Supes to vote on transit center |

Supes to vote on transit center

Kara Fox

TAHOE CITY – Opponents of the proposed Tahoe City Transit Center have waged a letter-writing campaign to the Placer County Board of Supervisors, which will vote on the project Tuesday.

They also have mailed brochures arguing against the project to all North Shore residents. “Act Now, Save 64 Acres,” the bright yellow brochure proclaims. “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

The brochure claims the county and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, which supports the county project, “literally want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.” It states that the six-bus-bay center with adjacent 130-space parking lot is a “glorified bus stop” and belongs in the commercial core of Tahoe City. The brochure goes on to encourage locals to tell the board of supervisors that “this is a terrible idea, and to find some other location for this so-called ‘transit center.'”

The pamphlet also states that the transit center, which is to take up 2.5 acres with the parking lot, would handle 72 transit vehicles an hour and would have space for “a bus service which no longer even exists.”

Placer County Senior Transportation Systems Supervisor Will Garner said the opponents’ claims are misleading.

“The center is designed for six buses at a time. We have no services that even approach 72 vehicles (an hour),” Garner said. “We would have as many as five at a time in the summer. To inform somebody who may not be familiar with the project that this would hold 72 buses an hour is misinforming them.”

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Garner also noted that the former bus service the brochure alludes to is the Lake Laper service that ran in the mid-’90s. That system was replaced with the current summer trolleys, Garner said. He noted that there is also potential for future service to South Shore and Emerald Bay.

An e-mail to the address on the brochure was not returned by Tahoe World deadline, but other opponents not associated with the brochure said they objected to the location of the project and questioned whether North Tahoe even needs a transit center.

“The main thing is it is in the wrong location,” said Paul Vatistas, the only member of the NLTRA transportation committee to vote against the project. “A large number of people think it is in the wrong place.”

Although the county studied alternative sites for the center at the board of supervisors request, some opponents say the study is incomplete.

“This won’t work. They set out to prove that 64 Acres is the best site,” said Mike Hawkins, a member of the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council, which makes recommendations to the board. “They have never proved there is a need for it. They have not justified the transit center or that it should be in 64 Acres.”

But proponents of the project say the transit center will solve traffic and parking issues in Tahoe City.

“The project is consistent with 18 relevant adopted plans,” said Ron Treabess of the NLTRA. “We are supporting plan after plan that we need a transit center and parking lot. People in the negative haven’t come up with anything new.”

Tahoe Area Regional Transit ridership numbers have increased, with this summer’s trolley ridership numbers up 29 percent over last year, Garner has said.

A number of agencies and organizations have approved the project, including the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the NLTRA and the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association.

The $2.5 million project would be funded in part by a $1.5 million federal transit grant.

It would be built on 2.5 acres of land and include space for six buses, a 130-space parking lot, waiting areas for passengers and an office.

The Board of Supervisors will vote on the project’s EIR and appeals to the project on Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. at the Granlibakken Conference Center in the Mountain Room, 725 Granlibakken Rd., Tahoe City.