Editorial: Move the boulders – just a little
August 16, 2005
Some Sierra Tract homeowners and renters are righteously upset about an erosion-prevention project that is preventing them from safely parking in a neighborhood where parking is at a premium.
The idea behind placing boulders along some Sierra Tract streets is to reduce the number of cars that park on dirt to a minimum because of the problems of runoff pollution. The project – being done at a cost of $1.7 million funded by the California Tahoe Conservancy – is being done to bring the area into compliance with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s best management practices.
Also required as part of the permit for the project is planted vegetation to help stabilize soils. The rocks will serve to protect the vegetation from destruction by parked cars – in theory. But the reality could get ugly.
Inevitably, illegal parking will become a problem, and cars parked on the roadway rather than the shoulder will create narrower, more dangerous streets. Accidents, especially in winter, may result in property damage and injuries.
An easy solution to the problem is to place the boulders in a way that leaves one row of parking, but protects other expanses of dirt from the trampling that creates erosion. The CTC has said it will consider moving the rocks minimally, but it should consider the reality that other prohibitions on development means there will not be new parking created in the neighborhood. And forcing people to park in their front yards does not solve the problem, it just moves it.
Perhaps a solution can be crafted that retains some parking, protects the vast majority of land from further erosion destruction and brings the area in compliance with TRPA directives.