Shoulder problem on Highway 28 will be studied
KINGS BEACH – Lake Tahoe regulators Wednesday endorsed plans to find a multi-faceted solution to the complex problems involved in eliminating road-side parking near a series of popular beaches along U.S. Highway 28.
“We’ve been working on this for several years,” Richard Wiggins, transportation manager for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization, said Wednesday at a joint meeting of the agencies. “This action today, while certainly not final, is a big step, an important step.”
TRPA has supported plans to eliminate road-side parking along the 12-mile stretch of highway. Tahoe visitors and residents who hike or sunbathe on the hidden beaches in the area currently use shoulder parking along the stretch, which is located south of Incline Village.
However, the parked cars cause erosion problems and contribute to the declining clarity of Lake Tahoe.
The Nevada Department of Transportation plans millions of dollars worth of erosion-control work there.
However, officials have committed to finding alternative parking areas for those spaces that will be lost by a shoulder parking ban. Therein lies the problem. The U.S. Forest Service has finished an environmental assessment of the area. Two nearby parking lots are viable options for expansion, but that will only create about 45 more spaces. Officials anticipate 150 or more cars can be parked along the road there on a summer weekend.
“Further analysis needs to be done as quickly as possible,” said Ed Gee, acting forest supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and TMPO board member.
Gee and the 14-voting members of TRPA’s board comprise the TMPO.
Members of the agencies insist shoulder parking won’t be eliminated until other adequate parking is provided.
Some beach users aren’t reassured.
North Swanson of TAN, Tahoe Area Nudists, told the board he was skeptical of the plans, indicating he believed there are often 400 cars in that area. Providing 150 spaces still wouldn’t be enough, he said.
“We’re just concerned the rights of the public are not being addressed here,” he said.
Wiggins said finding a solution to the disparity problem of supply vs. demand needed to happen by early next year, before NDOT starts its erosion-control work.
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