TRPA bans shoulder parking at nude beaches
TAHOE CITY-Lake Tahoe’s bistate regulatory board Wednesday endorsed plans to prohibit shoulder parking on an East Shore highway close to where residents and visitors like to hike and sunbathe on nearby beaches.
The regulations won’t go into effect this year, but it is part of long-term plans by the U.S. Forest Service and Nevada Department of Environmental Protection. The agencies are in the process of identifying nearby parking areas that could either be built or upgraded in an effort to offset the lost shoulder parking.
People park along the 12-mile stretch of State Route 28 and hike down to the hidden, clothing-optional beaches in the area. However, the parking causes erosion problems that contribute to the degradation of Lake Tahoe.
And there are other concerns, too.
“People are parking literally bumper to bumper. Then you have bicyclists going along the road and you have cars going along,” said Juan Palma, forest supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “So it’s an issue of safety.”
Palma said it was only fair that parking areas be provided before the shoulder-parking restrictions go into effect.
However, allowing parking for the many people the beaches can handle is an issue that is being addressed. Now, with shoulder parking, the environmental carrying capacity of the area is likely exceeded in the busy summer months.
“We can’t be piling the beach full and damaging that resource,” said Richard Wiggins, transportation manager for TRPA.
Funds to create the parking areas have come from a federal scenic byways grant. The environmental documentation process is under way, and the lots would be built no sooner than 2000.
NDOT this summer is starting a $4.6 million project in the area. Work planned for that section of road includes installing curbs, gutters and drop-inlets, as well as erosion-control work on the slopes around the highway.
In other transportation action, TRPA – acting as the Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization – listed a $40,612 sidewalk project in Douglas County as the Number 1 priority for Federal Highway Administration funds for Nevada.
As the TMPO, the board was asked to list its priorities for Nevada-side-of-the-basin projects. Three Washoe County projects also made the list.
Wiggins said there was a lot of competition for the funding. Transportation agencies around the country are requesting a total of $37 million, while only about $7 million in funding is available.
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