Emerald Bay Road a sea of blue with officers | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Emerald Bay Road a sea of blue with officers

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department is pleased with the 18-month effort that reminds motorists that Emerald Bay Road is not Emerald Bay Highway.

Patrol officers have issued 396 citations and warnings, primarily for speeding along the stretch of pavement from the “Y” to 15th Street from June 2001 to June 2001, said Officer Brodie Seagrave, who spearheaded the project.

The increased enforcement started in June 2001 to help stem the speed of motorists who stretched the 35 mph speed limit to 60 or 65 mph.

Seagrave received a complaint from a dentist who has a practice in the area about the potential dangers of the excessive speeding. He looked into it, found a high rate of vehicle collisions and proposed it as a COPS project, or Citizen’s Option for Public Safety. The department developed the program several years ago so police can receive help from residents to make the community a safer place.

There was one fatality in July when a 57-year-old man was running across Emerald Bay Road and was struck by a motorist.

“That collision turned out to be the pedestrian at fault,” Seagrave said.

Seagrave said officers pulled over an even mix of residents and tourists, however the ratio changed as the enforcement continued deeper into the 18 months. “It seemed like the number of locals we found speeding slightly decreased while the number of out-of-towners stayed the same,” Seagrave said. “Tourists think it’s 55 (mph). Who we’re trying to impact is not only the tourists but the locals. They’re the community members. They’re the factor that remains the same and who we can control the most.”

The next project Seagrave is planning is a pedestrian light for the crosswalk in front of the Heavenly Gondola. In August, a man was critically injured while crossing the area at night. He suffered head injuries and had surgery on his leg at Washoe Medical Center.

The woman who hit him, Danielle Buckner, pleaded guilty to charges of driving under the influence and causing great bodily injury to another person. Her sentencing is scheduled for January.

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