Turn restrictions to be discussed next week at Meyers traffic meeting
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Traffic Advisory Committee is holding a meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, to discuss a turn restriction proposal in Meyers.
The proposal came from a group of concerned homeowners in Meyers that see their neighborhood streets lined up with tourists leaving South Lake Tahoe on busy weekends. Tourists have been using neighborhood streets to try to escape the backed up traffic on U.S. Highway 50 westbound. Navigation applications like Waze and Google maps have directed traffic on to county roads.
The original meeting was set for spring, but was postponed due to the coronavirus.
This meeting will discuss the right turn restriction engineering and traffic survey at the intersections of U.S. 50 at Sawmill Road and at North Upper Truckee Road on Sundays and Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The pilot survey project that will be conducted spring 2021 and go through Nov. 16 2021. The TAC meeting will be taking public comment on the matter and Caltrans will be present. The meeting will be held using Zoom audio conferencing.
If the outcome of the pilot program shows success at relocating tourists back to U.S. 50 from residential and county roadways, navigation applications will be pressured to remove both roadways as alternatives for westbound congestion and permanent turn restrictions may be put in place.
The county has tried to mitigate the traffic issue before by implementing temporary road closures to nudge tourists to not use neighborhood roads. Since neighborhood roads are still public, this makes it difficult.
“We see the public concern and we are trying to deal with it,” said Darryl Brown, El Dorado County Traffic Superintendent. “It [the proposal] is a little out-of-the-box, a different way to resolve the issue.”
Brown said they are conducting the survey on two of the roads because they don’t want to do it all at once due to it being expensive and that they don’t know if it is going to work. He said that it could potentially impact others in the area and they need to be careful when implementing the restrictions. Brown said these two roads were chosen because of their traffic volume and they receive the most calls from the public regarding these two roads.
If the survey shows to be a success, turn restrictions would also become part of the California Vehicle Code so California Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Office can enforce and ticket drivers for disobeying the signage. As part of the details of the survey, the proposed program can be ended at any point by the director of the El Dorado County Department of Transportation if public safety is compromised. If the survey does not work, there will be further study implemented.
There are 21 other roads included in the proposal which will be up for discussion if the survey is successful. The proposal created by residents has the intent to increase public safety and proper traffic mitigation during peak weekends and holidays that cause severe traffic leaving South Lake Tahoe.
Jeffrey Spencer, a South Lake Tahoe resident, says that these apps have been routing tourists into residential neighborhoods for the last four years creating complete gridlock. He also said that he has seen semi-trucks trying to go through these neighborhood roads along with tourists knocking on homes asking to use restrooms.
In the summer, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends are some of the busiest for traffic in the Tahoe Basin, but residents also see severe backups in winter.
Spencer says that a lot of problems arise in the winter with westbound tourist traffic due to people coming to recreate in the mountains. Weather conditions including avalanches cause backups especially during holidays.
“We are hoping to finally have the relief as residents to get in and out of our homes,” he said.
Spencer is one of the residents who has been working on this proposal since 2016 and revised it in 2018.
Tony Risso is another South Lake Tahoe resident who is also behind the proposal. Risso has researched other busy tourist towns who have implemented turn restrictions.
“A lot of cities have gone to turn restrictions to mitigate traffic issues,” Risso said.
He said that cities like Menlo Park, Fremont and San Mateo have carried out similar plans.
“I want to know what people are thinking about this,” said Risso. “Traffic needs to be back where it should be.”
He said that even if people don’t agree with the proposal he would like to hear people’s ideas. He said this process has taken a while but it’s relatively simple.
“I have really high hopes for it,” Risso said.
To join the Zoom TAC meeting,
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TURN RESTRICTION PROPOSAL INCLUDES:
1. No Right turn and no U-turn sign at the intersection of North Upper Truckee and Hwy 50.
1A. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Hwy 50 and Hwy 89.
1B. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Lake Tahoe Blvd and D St.
1C. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Lake Tahoe Blvd and Saw Mill.
1D. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound Sign at the intersection of Lake Tahoe Blvd and North Upper Truckee.
2. No Left turn sign at Apache Ave. and Hwy 50 (Near Road Runner).
3. No Left turn sign at Apache Ave. and Hwy 50 (Near Post Office).
4. No Left turn sign at Navahoe Dr. and Hwy 50.
4A. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Pioneer Trail and Mandan St.
4B. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Pioneer Trail and Oneidas St.
4C. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Mandan St. and Apache Ave.
4D. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Navahoe and Chimney Navahoe Dr.
5. No Left turn and no U-turn sign at the intersection of Cirugu St. and Hwy 50.
5A. No outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound Sign at the intersection of Hwy 89 and Pomo St.
6. No Left turn and no U-turn sign at the intersection of South Upper Truckee and Hwy 50
6A. No outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of South Upper Truckee and Portal Dr.
7. No Right Turn Sign at the intersection of Arapahoe St. and Hwy 50.
8. No Right Turn Sign at the intersection of Apache Ave and Hwy 50 (Agricultural Station Side).
9. No Right Turn Sign at the intersection of Hopi and Hwy 50.
9A. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Arapahoe and Hwy 50.
9B. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Country Club and Arapahoe.
9C. No Outlet to Hwy 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Arrowhead and San Diego.
10. No Right Turn Sign at the intersection of Sawmill and Hwy 50.
10A. No Outlet to US 50 Westbound sign at the intersection of Sawmill and Lake Tahoe Blvd.
11. No Right Turn Sign at the intersection of Cornelian Dr. and Hwy 89.
12. No Right Turn Sign at the intersection of Keetak St. and Hwy 89 (Emergency Vehicle Exemption).
13. No Right Turn Sign at the intersection of Pomo and Hwy 89.
13A. No Outlet to Hwy 89 North Bound Sign at the intersection of Cheyenne Dr. and Apache Ave.
13B. No Outlet to Hwy 89 North Bound Sign at the intersection of Navahoe Dr. and Cheyenne Dr.
13C. No Outlet to Hwy 89 North Bound Sign at the intersection of Chimney Way and Apache Ave.
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