East Shore will keep roadside parking | TahoeDailyTribune.com

East Shore will keep roadside parking

Parking spaces along East Shore’s scenic State Route 28 are here to stay for awhile, despite strong environmental opposition.

NDOT announced their decision last month not to proceed with a $5 million erosion control project that would eliminate 143 roadside parking spaces between Secret and Skunk Harbors.

The decision was a blow to environmental agencies that worked with NDOT, public land agencies and other East Shore stakeholders to develop an East Shore Access Plan, which would allow the maximum recreational benefit while protecting the sensitive area. One of the main goals of the access plan was to replace roadside parking with shuttle services to expanded parking lots.

Although the League to Save Lake Tahoe is not supportive of any expansion of East Shore parking, League spokesman Dave Roberts said the elimination of roadside parking was vital.

At last week’s Tahoe Transportation Commission meeting, NDOT Assistant Director Susan Martinovich gave safety, cost and political reasons for not going through with the project.

“Never, in the past four years, has NDOT agreed to eliminate parking on Highway 28 unless alternate parking is provided on Highway 28,” Martinovich said. “There’s a lot of controversy about eliminating parking. NDOT doesn’t want to be the one to take the heat on it.”

Martinovich said revegitating areas where erosion control measures have already been taken is less costly than putting up the wooden posts proposed to block roadside parking.

Despite Martinovich’s comments, Roberts said NDOT has not provided any strong arguments for pulling the project.

“They just plain don’t want to do it,” he said. “Why spend the money for revegetation if they’re not going to take measures to protect it? These poor plants are martyrs for erosion control.”

With no end in sight to the debate over East Shore Access, NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said the department is going ahead with other erosion control projects along the scenic corridor. He said the roadside parking issue isn’t dead but needs further study. The department is still analyzing the possibility of expanding parking lots with the cooperation of the U.S. Forest Service. However, Magruder said no action will be taken on the project this year.

NDOT is spending $10 million on erosion control projects along State Route 28 and near Spooner Summit on U.S. Highway 50. Slope revegetation and drainage control are among other water quality and erosion control measures already started along the two routes.

Teresa Jones, of NDOT’s hydraulics section, said motorists should expect 10- to 20-minute delays throughout the year on State Route 28 between Skunk Harbor and Chimney Beach and on Highway 50 between Spooner Summit and Glenbrook Creek.

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