See a show, but leave your car at home (Opinion)
Professional wrestling, Pitbull or Paw Patrol. Take your pick. Stateline’s exciting, newly opened Tahoe Blue Event Center, named for its sponsor Tahoe Blue Vodka, has shows and concerts galore. If those headliners don’t match your taste, there’s still something in it for everyone: better transportation options for the South Shore.
As CEO of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, my team and I worked with the event center for many months to make sure it does its part to Keep Tahoe Blue. That means managing its local transportation impacts down to net zero.
Through our negotiations, the event center is providing significant funding for Lake Link – the South Shore’s free, on-demand, microtransit shuttle service – and other traffic-calming elements, like managed parking at the casinos, and strict limits on how many tickets can be sold during the busy summer season (less than half the venue’s capacity). We also ensured that accountability measures are built-in.
It’s part of our role as Tahoe’s environmental watchdog: to make sure every development not only offsets their own impact, but actually improves the situation, especially when it comes to transportation. If traffic monitoring data shows the event center’s current program isn’t getting the job done, we’re able to push for more improvements to be implemented.
Why is Tahoe’s oldest environmental nonprofit so focused on transportation? Because how you and I get around is key to protecting our Lake’s water quality and clarity. Here’s how.
– Our cars and trucks chew up Tahoe’s roads and highways, leaving masses of loose rubble to wash into streams and creeks that empty into Big Blue. These tiny specks of ground-up pavement and dust are the primary threat to Tahoe’s water clarity.
– On top of that, synthetic rubber in your tires is likely a major source of microplastics – those tiny strands and bits of petroleum-based trash in our Lake.
– Cars pump tailpipe emissions into the atmosphere. Aside from fueling climate change, some of those particles of pollution, like nitrogen, fall directly on the Lake’s surface, providing food for algae that can turn Tahoe’s blue water green.
So, what’s the transportation solution to Keep Tahoe Blue? Driving our cars less and using bikes, buses, free microtransit shuttles, and our feet more. Simple as that.
Lake Link is a microtransit shuttle service that offers free, shared, on-demand rides to many of the South Shore’s most popular destinations. It launched more than a year before the event center opened its doors, thanks in part to support from the League and more than ten local businesses and organizations, including day-to-day management by the South Shore
Transportation Management Association. In its first year, Lake Link provided 130,000 rides, showing that people are happy to leave their cars at home if there are other options.
Shared rides keep cars off the road and pollution out of the Lake. The League first introduced the microtransit concept to Tahoe in 2018 with a self-funded pilot project. The model has since been adopted in Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows as Mountaineer, as well as across the north and west shores as TART Connect.
Next time you see a show at the Tahoe Blue Event Center, plan to keep your car at home. Hop in a Lake Link, carpool with friends, ride a bike, or enjoy a beautiful fall evening on foot. It’s a little thing you can do to Keep Tahoe Blue.
Dr. Darcie Goodman Collins is CEO of the environmental nonprofit League to Save Lake Tahoe, also known as Keep Tahoe Blue.
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