Locals say better transportation a top priority
Improved transportation and recreation access topped the list of priorities for participants at a regional plan workshop last week.
Called place-based planning, the workshops were part of a larger effort to chart Tahoe’s next regional plan. Four workshops were held last week at communities throughout Tahoe.
Last Thursday’s meeting covered public land issues, focusing on strategies to improve recreation access, transportation and parking at key spots, and education to protect Tahoe’s environment.
About 87 percent of land in the Lake Tahoe Basin is publicly owned, and managed by either the U.S. Forest Service, California or Nevada state parks, or the California Tahoe Conservancy.
The Forest Service manages a majority of that land. It’s rails and beaches are not overcrowded, but the agency is confronting the less pleasant reality that parking remains congested and sometimes impossible at peak times.
“We need to figure out how to move people from more heavily used areas to less heavily used areas,” said Forest Service spokesman Rex Norman. “We are not in the business of denying access. We want to promote it, we just need to manage it.”
Architect and urban planner Bruce Race, who has led the meetings, directed the group of about 40 people to come up with concrete strategies on how to achieve the goals they’ve decided on.
“It’s easy to pinpoint what we want and then get tripped up on the how,” he told the group.
This was the last of 12 workshops held throughout the lake.
At last week’s meeting focusing on South Shore, Race expressed his confidence in the process and said policy makers are usually more open to implementing ideas that come directly from the community.
“I believe plans are better when communities participate and own the results,” he said.
TRPA’s chief planner Colleen Shade thanked the group at the end of the night.
“This is not falling on deaf ears,” she said. “We did not hold 12 workshops just to put it on a shelf.”
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When the Judicial & Law Enforcement Center was built 40 years ago, there were only 19,400 people living in Douglas County.