Tahoe Transportation District seeking lake-wide plan
STATELINE — The Tahoe Transportation District board of directors approved an eight-year vision to complete a transportation system connecting lake-wide communities and Truckee along U.S. Highway 50 at South Shore and Interstate 80 at Truckee.
According to district officials, the inter-regional connections with public transit will benefit travel, economy, safety and convenience in each community. Bringing the goal to reality will involve collaboration with Tahoe Area Regional Transit operated by Placer County and ongoing involvement from the communities to be served. The goals include completion of projects and bike trails like the approved SR 89 Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project, US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project, and the All-season Crosslake Passenger Ferry, presently under consideration.
TTD recently announced a major step with a five-year annual federal funding formula to support the local transit system and sustainable transit services for residents, visitors and commuters.
To determine the optimal implementation strategy, TTD board members and staff have conducted extensive interviews from communities in similar regions including San Mateo, San Luis Obispo, Monterey-Salinas, Placer County and Contra Costa. The organization’s findings demonstrated that a thriving transit system would add public value to the region through environmental improvement and protection of Lake Tahoe. It would also enhance economic vitality and contributions to the overall quality of life in the region, according to TTD.
A previous study indicates that over 70 percent of the particulates impacting Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity originate from the transportation system and land development. Vehicles are also a major source of emissions that pollute the air and fuel algae growth in the lake.
“Providing dependable, safe, affordable, environmentally friendly and easy to use transportation that connects communities throughout the basin is essential to the economic health of the Lake Tahoe region,” said Carl Hasty, district manager for the Tahoe Transportation District.
The Tahoe Transportation District board recently approved a series of actions that will lead to the district directly operating transit in South Lake Tahoe with a target date of Nov. 1, 2016. Local management will result in consistent service and routes, as well as operational and budgetary efficiencies.
“The board believes this is the right direction we should be going to contribute to a successful resort region,” said Steve Teshara, chair of the Tahoe Transportation District Board of Directors. “TTD was created to provide strategic oversight, execute long-term planning, and deliver a transit system and mobility improvements around the Basin. We look forward to working with many partners to accomplish these goals.”
LAKE-WIDE TRANSPORTATION PROJECT UPDATE
STATE ROUTE 89 TAHOE CITY: TTD secured the remaining $4.9 million in funding required for the $33 million State Route 89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project and Meeks Bay Trail Project. The Tahoe City plan at the intersection of state routes 89 and 28 at the northwest corner of Lake Tahoe will include the replacement of Fanny Bridge as well as a new two-lane bridge. Work is scheduled to start in summer 2016. Completion of the entire projects is expected in 2018.
SOUTH SHORE: The most recent proposal for US 50 South Shore Revitalization Project would realign US Highway 50 near the state line with four lanes along Lake Parkway East behind Harrah’s, MontBleu and the Village Shopping Center (formerly the Crescent V). The project would also convert the four-lane highway through the South Lake Tahoe business and Stateline casino corridors into two lanes with turn pockets, and thoroughfares reconnecting at Pioneer Trail in California. The Environment Impact Study draft will be released in the first quarter of 2016 with public comment accepted 60 days following release and the document finalized in the second quarter of 2016.
Previous infrastructure improvement projects overseen by TTD included the Stateline-to-Stateline Bikeway, South Shore Demonstration Project, which constructed 2.3 miles shared-use bike path from Nevada to California. The project connects Elks Point and Round Hill Pines and provides access to Rabe Meadow with Nevada Beach and Round Hill Pines Beach Resort. Eventually the Stateline-to-Stateline Bikeway will span 30 miles and connect Stateline to Crystal Bay, Nevada.
INCLINE: The Incline Gateway, the Tahoe Basin’s first roundabout at Mount Rose Highway where State Route 28 meets State Route 431, was officially dedicated Oct. 17, 2012.
The East Shore Express, a Park and Ride bus service from Incline Village to Sand Harbor Beach State Recreation Area, has generated more than 18,400 rides between June 15 and Labor Day 2015.