Agency moves forward with water transportation
The Tahoe Transportation District board approved the request for proposals for a pilot ferry program that will shuttle users around the North Shore.
The program is one step forward with creating a trans-Tahoe boat transportation service.
“In many parts of the world this kind of transportation has been in place for decades,” said board member Nancy McDermid. “This is the 21st century and we need to move into it.”
So far, public interest in the project has been relatively slim. Only five people showed up at the public meeting about the project held on the South Shore Tuesday. And just one person gave public comment at Friday’s board meeting.
“I think it’s a bad idea that just won’t go away,” South Lake Tahoe resident Jerome Evans told the board.
The pilot program, expected to start by June 30 of this year, will have one or two boats running visitors and locals between Kings Beach and Tahoe City. The cost of the project will depend on the responses to the request for proposals.
There’s been more interest for the service on the North Shore and that’s partially why the TTD decided to launch the pilot program their first, said district manager Carl Hasty.
Hasty expects the 20-passenger boats will primarily serve visitors, though local commuters are more than welcome, he said.
“It’s a unique way to experience the area for the visitors,” Hasty said. “A lot of them don’t often have the opportunity to get out on the lake.”
Evans argued that most visitors prefer to drive around the lake, so they can stop and see the sights at will. The big boats running across the lake at more than 20 mph would create a negative impact for many recreationists, he added.
“It would create an immense disturbance to the lake itself,” Evans told the TTD board. “For those of you that get out on the lake in small craft, as I do, you know that the last thing we need is more big wakes.”
If all goes well with the pilot, and funding and permits come through for a larger project, construction for the water transit piers could begin in 2013, Hasty said. Details like exactly where they would stop and when they would run are still in the works.
In other news:
Tahoe Transportation District is still pursuing a stateline to stateline bike path.
The agency has been working on the project since August, 2011. So far, much of the planning is complete.
The district is currently trying to find funding for the path. A partnership with the Incline Village General Improvement District is in the works and would help TTD pay for a section of the trail.