Lake Tahoe transportation plan open to public input

Dylan SilverTahoe Daily Tribune

LAKE TAHOE andamp;#8212; The Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization, charged with creating a 23-year vision for transportation in the Tahoe Basin, wants to hear the public’s ideas and priorities about what moves them and how they’d like to move.andamp;#8220;We definitely want to know what people think of what we’ve proposed so far,andamp;#8221; said Karen Fink, senior planner for TMPO. andamp;#8220;And if they have new ideas we’re looking for those too.andamp;#8221;The agency hosted a meeting two Thursdays ago to allow the public insight into the progressing Tahoe Regional Transportation Plan and to give them a chance to provide input. Forty to 60 people of all ages attended the meeting.andamp;#8220;We’re looking for what are the community needs,andamp;#8221; said Nick Haven, another transportation planner for TMPO. andamp;#8220;It’s their transportation system.andamp;#8221;To gather public input, TMPO used two methods. The first and simplest was to provide large cardboard diagrams of their proposed projects that had space for people to post sticky notes with suggestions and ideas. By the end of the meeting, dozens of sticky notes covered the comment section of the boards.andamp;#8220;Set up a andamp;#8216;free bikes’ center where people can donate old bikes, parts and time to educate people interested in learning,andamp;#8221; read one note.The second method was an online interactive software system called After registering with the website, users could scroll a map of the basin with all the proposed TMPO projects laid out. They could comment on the existing plans or add their own ideas.One online suggestion called for a solar-powered ferry from the South Shore to the North Shore.Another note suggested a 45-mile tram from Truckee to Tahoe City, and included a colorful drawing of the idea. Users can even vote on ideas and sort by most popular.andamp;#8220;They can see where their comment is going,andamp;#8221; said Haven. andamp;#8220;They’re not on a sticky note that could be lost.andamp;#8221;Attendees of the meeting seemed to lavish in the idea they could guide or at least inform the vision for transportation in the region.andamp;#8220;We should care about where we live,andamp;#8221; said Willow Nelson, a South Tahoe High School student, who attended the meeting with other members of her social studies class.andamp;#8220;It involves the environment that they live in,andamp;#8221; said Nelson’s teacher Jamie Greenough. andamp;#8220;It’s more important for them than for me.andamp;#8221;Public input will be allowed for another month through A draft of the regional transportation plan will be ready for public comment in March 2012.Attendance at the meeting was noted by several officials.andamp;#8220;This is a great turnout,andamp;#8221; said Peter Eichar, an environmental planner with the California Tahoe Conservancy. andamp;#8220;Apparently, the days of old with three people attending a public meeting are over.andamp;#8221;But South Lake Tahoe resident Ralph Wenziger would’ve liked to see more people participating in the public process.andamp;#8220;I’m really happy we can provide our input,andamp;#8221; Wenziger said. andamp;#8220;It’s our community. We make it what it is. The only way we can change it is to participate.andamp;#8221;

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