Parking fees on East Shore help fund projects on SR-28
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Visitors to the East Shore Trail in Incline Village are paying to park and those fees are being used to get more people out of cars and limit traffic on Nevada State Route 28.
On Tuesday, March 1, the Tahoe Transportation District began implementing fees at the parking lot at the East Shore Trail, as part of “Come Early, Come Late, Pay a Lower Rate” program, which sees parking rates during early and later hours of the day with lowered or completely waived.
“We’re not trying to add any parking capacity to the corridor,” said TTD Capital Program Manager Danielle Hughes. “But more replace that parking on the shoulder and distribute that demand. I think we all know we have big season and high demand during the holiday weekends, so [the program] is to encourage people to come in the evening.”
Parking anytime between 7-9 a.m. is $1 an hour, and parking any time between 7-11 p.m. is free. The rates increase during the day to $3 an hour between 9-11 a.m. and $4 an hour between 3-5 p.m. on the weekends. The fees increase by a dollar on the weekends, and they will increase slightly in the summer after Memorial Day Weekend.
“I’m really trying to shift people to an evening stroll,” said Hughes. “We’re still seeing that we’re pretty full in the mornings, although it is still cheaper. But we’d love to see more people come for an evening picnic and watch the sunset.”
All fees collected go to the taking care of the facilities in the parking lots, as well as funding more solutions to reduce traffic on SR-28.
The creation of the parking lot and implementation of the fees is a part of the Highway 28 Corridor Management Plan, which aims to relocate people safely from parking on the side of the highway and also shift visitors to transit through the Shore Express and other initiatives in the works by TTD.
Hughes explained that initially, a plan called Linking Tahoe was created in 2016 that identifies six corridors in the Lake Tahoe basin that relate to land use and travel movements.
The SR-28 Corridor Management Plan was the first part of the plan that was completed, and addresses the travel and recreation needs on the highway while also looking at safety and congestion issues in the corridor.
The plan also addresses the environmental impacts of cars in the corridor, including erosion that has been gradually effecting the lake’s overall clarity.
The eventual goal is to create full access transit in entire corridor that will eliminate any need to park on the side of the highway, where many park illegally.
Through a partnership of 13 agencies dedicated to the corridor, the SR 28 Corridor Management Plan plans to address transit that connects from Reno to Incline Village, as well as finishing the construction at Spooner Lake.
“So we want the people coming in from California and coming up at 431 to intercept at that end, and then the people coming up from South Lake Tahoe and Spooner to intercept at that end,” said Hughes. “Then transit will run all through that corridor so that people can access where they would like.”
Revenue collected at the parking lot will also go to helping maintain trails and letting the agencies signed onto the management plan work together and meet to look at issues that may arise with operations and strategize on how to reinvest the funds if needed.
“[We asked], ‘Do we need to increase trash service?’ We did do the quite a bit last year,” said Hughes. “We expanded trash service and the restrooms, since our shoulder seasons are becoming less and less.”
The transition from shoulder seasons to full-time tourism is one that all agencies are attempting to adjust to, and TTD is not different.
“We continue to monitor it,” said Hughes. “That’s the really nice thing about this parking program; it helps us really look at how people are using the corridor.”
Hughes explained that there are sensors in the trails that help TTD understand how many people are on the trail.
“We also look at the transit data,” said Hughes. “We do surveys to understand how many people are in each vehicle and try to balance the demand and shift to carpooling.”
The corridor plan identifies all of the key infrastructure projects that will be implemented in the SR-28 corridor, along with information on parking management, and can be read entirely online at tahoetransportation.org/projects/sr28-national-scenic-byway.
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