Readers Write: A better place
July 22, 2008
I live in the Kings Beach grid neighborhood with my husband and two small children. We support the three-lane alternative. Statistics consistently show that roundabouts improve traffic flow and dramatically increase safety. The single lane roundabouts in Truckee serve as local proof. Common sense tells us that the three-lane option with its 20-foot narrower roadway, slower traffic and wider sidewalks will be infinitely more pleasant, aesthetically pleasing and good for business. The three-lane option is also better from an environmental standpoint because it has less paving and reduces emissions from cars idling at stoplights. Since there is not a single other four-lane access highway or roadway in all of North Lake Tahoe, I’m not at all concerned that removing the forth lane of traffic in this one mile stretch will cause any additional gridlock.
However, I’m concerned about the proposed four-lane option because it narrows all of the traffic lanes to a substandard width in order to accommodate a fifth left turn lane. It will also take one to two years longer to build and therefore will unduly burden local businesses. Because the roadway has to be widened and traffic signals must be added for the four-lane option, it requires more grading and electrical infrastructure making it far more costly to build and maintain. The four-lane option doesn’t include traffic-calming measures for the grid neighborhood either. Moreover, the four-lane option doesn’t meet the requirements of the “Complete Street” bill that just passed through the California Legislature. This bill is supported by the governor and will likely pass through the Senate and apply to the project in Kings Beach.
I urge all concerned residents and decision makers to take into the account the natural human tendency to resist new ideas; in this case the three-lane option. Please overcome this fear of unfamiliar things, choose three lanes and allow a small town to become a better place.
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