Letter: Lime is good for South Lake Tahoe; embrace change (opinion)
June 22, 2018
My name is David Wise and I was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, graduating from STHS in 2010. I then attended MIT and upon graduating, moved back to Tahoe. I am writing this letter to express my support for the recently launched bike-share program, LimeBike and the corresponding shared electric scooter program.
This is the kind of innovative program that helps build our community, benefiting tourists and locals alike. There is no denying that Tahoe's economy is centered on tourism — the lake is a national treasure and people will obviously want to visit it. The bikes and scooters make transit much more accessible, as well as drive changes that we all want, such as improving the quality or our roads and bike paths, decreasing our carbon footprint, and getting more people out enjoying the beautiful place that we call home.
It is fantastic to see tourists from all over the world enjoying themselves as they scoot around town, as well as local workers gaining a reliable method to commute to work.
LimeBike has become a lightning rod for competing ideologies in this town, and has given Tahoe a chance to issue a statement to the world: Did we embrace an eco-friendly alternative to driving, an innovative business looking to invest in our community, and look to the future, or are we going to remain rooted in the past?
It is time for Tahoe to embrace change and grow, rather than stagnate with a poisonous "Locals Only" mentality. Tourists are a fact of life, and we need them, however begrudgingly we admit it. We can adapt, striving to become the Outdoor Capital of the World and reflect the national treasure in which we live. What message does it send to others who want to invest time and resources in our town when people have gamified vandalism or make rash regulatory decisions in response to a few angry voices?
While there are still issues that are being worked out and concerns that are being addressed, that is the hallmark of any recently launched program. Lime has shown itself to be extremely receptive to concerns and issues, even going above and beyond by donating a portion of their revenue to local charities and expressing interest in advocating for improved cell phone coverage for our community.
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Based on the recent data released, it is clear that LimeBike is not really competing with local bike shops and is instead competing with personal cars — one of the predominant concerns raised by opponents of this program. I can attest to this personally, as I personally would never rent a bike from a bike shop in town — I already own one — but I rent a LimeBike or a Lime Scooter (wearing my helmet, of course!) on a semi-regular basis to forgo driving, skip traffic, and not worry about locking my bike up for quick trips around town.
I strongly support Lime and their investment in our community and hope that it is the sign of more positive changes coming to my hometown.
South Lake Tahoe, California
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