Tahoe transportation officials mull more crosswalks on West Shore | SierraSun.com

Tahoe transportation officials mull more crosswalks on West Shore

A family crosses Highway 89 in front of the Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge on Friday, Aug. 5.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — If you came to Tahoe to escape big city traffic, you might be surprised, especially during busy summer weekends.

Among the bustle of commuters, visitors, cyclists, pedestrians and construction, it can be difficult getting from point A to point B in a timely and safe manner.

Considering that, the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association is weighing the pros and cons of adding a crosswalk, or two, to Highway 89 in Sunnyside on Tahoe's West Shore.

Placer County's Deputy Director of Engineering for Lake Tahoe, Peter Kraatz, brought up the possibility in the TMA's monthly board meeting at Granlibakken Resort on Aug. 4.

Kraatz said the crosswalk would include lights and signs, if it were to be installed. He added that Placer County has been working with Caltrans on the idea as a talking point — with that, potential time of installation and the cost are currently unknown.

"It's not a matter of when somebody gets run over…" said TMA board member and Squaw-Alpine representative Rob Kronkhyte, who explained that he also works in Sunnyside and has seen first hand how busy it gets. "Maybe it even requires a study."

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The stretch of Highway 89 near Fire Sign Café and the West Shore Market isn't the only location being considered.

Kraatz also mentioned the need for one or more crosswalks near Homewood Mountain Resort, but said he believes that should be the responsibility of the ski area.

"My personal opinion is that crosswalks don't always make things safer," said TMA board member Dan Wilkins, who represents the town of Truckee. "There are a lot of competing studies about that."

Just because the issue has been raised for discussion does not necessarily mean it will happen.

While members of the board acknowledged the need for pedestrian safety measures in Sunnyside, they are only beginning to talk about potential options. At this time, it is unclear whether or not they'll decide that a crosswalk is the best solution.

"If the community in Kings Beach had its way, they'd probably have 15 crosswalks by now," said Kraatz, in reference to the Kings Beach Core Improvement Project that's nearly wrapping work on years of construction to overhaul Highway 28 through town. "But you can't have a crosswalk in front of every business."

Another idea that came up during the meeting was to install a temporary island that could be removed after the busy summer months.

Kraatz said he'd speak with Caltrans about the crosswalk for more information before the next TMA board meeting, set for Sept. 1 from 8-10 a.m. at Granlibakken.

Get involved

The Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association meets on the first Thursday of each month in the Granlibakken Resort Conference Room at 8 a.m.

“It’d be nice to see more of the public at these meetings,” Incline Village representative Kristina Hill said at the Aug. 4 meeting.

Hill said she’d like to see more public participation, so that when ideas like the crosswalk are brought up — or, as was floated at the June TMA meeting, a potential three-lane program on Highway 89 for the 2016-17 winter season in an effort to ease traffic congestion — the board could better discuss it with the public.

Visit laketahoetransit.com for more information on TMA and its board meetings.