My Turn: Avoiding gridlock in traffic and politics
July 10, 2008
Recently, I voted against spending $45 million to make traffic worse in Kings Beach in Tahoe. I do not believe we need more traffic gridlock in the Tahoe region or anywhere in Placer County.
Some are very unhappy about this vote, focusing their entire effort against me in a letter-writing campaign. Many of the letters are organized, word for word.—-
The recent decision of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency about how to fix traffic problems in Kings Beach ended with a divided community. From the beginning I supported this very lengthy public process hoping that somehow a consensus would occur. It did not.——–
It is not true, as the many nearly identical letters in the Sierra Sun insinuate, that I was the sole person responsible for defeating the three-lane alternative. The TRPA Governing Board voted 7-6 against the three-lane alternative. I made my decision, one out of seven, after listening for several years and reading the very thick environmental impact statement and environmental impact report. –
I learned, among other things, that the three-lane option could divert as many as 10,000 cars to the back-street grid, in an effort to bypass an additional delay of 8-10 minutes on the main road. I cannot, in good conscience, allow this to happen.
These back-roads are residential neighborhoods where scores of children play in the streets every day. They have no sidewalks and are very narrow.
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I support the four-lane alternative because it causes no additional harm to our traffic problems, yet provides all of the environmental benefits to lake water quality.
Traffic experts at Caltrans, our elected representative state Sen. Dave Cox and former state Sen. Tim Leslie all favor the four-lane option. After last Wednesday’s vote, it now appears that the majority of the TRPA Governing Board would look favorably on the four-lane option.-
After years of conflict, the decision is now finally before us. I am urging the staff of the County of Placer to move ahead on the four-lane option immediately to fix the long-endured traffic problems of Kings Beach.
Some have asked whether I believe this will have an impact on my re-election. As I told the Sierra Sun recently, “I didn’t do it to affect whether or not I’m reelected ” whether it helped or hurt I’m elected to do what’s right. I’m supposed to make decisions that are good for the community and that’s what I did.” –
Ironically, my opponent, Jennifer Montgomery, not only favors the three-lane alternative, but also the developers in Kings Beach who want gridlock. She and the developers are now opposing the TRPA Governing Board vote, the Caltrans superior alternative, and Sen. Dave Cox and Tim Leslie.
I was elected to represent all of the people, not the most vocal special-interest group. I voted against gridlock on our roads and in our government. I will not shrink from making the tough decisions that are my job as your supervisor and your elected representative.
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