As a South Lake Tahoe homeowner for 15 years and a vacationer since 1980, I've seen the area go from all-time highs to where it is now - low-paying jobs, decreased tourism, and an overall bad economy. It's time to rethink our community if we are to survive.-
With all the newspaper coverage about the TRPA Regional Plan, I started doing a bit of research myself. I asked, how can walkable communities really fix our economy? I found a lot of studies showing that people want walkability where they live and work. Why? Because we're sick of being in cars, and tired of the high cost of gas and maintenance.
One study said house prices increase with walkability and people will actually pay more for a home if they can walk to do their errands. South Lake Tahoe doesn't offer much in the way of pedestrian friendly living. Sure, we have houses close to commercial areas, but it's not safe for walking, so people choose to drive the quarter-mile to buy milk.
Look at how places like Santa Cruz and Truckee survived tough economic times, by redesigning themselves into great walking locations. If you've ever taken a stroll through South Lake, you know how dangerous and difficult it is to get around. A city should put people first and cars second, but it's the opposite here.
TRPA's recent expert panel discussions on how to make communities more walkable and bike friendly are a step in the right direction. This is what Tahoe needs and the RPU is our road map. It's our best shot at bringing South Lake back to a place that people put on the top of their list to visit and move to.
I encourage all of you to read up on the great research, especially the TRPA studies, out there that show that making our town walkable is the ticket to a better economic future.
South Lake Tahoe