Lane change: Caltrans proposes alteration through eastern Tahoe Vista
TAHOE VISTA, Calif. andamp;#8212; In finishing the last phase of a multi-year construction project designed to improve Highway 28 on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, Caltrans is proposing to reduce the number of lanes in the curvy half-mile portion between National Avenue and Lanzaandamp;#8217;s Italian Restaurant.The three-lane configuration would include two through lanes with a continuous median turn lane, running west from Beach Street, which is located just west of Lanzaandamp;#8217;s and Safeway, to the traffic light-controlled National Avenue intersection.Jim Brake, principal engineer with Caltrans, said the reconfiguration will benefit tourists and residents by making parking available on the lake side of the highway while allowing for bicycle lanes and increasing safety for pedestrians crossing the road in the area.One drawback of the proposal is that traffic crowding may occur during peak visitation months, Brake said.andamp;#8220;There could be some congestion during July and August,andamp;#8221; he said.Nevertheless, Caltrans officials feel the three-lane model represents the best available choice after submitting an Environmental Impact Review to an outside consulting agency. The EIR proposed keeping the current four-lane configuration while widening the road for the inclusion of bicycle lanes, which would have eliminated on-street parallel parking along Highway 28 through Tahoe Vista.andamp;#8220;We received a lot of complaints from residents who said the elimination of parking would cause a lot of problems,andamp;#8221; Brake said. andamp;#8220;It would cause enforcement problems and residential complaints, and we want to avoid that.andamp;#8221;Thus, Caltrans plans to supplement the EIR with an additional traffic and socioeconomic study specifically tailored to analyze the new three-lane proposal. Brake said residents have initially been more receptive to the amended plan.Bill Wall, a property owner residing in Tahoe Vista, likes the new solution.andamp;#8220;This is a great plan,andamp;#8221; he said. andamp;#8220;It will make the road more scenic, safer for pedestrians andamp;#8212; it will slow traffic and provide more parking.andamp;#8221;The new plan calls for the existing passing lane for westbound traffic, west of National Avenue and prior to the Estates Drive intersection, to still be in place, Brake said; furthermore, the existing four-lane format between State Route 267 and Safeway will remain.Caltrans tentatively plans to carry out the project during summer 2011, once the construction season begins andamp;#8212; contingent on public comment and approval of the supplemental EIR.