City council to discuss bus service |

City council to discuss bus service

Michael S. Green

Expanded bus service is on the agenda for the South Lake Tahoe City Council tonight.

Transportation funding has fluctuated through the years, so even with an extra $100,000 available this year, staff has included a status quo plan for the council’s consideration.

Two other options will be discussed, both of which would increase service along the busy U.S. Highway 50 corridor. Wait times between buses would drop from 30 minutes to 20 minutes.

One option would restore fixed-route service to Lake Tahoe Community College, which is currently served by demand-response Bus Plus. The other option increases the frequency of buses serving Gardner Mountain and Barton Memorial Hospital.

In a staff report, Assistant City Manager Sue Schlerf underscored the importance of moving away from the current 40-minute gap between scheduled buses on some routes.

“The schedule is confusing to explain, let alone memorize,” she wrote. “Further, the length of the existing routes makes staying on schedule virtually impossible, with the exception of midnight runs in the middle of October.”

Area Transit Management, which operates the South Tahoe Area Ground Express, has estimated that either option could increase ridership by 30,000 to 40,000 passengers per year if the added service is maintained at least two or three years. The latest plans follow route changes made in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

But the big question is likely to be money. Designated transportation funds have fluctuated in the past six years from a hike of just 2 percent to a 29 percent increase this year. The city devotes no money to STAGE from the general fund.

In other action, the council will consider extending ATM’s public transit contract through 2010, with options for two seven-year extensions. In consideration, ATM has agreed to provide capital improvements worth $110,000 to city-owned transit facilities on Shop Street. An alternate plan would have ATM make improvements at the Lake Tahoe Airport should transit operations be relocated there.

The City Council also:

n Will consider a request from residents to post stop signs along Lodi Avenue. Engineering staff has opposed that request, saying the neighborhood street does not meet state and city criteria for added traffic controls. Increased speed enforcement and creation of a Neighborhood Watch group have been recommended.

n Will decide whether to make permanent the temporary stop signs installed at Tahoe Keys Boulevard and Venice Drive as a mitigation measure for construction traffic. A staff analysis shows the intersection meets the criteria for a stop sign.

What: South Lake Tahoe City Council

When: Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Where: Council chambers, 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

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