To the editor: About dog-doo and traffic, too |

To the editor: About dog-doo and traffic, too

Two topics reported on in the April 6-8 edition of the Tahoe Daily Tribune deserve further discussion. First and foremost are comments made by community leaders regarding the airport and transportation in general. It has become painfully clear that the Tahoe area has some serious transportation problems. Terms such as “transportation hub,” “… integrated South Shore transportation system” and “new vision” were floated about. But to me, what was more important is what was not said. Over the past several years, transportation issues have come to the fore and many proposals have been aired, but to date, we’re still looking at the same ol’ same ol’ traffic congestion. Why are community leaders focusing on far off and expensive plans (good as they may be) while ignoring the obvious? Lake Tahoe Airport Commissioner Mike Bradford hinted at it with statements like, “… comprehensive transportation plan seeking to reduce our reliance on the automobile” and “… provide improved alternatives to the car.” Despite these hints at the obvious, absolutely nothing was said about sidewalks and bike paths. Both of these transportation alternatives have been on the table for the 20 years that I’ve lived here, yet only token efforts have been made to incorporate these tried and true alternatives to the traffic tangle we must face on a daily basis.

Obesity and heart disease have reached epidemic proportions in this country. Fuel prices continue to go up and our government is planning to despoil wilderness areas so that we might have an extra 90 days of oil reserves. Does anyone else see the absurdity of this situation? Why are we not using our bodies to transport ourselves for short distances, thereby improving our health, environment and economy simultaneously? There are several transportation-related improvements that could be implemented quickly, and I have a few questions I’d like our community and transportation officials to address:

1. When are you going to synchronize the traffic lights on U.S. Highway 50 to improve the flow of traffic?

2. When are the long-promised sidewalks going to become a reality?

3. When are you going to get serious about connecting the South Shore with a bike path network?

4. Is there still a plan to make the casino corridor between Park Avenue and Loop Road a car-free zone by diverting traffic around the core? If so, why not start on it now while other redevelopment projects are stalled? Wouldn’t that make more sense than waiting until those expensive rooms are occupied? Does anyone think those high-end tourists will return or recommend Tahoe to others if they are forced to suffer the noise, dust and disruption that project will surely cause?

I’m not suggesting that bike paths and sidewalks will solve our transportation woes, but they are certainly an important component in a comprehensive transportation system and could be implemented long before we might see a monorail or a revamped airport transportation hub.

The second issue is the odious presence of increasing amounts of dog doo around Tahoe. A Kings Beach lodge owner bemoans the loss of aesthetics as well as a loss of business because of a State Beach Recreation Area littered with smelly piles of dog feces. This despite signs restricting dogs from the area. And don’t think the dog doo problem is restricted to Kings Beach. In recent years, I’ve seen a large increase in the number of dog droppings around South Shore. Places like the Old Meyers Grade, the access road to Baldwin Beach and the bike path behind Motel 6 have become mine fields of dog feces … especially in the spring. I wonder if these hundreds (thousands?) of pounds of dog feces are affecting the water quality in a similar way to the cattle dung that has brought about removal of most cattle from the basin? This is on top of the disgusting mess that ensues when you unknowingly step in one of Rover’s little treasures and track it into your home or car.

In a related story, the El Dorado County Aminal Control reports that the number of stray dogs on South Shore has more than doubled from 1999 to 2000. This combination of more dogs and more irresponsible dog owners will most certainly bring more restrictions on dogs in the future. If dog owners would be more responsible for their pets and pick up after them, these regulations wouldn’t be necessary. Get a clue … be a responsible pet owner or you’ll bring more regulations and ridicule upon yourself, your dog and the few responsible dog owners who will pay for your rudeness.

Tom Wendell

South Lake Tahoe

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