Citrus Heights is moving forward with an ambitious plan to connect the city with a 26-mile bike trail that would also accommodate walkers, joggers and skaters.
And it is looking for public participation in just over a week.
The proposed trail would be created along the city's creek system and a Sacramento Municipal Utility District corridor. The hope is that residents will think twice before jumping into a car, and instead would opt for walking or cycling once the trail opens.
"We're looking for connections between key destinations," said Casey Kempenaar, a city planner and lead on the project. "This is an opportunity to connect the neighborhood and provide both transportation and recreation."
The trail, however, is still a vision that is several years away. City leaders are in the process of conducting a feasibility study.
A community workshop will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. May 14 at the Citrus Heights Community Center.
"We're looking for public input – good, bad and indifferent," Mayor Steve Miller said. "You may come in indifferent and leave informed."
The project is part of a general push by officials to make the area greener and better connected.
The goal, Kempenaar said, is to give "accessibility to all users, not just cars."
For example, workers have been widening sidewalks and creating bike lanes on Auburn Boulevard, part of a multiyear plan that seeks to improve infrastructure, Miller said.
Business leaders are also jumping on the trail bandwagon.
Evan Jacobs, a Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce board member and an adviser to the project, called the trail a "win for the city."
"From a business perspective, anything that is going to improve the livability of the city is going to help draw regional traffic to places like Sunrise Mall," Jacobs said.
The trail will likely consist of a 10-foot-wide asphalt path with 2-foot dirt shoulders on each side.
It will open up recreational space that is currently fenced off.
Skaters, bicycles, pedestrians and wheelchairs would all be welcome on the route.
Some residents have expressed concern that opening up the creek corridors will spike crime, but officials note that reception to the project has generally been positive.
"I've been told that when you open up access, it puts more eyes on the neighborhood and reduces crime," Miller said.
The current $330,000 feasibility study will be finished in January at the earliest and will be followed by an environmental impact report.
The feasibility study is being funded by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the city of Citrus Heights.
No cost estimate on the trail has been released.
"This is just the very first step. It's the big kickoff," Kempenaar said.
Call The Bee's Richard Chang, (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.