Pedestrian, bicycle plan promotes a connected, non-automobile trail
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s recently adopted bicycle and pedestrian plan emphasizes the concept of having both bike and foot trails link throughout a community, thereby providing residents with a viable alternative to motor vehicles, officials said.
“Our research indicates use of trails as a transportation alternative increases in proportion to the increase of connectivity in the trail network,” said Karen Fink, associate transportation planner, during last week’s governing board meeting in Stateline, where the plan was unanimously approved.
Fink also introduced the notion of “complete streets,” which mandates future road construction and private and public development include accommodation for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Funding for the plan is dependent on local, state and federal transportation agencies that issue grants for bicycle and pedestrian oriented projects, Fink said.
A priority list – crafted to identify gaps in the lakewide trail network – contains projects which would cost approximately $200 million to construct and additional funds needed to conduct maintenance, safety and outreach activities.
“It is unlikely we could construct all the projects on the list in the next 20 years,” Fink said.
While TRPA lists various accomplishments since the first Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was ratified in 2003 – including more than three miles of new sidewalk in the Incline Village Commercial Area, new bicycle lanes in Incline Village and Kings Beach, new links in the Lakeside Bike Trail in Tahoe City and the city of South Lake Tahoe allocating $25,000 to be used toward the purchase of community bicycle racks – the newly updated plan identifies many gaps in lakewide connectivity.
Gaps persist along the East Shore; near Emerald Bay and Homewood on the West Shore; between Tahoe City and Kings Beach; between Crystal Bay and Incline Village; and between Meyers and South Lake Tahoe.
Two smaller holes exist in South Lake Tahoe’s otherwise continuous network – one from El Dorado Beach to Ski Run Boulevard and a section along Harrison Avenue. Also, gaps exist along the Lakeside Trail in Tahoe City and in Homewood.
Projects that address these gaps are the highest priority, Fink said.
“There are a lot of criteria in identifying which projects get done, including cost versus benefit, safety, use and filling connectivity gaps,” Fink said. “Whenever we can push through a project that fills an important gap, we’ll make that a priority.”
TRPA’s working list of priority projects is designed serve as a living report card. In total, 36.6 miles of path are prioritized.
“The priority list allows us to continually check in see what projects are being accomplished and identify the reasons why some projects are being held up,” Fink said.