Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mixed Up on Mixed-Use

The General has received a number of comments off-line on my recent mixed-use blogs. The consensus so far is that Region 5 may have created unneeded bureaucratic hurdles regarding the process required to reclassify a ML 3 road to a ML 2 road. Those required steps in the Jan. 2009 R5 mixed-use memo include;

Mixed use analysis;
Analysis of the proposed change in public use;
Modification of Road Management Objectives and associated Infra data;
Entrance strategies to modify driver expectations, such as surface roughening;
Signing changes, including consideration of the following:
Installation of a sign stating that the road is “Not maintained for passenger car use,” and
Converting standard horizontal route marker signs to vertical route marker signs; and
Determining if any structural changes to the road are necessary, including removal of culverts, installation of rolling dips, and “out-sloping”.

As various national forests in CA go through travel management planning, I have not seen a lot of Forest proposals to reclassify a significant number of ML 3 roads to ML 2 roads. However, I am aware of the Plumas NF reclassifying approximately 130 miles of ML 3 roads to ML 2 roads about 1.5 years ago in a separate planning effort. Kudos to them!

With ever decreasing federal recreation budgets and reduced staff, I think Region 5 should consider streamlining their reclassification requirements – particularly in rural or remote areas with little or no accident history – and champion reclassification efforts to address budget issues and provide additional OHV recreational opportunities.

I also think in rural areas that some counties are interested in supporting increased public access (including OHV use) on county roads (combined use), ML 3 roads (mixed use), or an expedited ML 3 to ML 2 reclassification process.

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