Council looks at park-and-ride plan



A new Caltrans plan says East Sonora and Yosemite Junction would be good locations for future park-and-ride lots in Tuolumne County.

Three Highway 108 locations two along future phases of the East Sonora Bypass and one at Highway108's intersection with Highway 120 were listed as possible rendezvous points for drivers car pooling to the Central Valley or elsewhere for work.

But Caltrans would not cover the park-and-ride construction costs. Instead, state and federal transport funds allocated to the county if local officials choose not to use them for highway construction or other purposes would pay the bills.

The Tuolumne County Transportation Council discussed the state plan yesterday and made a few suggestions of its own.

The report, which covers several Central Valley and Sierra Foothills counties, will be used by transportation officials as they chart the future.

At this point, the sites are merely suggestions rather than concrete projects, said Darin Grossi, deputy director of transportation services for the county.

No specific lots have been earmarked for purchase.

"I'm not overly optimistic of anything happening any time soon," Grossi said.

Supporters say park-and-ride lots help reduce traffic and pollution by encouraging car pools. Tuolumne County now has just one such lot, an eight-space lot at Highway 120 and Ponderosa Lane in Groveland.

The East Sonora lots envisioned by Caltrans would be somewhere along the second or third stages of the East Sonora Bypass, which will eventually run between Standard and Sunshine roads.

In that scenario, unused parcels bought by Caltrans for the project might be used as gathering spots for car poolers destined for the Central Valley.

Council Chairman Cooper Kessel said the Mono Way interchange, which is being built for the first stage of the bypass project, would also make a good site.

The Union Democrat
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