Lodging association opposes basin parking fee | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lodging association opposes basin parking fee

Sally J. Taylor

A recommendation to encourage people not to drive in the Tahoe Basin by charging parking fees everywhere is “abrasive and indigestible,” according to the president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association.

The Parking Strategy Study commissioned by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and released in October, looks at ways to use parking restrictions to decrease pollution-causing automobile traffic and to provide local funding for environmental programs. Proposals include intercepting vehicles at entrance points and requiring the purchase of daily or yearly parking stickers to park anywhere on the South Shore.

“It’s totally unacceptable,” said Ed McCarthy regarding what is likely to be the main topic at the association’s meeting on Thursday.

Jim Baetge, the executive director of the TRPA, is scheduled to explain the study during the Lodging Association board of directors meeting scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Forest Inn at 1 Lake Parkway.

According to Baetge, the study by Leigh, Scott & Cleary, Inc. of Tahoe City had been planned for some time and its release just happened to coincide – possibly unfortunately so – with the effort to fund an update on a 1974 study that looked at more than parking to raise local revenue for environmental improvements.

Baetge expects the parking study will be “folded into the bigger study.”

By combining studies, “on a bigger scale, we’d be looking at the issue region-wide and a mix of ways to achieve our goals.”

The larger study will look at parking strategies already being used and tested in other communities.

“Parking is just an element and how big an element is hard to say at this time,” Baetge said.

Nevertheless, according to McCarthy, the parking restrictions would become disincentives to visit Lake Tahoe to the benefit of Reno and to the detriment of the Tahoe economy.

Among the recommendations in the parking study are to:

— Encourage visitors to park at facilities near Meyers, Camp Richardson, or on Kingsbury Grade and use public transportation within the basin.

— Those using cars in the basin could purchase parking stickers for $10 per day or $80 per year.

— Residents would also be required to purchase yearly parking stickers and parking on residential streets could be restricted.

— Once checked into a lodging property, visitors would pay $2 every time they took their car out of that parking lot, with a possible one-time exemption.

If the plan were to be adopted, an initial investment of $5.3 million for operating equipment, including public transportation vehicles, would be required. Thereafter, the parking program could raise, after operating costs, between $16.7 million and $47.3 million, depending on the specific scenario.

WHO: South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association Board of Directors meeting.

WHAT: Discussion with Jim Baetge, executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, on the 1997 Parking Strategy Study.

WHEN: Thursday, 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: The Forest Inn at 1 Park Way.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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