There will be a public comment period and revisions after the meeting before the agency seeks final approval for the plan – likely in the spring.