Transportation solutions explored by the Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization |

Transportation solutions explored by the Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization

Emily Aughinbaugh

Close to $56 million will be spent during the next three years to enhance transportation options in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The money will fund 31 projects in Nevada and California as part of a 20-year plan developed by the Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The organization is a sister agency to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and was designated by the federal government last year to ease Tahoe’s growing pains.

The metropolitan planning organization estimates Lake Tahoe will see a 35 percent increase in vehicle trips, 17 percent increase in resident population and 16 percent more visitors during the next 25 years. To deal with this surge the organization developed a transportation plan to explore increasing traffic congestion and the resulting environmental and public health effects that come with more people.

The plan estimates $350 million will be needed for capital transportation investments and $116 million for transit operations within 25 years.

Kathleen Wanda, agency senior planner, said the money will come from federal, state and local sources.

Wanda said revision of the plan is starting and public workshops will be held in March and April.

“This is the first time we’ve done one as an MPO to meet federal and state requirements,” Wanda said. “We’re trying to be proactive. We’re trying to work with the community and develop transportation options.”

Richard Wiggins, agency transportation division chief, said a major U.S. Highway 50 project resulting from the organization’s plan will start construction in 2003.

Phase 1 of the plan will encompass $9 million of stormwater treatment and curb, gutter, sidewalk and bicycle lane improvements extending from Ski Run Boulevard to Trout Creek. Phase 2 will expand the improvements down to the “Y.”

Goals include:

– employer-sponsored, trip-reduction programs

– increased home mail delivery

– reduced or low-cost transit fares

– growth and coordination of shuttle services

– park-and-ride lots

– intersection improvements

– traffic signal timing and coordination

– pedestrian and bicycle facilities

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