Incline Village residents voice concerns over mobility hub location
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline Village residents came together Thursday to voice their disdain over the potential decision to locate a mobility hub at the old elementary school in a heated meeting held by the Tahoe Transportation District.
TTD has been working with HDR Engineering to determine locations all around the Lake Tahoe Basin that could be mobility hubs in order to eliminate the amount of traffic and vehicle miles traveled.
While the meeting was held to receive public comment and opinion about what a mobility hub would look like should one be put in Incline Village, many of the public commenters were focused on the need for other amenities and developments, rather than a mobility hub.
There was also concern over the intention to create a hub in order to reduce congestion from the workforce when the community agreed that was not the issue.
“This presentation states that the mobility hub is to reduce congestion,” said IVGID Board of Trustee Sara Schmitz. “When will it reduce congestion? When you’re putting a parking lot and inviting people to drive their cars here, that does not reduce congestion.”
Schmitz and others raised a number of ideas to reduce congestion that doesn’t include a mobility hub, including implementing bus stops in places outside of the basin that people can take to come in and considering working out an agreement with David Duffield, the owner of the Ponderosa property, in order to potentially create more parking in the areas that tourists want to go.
“They want to go to the East Shore Trail. They want to go to Sand Harbor,” said Schmitz. “Most of them are day trippers. And if we can solve that problem, yes. But by inviting cars into our village, that doesn’t solve congestion in any way.”
The pressing need for affordable and workforce housing in the basin was also raised by multiple community members, who questioned why the old elementary school site was being considered for a mobility hub when it could serve as affordable housing.
“The old elementary school site needs to become an extension of our affordable housing and it needs to have additional parking space that allow the folks there to be able to get their cars off the roads,” said Elise Fett.
The OES site is located next to a residential area with long term residents and short term rentals, leading to congestion on the roads due to limited parking in the area.
While the OES site isn’t the only location being considered, it has been circulating for years that it could potentially serve as a hub to the dismay of locals who have voiced their strong opinion against the idea.
“Let’s just understand that this isn’t for our local residents,” Schmitz said. “This is needed to help reduce congestion from the influx of tourism, and we just need to solve that problem, and it doesn’t get solved by inviting them into our residential neighborhood.”
There was a general agreement that the need for a transportation district is imperative for visitors in the Incline Village area rather than locals.
Local resident Aaron Vanderpool who lives near the OES site currently owned by the TTD voiced the concerns of many, raising the point that the need for more parking and transportation in the area arose with the creation of the East Shore Trail.
“I like that they included on the flyer for this meeting a picture of the East Shore Trail, because that’s what this is really about,” said Vanderpool. “They built this trail without properly planning to meet the demand. This is marketed globally.”
Local resident Miles Reiner brought up the petition signed by thousands of community members that opposed the mobility hub at the OES, which seemed to have been ignored by TTD, according to Reiner.
“What do we have to do as a community to get the message across that we don’t want it here?” said Reiner.
The presentation given by HDR Engineering Smart Mobility Program Manager Jim Hanson detailed what a mobility hub might look like and the potential options of where it could be, with many amenities like Amazon Lockers, a pick up and drop off zone, and additional parking raised as ideas.
A large group of people who did not want the mobility hub in Incline Village opted out of voting for what kind of amenities they would like to see, and during the middle of the meeting, the crowd raised signs that read “NO OES MOBILITY HUB.”
The next steps moving forward include a draft a mobility hub plan being created this summer by HDR Engineering and TTD, followed by a second public workshop. The final plan will be presented in the fall.
There is currently a survey up to determine what the community would like to see in a potential mobility hub, along with multiple ways to input public comment prior to final decision being made.
To learn more and take the survey visit inclinevillagemobilityhub.org.
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