My Turn: Don’t let your voice be bypassed
Ryan Summerlin October 29, 2013
After attending multiple meetings with the Tahoe Transportation District since 2011 and being heavily involved in the newly titled SR 89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project, the information published by the TTD in Wednesday’s Sierra Sun “Fanny Bridge gets $25.5M in federal funds” leads the public to a perception.
Based on the project titles, the public would be lead to have the perception that our struggling community core is going to be revitalized and that Fanny Bridge is going to be repaired to meet the current seismic code requirements.
Well if you don’t go to the TTD website for “the rest of the story,” you may be in for a surprise when you drive along Highway 89 from Squaw to Tahoe City and see a massive concrete bridge located near the Caltrans yard that welcomes you to Tahoe City — the “Gateway to the Lake.”
For West Shore travelers, they won’t even see the lake until they get to Hurricane Bay. All of the current alternatives do include upgrading Fanny Bridge, unless the no-build alternative is selected. It’s the “rest of the story” that I am worried about.
In 2011 there were four alternatives presented by the TTD all of which include a four-lane, elevated 80-foot (+/-) wide concrete bridge over the Truckee River Corridor with Highway 89 being rerouted through 64 Acres.
Also included in all of the original four alternatives are two roundabouts; one at the Caltrans yard and the second near Bank of the West. Based on input from the Tahoe City businesses and area residents, Alternatives 6 and 6A were prepared.
Alternate 6A replaces the existing traffic signal at the “Wye” with a roundabout. The TTD and their design engineer have since rejected Alternatives 6 and 6A based on lack of constructability.
My conversations with representatives from Caltrans and the Bureau of Reclamation indicate contrary information on the possibility of constructability. Based on further persistence from members of the community, Alternates 6 and 6A are being reconsidered; however, the odds are against us.
Sixty-six percent of the current alternates include a designed bypass which will route all of the west shore vehicles away from the Tahoe City business community.
Based on the information provided by the TTD, the information makes our community sound like Sacramento grid lock, with peak times lasting for months and Fanny Bridge pedestrians and bicyclists in danger of their safety.
The addition of paved surfaces, roundabouts and a bypass bridge through 64 Acres may not be the answer. Urban traffic studies for environmentally sensitive areas, like Tahoe, do not recommend increasing the paved surface network (i.e. bypass to handle peak traffic flows which only occur at occasional times).
Higher levels of traffic service in urban areas tend to necessitate the widening of roads, thus discouraging use of bicycles, walking or transit services. We need to give our community and visitors an incentive to use alternate forms of transportation instead of accommodating the use of an automobile by paving more of the basin.
Please review the TTD website at www.tahoetransportation.org for the “rest of the story” and let your voice be heard at the next Citizens Review Committee meeting scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Fairway Community Center in Tahoe City.
Jim Sajdak is a Tahoe City resident.
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