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Traffic woes on hold pending further study

Andy Bourelle

Solutions to traffic problems at Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay have been put on hold pending a comprehensive look at traffic on State Route 89 by the Lake Tahoe Transportation and Water Quality Coalition.

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency staff recently reported the results of a study, paid for by a 1997-98 Federal Transit Administration grant, to TRPA’s board of governors.

In concluding the study, TRPA staff recommended not proceeding with solutions at this time because the coalition was preparing to look at and come up with an overall traffic plan on Highway 89.

“I think it’s a wise thing to not take action on until we have an overall plan for the whole system on the 89 corridor,” said Jim Allison, TRPA associate planner.

Rochelle Nason, co-chair of the Lake Tahoe Transportation and Water Quality Coalition, said the coalition is in the beginning stages of coming up with a plan.

Components of the TRPA study included data collection in the summer of 1997 and use of the data to look at potential alternatives to traffic problems for each area. The alternatives will be used in the coalition’s comprehensive transportation plan.

The survey looked at using private automobiles, public transit or a combination of both as transportation to Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay.

Other information collected from the study, Allison said, includes a finding that visitors did not mind traveling on the narrow Fallen Leaf Lake Road as much as was expected. Additionally, the study found there is inadequate parking between the marina at Fallen Leaf Lake and the Lily Lake parking lot, and most parking areas there are full on the weekends.

Also, there is inadequate designated parking between Emerald Bay Campground and the Vikingsholm parking lot. At all formal parking areas, demand exceeds supply. On weekends, demand exceeds supply in most informal parking places as well.

Through survey interviews, TRPA staff determined visitors’ thoughts on the quality of traffic flow, crowding, safety and parking availability at Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay. The area of strongest opinion showed that more than half of the people surveyed felt parking availability at Emerald Bay was poor or very poor.

Because the comprehensive traffic plan is in beginning stages, Nason said, no completion time has been set.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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