Arrest disrupts Kings Beach meeting | SierraSun.com

Arrest disrupts Kings Beach meeting

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunPlacer County held a meeting Tuesday on the traffic calming plan meant to slow potential traffic cutting through Kings Beach neighborhoods as part of the proposed project that would change Highway 28 to three lanes and replace two intersections with roundabouts.

A Kings Beach resident was dragged out of a public meeting Tuesday night and arrested, showing the three-lane vs. four-lane debate still sparks intense emotion in the community.

Joseph Huelle was arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer ” all misdemeanors ” said Sgt. Bill Langton of Placer County Sheriff’s.

“He had become involved in a confrontation with a woman, one officer asked him to quiet down and he became confrontational. He was asked to step outside, and then he grabbed an officer and a wrestling match ensued,” Langton said.

Tuesday’s meeting displayed a traffic calming plan for the Kings Beach grid residential neighborhood, created in response to concern over cut-through traffic created by the county-supported three-lane alternative.

Outside of Huelle’s outburst, resident Theresa May Duggan said the meeting was great for people to learn about the project and provide input.

Placer County staff proposed the traffic calming measures, which include narrowed sections, small traffic circles, and even seasonal speed bumps.

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“I think what we will have 10 to 20 percent reduction in speed and some reduction in cut-through during marginal times, but the worst times with Tahoe City traffic we’ll still have cut through,” said Gordon Shaw, a traffic consultant with LSA Transportation. “But at least it won’t be 40 to 45 miles per hour cut through.”

And while most in attendance said they were in favor of the traffic controls, the proposal didn’t change minds on the divisive three lanes versus four lanes debate.

“I like them regardless of three lanes of four lanes, we’ve needed this for years,” said Keely Hedderman, a resident of the grid who supports the three-lane alternative. “It literally could save lives.”

Others said the measures didn’t matter, as no cut-through traffic would be acceptable.

“I don’t want any traffic on the back streets, I’m for four lanes,” said Nancy Bervid, a Kings Beach resident.

Maggie Schumacher, another local, said cut-through traffic is already an issue however.

“It’s an issue with the project or not, it’s primarily residents cutting through anyway so we need to slow people down,” Schumacher said.

Dick Leon, a resident and business owner in Kings Beach, said cut-through traffic would back up trying to get onto Highway 267.

In a previous interview, Placer County Director of Public Works Ken Grehm said the three-lane alternative may go back to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board for decision in November.

This means it, if approved, it will be too late to start work next summer, so construction would likely begin in 2010, he said.

The traffic calming measures proposed would likely add about $1 million to the project’s $46-million to $48-million price tag, Grehm said.