Kings Beach group startspetition for a safer town | SierraSun.com

Kings Beach group startspetition for a safer town

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunTammy Widdis signs the petition for more crosswalks and pedestrian safety in Kings Beach. The petition is inside Java Hut in Kings Beach.

A group of Kings Beach residents hope to implement their ideas on making their town safe for pedestrians by this summer, prompting a petition to sway Caltrans.

“I think the number one concern in the community is pedestrian safety and slowing traffic down, so the petition is there to show there is community support,” said Pam Jahnke, executive director of the North Tahoe Business Association and a member of the North Tahoe Neighborhood Coalition, which prompted the petition. “It is about doing something now.”

The petition, which can currently be found at the Java Hut in Kings Beach and online, asks whether new crosswalks should be added at the intersections of Deer Street and Highway 28 and at Secline Street and Highway 28; if curb extensions should be created at every crosswalk on Highway 28 from Highway 267 to Chipmunk; and if a crosswalk flag program should be implemented in Kings Beach.

Signers have the option of voting for their favorite solution or writing “ALL” to show support for all three options.

Kings Beach resident Julie Duvivier, who signed the petition online, said she preferred the first two options.

“I don’t agree with [option] three,” Duvivier said of the flag program. “We live in Kings Beach. People will steal flags.”

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Members of the North Tahoe Neighborhood Coalition have suggested using bright-colored flags at certain intersections in Kings Beach that pedestrians would hold up while crossing the street to alert drivers they are there. The flags would be in buckets on either end of the crosswalk.

Jim Brake, who handles safety concerns for Caltrans, has said the flag idea was implemented in Kings Beach 20 years ago, but was unsuccessful because children paid more attention to the pink flags flapping in the wind than to the traffic. Brake said if the flags had reflective tape and were sturdier, then the idea could work. He said there could be a trial period to see if the concept could be effective in Kings Beach.

There have been four serious accidents in Kings Beach involving pedestrians and cars since 2004, according to CHP Officer Steve Skeen. All of the accidents occurred after 6 p.m., he said. Three of the incidents were at Highway 28 and Fox Street, and another at Highway 28 and Bear Street. One of the accidents was fatal.

Although the Placer County Public Works Department is currently moving ahead with the Kings Beach commercial core improvement project, which would add sidewalks and possibly roundabouts on Highway 28 in the town, Jahnke said the coalition’s suggestions are not part of that plan.

Jahnke said the coalition would like to have 1,000 signatures gathered within a month to show Caltrans support exists for the ideas so permits can be obtained for the summer. As of Monday afternoon, 48 people had signed the online petition and nearly 20 people had signed the one at Java Hut.

“I signed it because I think it is something that needs to be taken care of,” said Tahoe Vista resident and Java Hut employee Alanna Spencer. “I am always walking around and trying to cross the street. People speed past here all the time.”