The Chasm Between the Sonoras

Mono Way and the East Sonora Bypass are the connecting routes between Sonora and East Sonora. Both were constructed as Caltrans highways without much thought of community or the needs of pedestrians and bikes. But does it have to stay that way? The roads have high bridges spanning the defining natural feature of the area, Sullivan Creek. We don’t see the creek, but we can’t unsee this artifact of the construction of the bypass:

Bergel Road barriers at Mono Way

Bergel Road extends from Phoenix Lake Road to Mono Way behind the back entrance to Sonora Sports & Fitness. You see it on the right traveling on Mono Way from Tuolumne Road to the Peppery. The barricades make the end of the road an attractive dumping spot, and the barricades, weeds, and fencing are an eyesore. How long has it been this way, and why do we put up with this?

If you park on Bergel Road and go for a walk, you’ll see that despite the neglect, the creek is extremely nice.

Sullivan Creek adjacent to Bergel Road

This place is public land that could thrive as a mini park with bike and pedestrian access to Mono Way. With a connection under the Mono Way bridge to a Sierra Railway rails-with-trails path, Bergel Road could provide park and bike/walk access from the Phoenix Lake basin to shopping, jobs, and services in Sonora and East Sonora and to the new Law and Justice Center.

Sierra Railway Rails-with Trails report, 2004

This is just a vision with a great many obstacles prior to implementation. But without vocal constituencies, visions remain dreams. This is one example of how advocacy for active transportation could help transform our communities much more than by just making it easier to bike or walk. There is grant funding readily available from Caltrans to plan solutions to these kinds of problems, but our local leaders need to hear that the public wants these kinds of changes.

Join the MLBC in bringing your problem locations and ideas for bike and pedestrian improvements to the Tuolumne County Active Transportation Plan Community Meeting tomorrow night (Thursday January 9) at 5:30 pm at the Sonora Branch Library. Without public input, we’ll get the same old plan that has accomplished very little for a great many years.Sonora ATP Meeting Flyer