A bike path encircling Lake Tahoe is still years away, but bicycle advocates and Lake Tahoe Basin agency staff gathered this week to celebrate the latest step toward completion of “America’s Most Beautiful Bikeway.”
The one-mile, approximately $2 million, segment of bike path between Kahle Drive and Elks Point Road opened to the public in October, but was dedicated Thursday. The path is the latest development in an effort to connect the state lines with a more than 30-mile bike path running along the Nevada side of the lake.
Being able to circumnavigate the entire lake safely on a bike path is the ultimate dream for many bicylists, bike advocate and America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride organizer Curtis Fong said Thursday.
“We are all moving in a positive direction to realize this dream,” Fong said.
He relayed some of the dangers faced by road bikers at Lake Tahoe. Prior to a previous America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, when Fong expected a law enforcement officer to give a overview of the rules of the road, the officer instead questioned the sanity of the participants and said “I hope to god nobody gets killed today,” Fong said.
He said there are plenty of signs of improvement, the bike path segment dedicated Thursday among them. Nevada also recently moved up from 29th to 20th in the League of American Bicyclists’ rankings of bike-friendly states, Fong said.
Joanne Marchetta, executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, said the efforts to improve non-motorized transportation at the lake are meeting with more success and will continue to gain steam.
“The momentum is here, the momentum is now, the momentum is building,” Marchetta said.
“It’s the first mile, but not the last,” Douglas County Commissioner Nancy McDermid said of the bike path.
The next section of America’s Most Beautiful Bikeway, which will extend to Round Hill Pines Beach, is expected to begin construction within the next week, said Alfred Knotts, transportation projects manager with the Tahoe Transportation District. That portion of path is expected to be completed this fall.
The section of bike path extending east from Round Hills Pines Beach is still in the planning phase. Three alternatives for that section are under currently being considered, Knotts said.