Planned Kings Beach roundabout aims to improve safety at ‘gateway for North Lake Tahoe’
KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Redesign plans for the intersection at California routes 267 and 28 are taking shape with Placer County introducing its roundabout design at a recent community meeting.
“I can say right now that the roundabout best fulfills the objective of the project,” said Peter Kraatz, deputy director of Placer County Public Works.
If an issue with the roundabout comes up down the road, another alternative could be to enhance the signalized intersection to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow.
“At this point we want to continue to be open to both alternatives and collect feedback,” said Kraatz.
Regardless of which option is chosen, the project will re-stripe the intersection on California Route 28 to one lane in each direction and construct sidewalks and bike lanes up California Route 267 to Dolly Varden Avenue.
Kraatz described the intersection as “the gateway for North Lake Tahoe” as many first-time visitors to the area drive down California Route 267 to get there. Currently, he said the intersection is not pedestrian friendly and could be made safer for vehicles.
“There’s a lot of data that shows that traffic light intersections have more accidents and more intense type accidents than roundabouts,” he said.
The design team took into account how the project would accommodate pedestrians, bicycles and traffic and how it would affect emergency vehicles.
“We looked at a bunch of different alternatives,” said Lindsey Van Parys, project manager. “These are the two that came out as the two viable alternatives,” she said.
The project is estimated to cost around $5.7 million with $2.4 million of the funding secured, according to the project’s website.
When two roundabouts were installed at Bear Street and Coon Street, narrowing the once four-lane road into two lanes east of the California Route 267 intersection, Kraatz said there was some opposition to the project.
“The bigger controversy for our previous project was going from four lanes to two lanes,” said Kraatz. “We had to focus on pedestrian safety as a paramount issue. We felt that we really needed to put the town on a road diet and that was controversial.
“You can never build the perfect transportation project. You’re always going to have people that won’t necessarily support it. We try to build what’s best for the most people.”
The next public meeting will be in the fall when they begin work on an environmental document. If the county can complete the document by the spring of 2020, Kraatz said they could potentially break ground in 2021.
“We want to be as transparent as we can,” said Kraatz. “Once we get to the environmental document stage there will be more of an opportunity to talk about the project’s impact on the environment.”