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North and South shores want pedestrians to feel welcome

Staff reports
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Pedestrians walk along Highway 50 near El Dorado beach on Sunday.
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What do Burlington, Vt., Boulder, Colo., Palo Alto and even Stateline have in common? They are walkable communities that provide a sense of place for residents and tourists alike.

While the state line section of South Lake Tahoe has been grooming itself to be a walkable community as part of its redevelopment, some areas of town aren’t considered walkable by a long stretch. That’s why government leaders are working on comprehensive community plans.

For one, the Tahoe Valley Community Plan has a host of walking paths featured in the initial concept its plan team worked on for two years. The idea was to give shoppers and leisure walkers a place to go in an area of town with a large local neighborhood base.



The South Shore’s largest concept to date is the Highway 50 curb-and-gutter project, which comes with water quality improvements as well as wider bike lanes, sidewalks, street lights and landscaping. The city is in the process of finalizing a contract with Caltrans to work on the first phase of the $45 million project, which would run from Trout Creek to Lakeview Avenue. The second phase is situated between Lakeview and Ski Run Boulevard.

On the North Shore, The North Tahoe Business Association’s Mainstreet Design Team hopes to bring these same elements to the North Tahoe region, as well as to expand on the downtown area in Truckee, beginning with a workshop educating and discussing elements of livable and walkable communities.



Paul Zykofsky from the Local Government Commission in Sacramento will speak tonight on “Making Your Neighborhood Work and the Citizen Planner” in the first of the three-part series.

“We feel that in order for citizens to be planners in their community, they need a baseline,” said Andrew Ryan, a design committee member and part-owner of Pastore Ryan.

The Livable Walkable Communities workshops are intended to inspire and educate North Tahoe and Truckee residents on the potential for these types of communities in our areas. The first part of the series will be held tonight from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the North Tahoe Community Conference Center in Kings Beach. The following workshops will be Oct. 3 and Oct. 27.

A more informed community can take a lead on wanting and achieving a livable walkable community, said Tony Pastore, part-owner of Pastore Ryan. No decisions will be made during the workshop, but rather a focus on education. The goal is to empower local citizens of North Tahoe and Truckee with the tools and strategies for healthy economies, healthy citizens and great main streets.

“We want to create places we want to live and that people want to visit,” said Dave Polivy, a design committee member and natural resources program manager with Sierra Business Council.

Livable walkable communities are important, said Polivy, because vibrancy, activity and quality of life make people feel connected and take pride in the place they live. When people feel part of their community, it can flourish in many ways, he said.

In considering community enhancement possibilities, the bottom line is creating a sense of place, and specifically pedestrian safety, said Polivy.

This could mean slower traffic speeds, more resources for bikers and pedestrians, less air pollution, cleaner water, better commerce, increased property value, enhanced safety and overall greater community pride for a place like Kings Beach, said Ryan.

The design committee hopes to see a lot of discussion about the concepts of livable walkable communities.

“All ideas are welcome,” said Ryan.

The Livable Walkable Communities workshops are intended to inspire and educate North Tahoe and Truckee residents on the potential for these types of communities in our areas. The first part of the series will be held tonight from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the North Tahoe Community Conference Center in Kings Beach. The following workshops will be Oct. 3 and Oct. 27.

– Tribune staff writer Susan Wood contributed to this report.


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