Pedestrian safety must be addressed
It was good to see city crews out last week restriping the crosswalk that takes skiers from the Crescent V Shopping Center to the Heavenly Gondola at Park Avenue and Highway 50.
No one will ever stop jaywalkers, but making the safest routes more visible and talking about alternatives for the dangerous areas is a step in the right direction.
There is no knowing if the parking garage at the Marriott complex that is scheduled to open this spring will ease the problem on Park Avenue. Human nature tells us skiers are more apt to park for free across the street than at the garage which will charge a fee.
As it stands now, skiers and snowboarders are directed to get to the gondola via the center’s driveway on Park Avenue. From there they must jaywalk to cross the street as they dodge traffic in both directions and vehicles leaving the Marriott Grand Residence. It would seem more prudent to direct people to the sidewalk paralleling Highway 50 that leads to the crosswalk.
There should also be signs telling people where to go. Signs also need to be posted for people returning to their vehicles from the gondola/Marriott area so they avoid the dangers of crossing without a crosswalk.
In other towns where there are little-used crosswalks a yellow flashing light can be activated by pedestrians. This alerts drivers that someone is in the middle of the road. We urge city workers to consider this as an option on Park Avenue — right after putting in a crosswalk.
As for those traversing Highway 50 from the Marriott complex to businesses on the other side of the highway, relief will come this summer when Caltrans puts a crosswalk in at Friday Avenue — the street at the east end of the complex.
South Lake Tahoe comes with unique problems — TRPA, snow, black ice, tourists — but maybe we should look to Las Vegas for some solutions. In the mid-1990s pedestrian overpasses were built at intersections to deal with getting tourists off the roads. Before they were constructed, tourists would block traffic, jaywalk and not seem to care they were putting themselves in harms way. Perhaps some sort of overpass is what South Lake Tahoe needs in order to shuttle tourists and locals across the highway in a safe manner.
It is incumbent upon us all to look for solutions to this problem before someone is hurt or even worse. The Marriott complex will undoubtedly become a destination for locals and tourists. All of the players need to make sure everyone can get there and leave there safely — whether by vehicle or on foot.
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