Letter: Will anyone step up to solve parking problems at Emerald Bay? (opinion)
Emerald Bay is touted, for good reason, as the one place no one should miss when they visit Lake Tahoe. Yet, a summer drive on State Route 89 through Emerald Bay presents a very unbecoming picture for such a renowned natural feature.
Over a mile of the roadway may be jammed with cars parked bumper to bumper on one shoulder or the other, or both. In my opinion, this lineup of cars seriously mars the magnificent beauty of the bay.
At present, apparently, the plan, or lack of a plan, is to allow vehicles to be park wherever a driver chooses. Once established parking lots are full, the road shoulder is the place to park. The result is diminished overall attractiveness of this scenic wonder by a string of cars; partial obstruction of traffic flow; pedestrians walking in harms ways; and probably serious erosion of the unpaved road shoulders.
Work these past few months by CalTrans may help the situation by preventing some of the roadside parking where barriers and reflectorized posts have been placed. However, there remain many opportunities to ignore the posts and continue shoulder parking.
Questions that come to mind as I view this situation: Why is only a small portion of the highway limited by “No Parking” signs? Why were no barriers installed to prevent parking in the sensitive drainages on the inside edge of the roadway? Why is the only relatively flat area suitable for establishing parking for a large number of cars dedicated to a small campground that serves only a few?
Why are the few who probably arrive earliest to the area, charged for parking when many others get a free ride on the road shoulder? Why does it appear to take hours, if at all, to cite vehicles where there are “No Parking” signs?
There may be no easy solution to managing and protecting the quality of this area. There seldom is.
The problem will certainly not be going away because the attraction will not be going away. Surely the parking dilemma has been the topic for discussion and deliberation at many meetings. With so many agencies involved, if ever there was a place for collaborative planning at Lake Tahoe, this seems to be it.
Hopefully a leader will come forward soon to do what is right for Emerald Bay.