Our View: Finding room for farmers and concert-goers in Tahoe City
August 10, 2007
Planners say that traffic in a town or city’s downtown is a positive thing ” it shows people want to be there.
Yet the standstill that extends for miles down Tahoe’s West Shore each summer is hardly anything to be proud of.
There are many culprits that each add a little ” or a lot ” to the problem: The pedestrian signal at Fanny Bridge, too few people riding bikes, the wye and summer tourists. And now, the Farmers’ Market at Commons Beach is being blamed as a contributor to the gridlock.
The answer, say Tahoe Regional Planning Agency officials, is to throw thousands of dollars toward analyzing the market’s contribution to parking and traffic problems, or else the market will be shut down.
We say enough with the studies. The Farmer’s Market, vacation rentals, beaches, campgrounds ” everything going on in Tahoe City is part of the crippling West Shore backup that occurs each year at the height of summer.
Throwing more money toward analyzing an in-your-face problem is going to do little but line some traffic consultant’s pockets.
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Instead, why doesn’t the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency ask that the Farmers’ Market contribute to an actual solution to the problem.
As you’ll read in today’s Sierra Sun, the local transit agency is seeking businesses or organizations to adopt bus shelters, since bus drivers have become so busy with the increasing transit use that they no longer can clean the structure.
Having the Farmers’ Market pay for bus shelter cleaning may not be a magic bullet to solving gridlock, but it may do more than the payment for a traffic study.
Or perhaps a fee from the market could be spent on larger, more tangibles fixes to the issue, like the upcoming Tahoe City transit center, or increased transit routes.
Finally, traffic is bad in Tahoe City and the West Shore during the summer. That is a fact of life and a problem that local governments and agencies will have to continue to tackle.
But stripping the Tahoe City community of the few events that locals and tourists actually attend ” the Farmers’ Market and the Commons Beach Concert Series, which is also doing traffic and parking counts for the TRPA this summer ” is not the answer.
The heavy summer traffic is brought in by summer tourists and second homeowners. We are, and will remain, a tourist destination. But shutting down local events to ease the tourist-driven congestion ” or throwing money at more studies ” is not the right answer.