Readers write | SierraSun.com

Readers write

Regarding the recent “opinion” regarding the Donner Lake portion of the proposed bike path (“Stop playing games and build Donner Pass Road bike lanes” Sierra Sun Aug. 10), perhaps some clarification and balance is needed. The initial cost of this project went from roughly $1.5 million to $6 million last year, after preliminary engineering reviews were completed. There were three public meetings where the plans were reviewed and input was taken from “stakeholders” in attendance, who contributed in identifying needs along the road, not opposition. The Town Council charged the Public Works Department to come up with a plan that did not significantly reduce public parking along the road. Adding a four-foot bike lane on each side of the narrow road, addressing significant hillside drainage and ongoing shoreline erosion, did eliminate some of the public parking. Those issues, along with the escalated costs and higher town priorities caused pause to the project, not the Donner Lake residents. Many times Donner Lake residents have publicly encouraged a bike lane, traffic calming, and a safer thoroughfare in this residential neighborhood.Most of the parking on the public portion of the road is done by visitors to the lake, including Truckee residents and tourists, and not Donner Lake residents, as was alluded to. Last year, the road was in fact narrowed for traffic calming and to gain a foot on each side of the road for the proposed bike lanes. The disrepair of many docks and their access is a safety problem that needs to be addressed by the Park District, who receive public funds and are charged to safely maintain these structures. When decisions are made regarding the spending of any town funds, issues that serve the greater public will most likely prevail. What is important is to fairly review the issues and to cease the “bashing” and “scapegoat” activity that seems to be escalating toward Donner Lake Residents and second homeowners, which serves no constructive purpose, doesn’t encourage community cooperation, and reflects poorly on our town.Emilie KashtanDonner Lake residentBike lanes: Why waste the money?In a My Turn guest column last week (“Stop playing games and build Donner Pass Road bike lanes” Sierra Sun Aug. 10), the writer argues for immediate addition of bike lanes to Donner Pass Road. I won’t comment on his “conspiracy theory” about why the lanes have not yet been built. I do, however, question why we should spend scarce public funds to create such lanes when many bikers refuse to use them anyway. As I understand the concept, bike lanes are provided for two principal purposes. First, to provide a safe place along the road where bikers can expect to ride without interference from vehicles and, second, to provide a place for bikes to use so that vehicles can safely pass bikes on busy roads. Neither of these purposes is fulfilled when bikers refuse to use the designated bike lanes. We recently spent public funds to create wide, well marked bike lanes on Northwoods Boulevard in Tahoe Donner. My first morning experience driving with the new lanes involved slowly following a rude biker who refused to use the bike lanes as he rode down Northwoods in the vehicle lane. This is all too common and usually involves an apparently experienced biker dressed in full “professional” biking apparel who refuses to move over to allow vehicles to easily pass. It often involves multiple bikers riding side-by-side blocking traffic. If bikers want safe passage they have to reciprocate and willingly “share the road” with vehicles, not arrogantly exercise their “right” to impede vehicle traffic. If bike lanes are provided their use should be mandatory, otherwise they just serve to increase biker-vehicle confrontations.Just my two cents.W.O. WardTahoe DonnerStill the ‘Sierra’ Club?It’s sad, but not surprising, that current “Sierra” Club leadership is angling to close out its involvement in Clair Tappaan Lodge and other traditional Sierra Nevada activities.In the last few years the club has devoted increasing resources to issues that have little to do with environmental problems in its own backyard, such as free trade. It has even abandoned the lead on the renascent movement to reclaim Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy valley, once a defining club issue, to other groups.This is probably due to an influx of leftist members and financial support from leftist groups for whom the environment is just another gig to bash big corporations and for whom any focus, especially recreational, on its Sierra Nevada backyard is just an annoying distraction.Not that I find anything wrong with bashing big corporations. Organizations do change over time. But if the “Sierra” Club is going to continue claiming a heritage descended from John Muir, Norman Clyde, Ansel Adams, David Brower, etc. it should continue supporting the activities they founded, or consider a name change. How’s about “People for the Green, Anti-Corporate Way”?John Reece Truckee