IVGID GM’s Corner: Looking to ease beach crowds for July 4 weekend | SierraSun.com

IVGID GM’s Corner: Looking to ease beach crowds for July 4 weekend

Steve Pinkerton
Special to the Bonanza

Steve Pinkerton

The Fourth of July is only a little over a week away. Here at IVGID, we are working overtime to ensure as good an experience as possible at all of our venues on the July 4 weekend and throughout the rest of the summer.

One of our new features this year is the IVGID Community Shuttle, which makes its debut this Saturday, June 27. It will run every Saturday and Sunday through August 16, and on Friday, July 3, as well.

With beach parking at a premium every weekend, particularly on the 4th, the shuttle provides a convenient alternative for accessing our waterfront facilities.

The shuttle will run between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. every weekend, with extended hours on the 3rd and 4th of July. It will have two routes, both of which will bring passengers to Incline Beach and Burnt Cedar beaches.

“Overall, beach visits for last summer were 177,504. This was an increase of nearly 6 percent from 2013.”

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The shuttle will stop on an hourly basis at each route location, except between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. every day it operates.

The North Route starts on Ski Way, just east of Country Club, then makes it way to the Diamond Peak overflow lot across from the Big Water Grille, and over to the Chateau, Incline High School and Raley's before stopping at Burnt Cedar and Incline beaches.

The South Route starts by the Parkside Inn on Tahoe Boulevard, then heads down to Lakeshore Drive at Pinecone, before stopping at the Recreation Center, Creekside East Condos on Southwood, and continuing on to Preston Field, Burnt Cedar Beach and Incline Beach.

The Community Shuttle is free to the public; ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Shuttle riders must have IVGID pass-holder beach access privileges for stops at Burnt Cedar, Incline, and Ski beaches.

ALLEVIATING PARKING DEMAND

The shuttle itself is a 21-passenger, ADA-compliant mini-bus chartered by IVGID, with a second bus running on July 3-4. Visit tinyurl.com/olefcqe for a map of the shuttle route and times.

We've added the shuttle to our summer services on a trial basis. Beach parking typically fills up by 11 a.m. on most summer weekends.

Many residents have expressed a desire for us to improve transportation access to the beach during these busy times. Adding parking isn't a feasible option. There is no land available nearby to expand our current supply.

Building structured parking would be prohibitively expensive and create negative visual impacts to the surrounding area.

The shuttle is a much more cost effective option than expanding the supply of parking adjacent to the beaches. The total annual cost of the shuttle will be about $16,000 — which is about 1 percent of the total annual budget for the beaches.

The cost of adding a parking structure at either beach location would cost at least $50,000 per space. Thus, adding 100 parking spaces would cost a minimum of $5 million!

We believe the Community Shuttle could prove to be a far most cost-effective way of alleviating parking demand at the beach.

We chose the operating dates for the shuttle to coincide with the dates where we experienced the most parking demand last summer. We will continue to closely monitor parking demand this summer as well.

By the numbers

Overall, beach visits for last summer were 177,504. This was an increase of nearly 6 percent from 2013. Most of the increase was due to above average temperatures for both the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

For the balance of the season, attendance numbers were nearly identical for 2013 and 2014.

The percentage of the visits by owners increased slightly from 56.3 percent to 57.0 percent. This is primarily due to the increase in Memorial Day and Labor Day visits, which traditionally have a higher percentage of owner visits than during peak season. This is especially true in May, where over 70 percent of the visits are owners.

Typical weekend attendance in June ranged from 1,000-1,500 visits per day. June weekdays were around 500-750 total visits each day. From late June to Mid-August, weekend attendance ranged 2,000-3,000 per day, with about half of that amount on weekdays.

As you would expect, the 3rd, 4th and 5th of July were the three highest attended days, with visits of 3,723, 11,178 and 4,771 respectively. Four other days during peak season saw total attendance in excess of 3,000.

Given that the 4th is on a Saturday this year, we are planning for even bigger crowds than last year. I hope all of you will experience a great Fourth of July weekend!

Please visit yourtahoeplace.com/ivgid/fourthofjuly for information regarding IVGID Picture Passes, Punch Cards, and cash transactions at the beaches on Fourth of July weekend.

"GM's Corner" is a recurring column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters.