Council member wants lights on Pioneer Trial |

Council member wants lights on Pioneer Trial

Michael Schneider

Mix together a dimly lit street with no sidewalks, almost continuous foot traffic, and throw in a steady stream of fast-moving cars and you get a recipe for disaster.

That was City Councilman Tom Davis’ message last fall when he first made public his fear that nighttime conditions were dangerous on the stretch of Pioneer Trail between Ski Run Boulevard and U.S. Highway 50.

The nearly milelong section of Pioneer Trail sees a lot of pedestrian traffic with the amount of people living in the Pioneer Trail-Ski Run area and walking to their jobs at the Stateline casinos or other businesses, according to Davis. With the casino industry being a 24-hour business, as well as many of the other Stateline businesses, shifts begin and end at all times.

“I’ve seen whole families walking with their kids at 2 a.m.,” Davis said.

Since coming forward with his concerns last fall, Davis and the city’s staff has been working on options to illuminate the potentially hazardous portion of Pioneer Trail.

Tonight council members will consider three options for lighting that section of the roadway.

The first option, and the one Davis will champion, requires about a $320 a month city contribution to outfit existing Pioneer Trail utility poles with street lights.

Davis said this option is cost-effective, quick and, because there are 29 evenly spaced poles, he believes the lighting would be adequate.

However, this plan does not meet the city’s criteria for existing lighting standards. Davis said he believes the city code can be changed, and besides, “the safety overrides the existing lighting standards.”

Ann Antuzzi, manager of the Pioneer Inn at Pioneer Trail and Glen Road, said she hadn’t really thought of putting lights on the street but did think it was a good idea.

“There is a lot of foot traffic and I can see where it wouldn’t be a bad idea,” Antuzzi said. “It would make it easier for cars to see pedestrians.”

Antuzzi said she frequently goes for walks along Pioneer Trail and is cognoscente of the traffic whizzing past her. She suggested that if the council wants to look at improving the mentioned stretch of Pioneer Trail, it should consider putting in a traffic light at Pioneer Trail and Glen Road, which she called a dangerous intersection.

A second option for the council to consider is seeing if there is any support from the businesses in the area to form an assessment district to pay for fixed lights and possibly other improvements. Davis said this was unlikely and, if explored, would likely take a long time to establish.

In comparison, four years have passed since the formation of the Harrison Avenue Business Assessment District and no improvements have been made to the area.

A third option would be to work with the state on a linear improvements project for Pioneer Trail to install lights, sidewalks and curb and gutters. Davis said this project likely would cost about $4 million and wouldn’t be ready to be implemented until 2006 at the earliest.

“I think the first option is the way to go,” Davis said. He said he thought the city could find money in its budget to pay for the installation charge and monthly fees.

Who: South Lake Tahoe City Council

When: Tonight, 6 p.m.

Where: City Council Chambers, 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

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