Tahoe City’s $7 million bus depot project under way; officials address tree-clearing concerns | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City’s $7 million bus depot project under way; officials address tree-clearing concerns

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Placer County and environmental planning officials are speaking out to quell resident concerns about tree cutting and other construction work that recently began on a new bus depot off Highway 89.

Peter Kraatz, Placer County public works deputy director, said since construction began for the Tahoe City transit center at the 64-acre recreational park located off Highway 89, some residents have complained about the amount of trees being cleared for the 2.5-acre, $7 million facility and its 130 parking spaces.

and#8220;What you are seeing out there is the footprint for the bus depot,and#8221; Kraatz said and#8220;A lot of the folks are surprised about whatand#8217;s going on out there because the planning and implementation process has been so long.and#8221;

However, Kraatz said construction crews will limit tree cutting whenever possible, and they will extract trees for replanting at other sites.

In a Sierra Sun My Turn column last week, Homewood resident Thomas Kohlberg questioned Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agencyand#8217;s reasoning for the costs and effectiveness of the transit center.

and#8220;Here we are in the middle of a great depression, and bureaucrats think itand#8217;s a good plan to spend $10 million on a new bus station, in the middle of a nature preserve, for buses that run day and night empty, spewing forth oil and soot because theyand#8217;re old and not well-maintained …and#8221; Kohlberg wrote.

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According to Placer County, the project carries a $7-million price tag.

Dennis Oliver, spokesman for TRPA, said the project meets agency standards, and despite concerns by residents, the depot will improve lake clarity and the environment.

and#8220;What happens is with public works type projects, basically, if you donand#8217;t fix the roads people will complain about the pot holes, and if you do fix the roads people will complain about the construction,and#8221; Oliver said. and#8220;A few trees coming out is a worthy tradeoff.and#8221;

Heralding the transit center as an environmental necessity, Oliver said the facility will be a significant part of the many transportation improvements around the basin and#8212; such as bike networks, the Kings Beach Commercial Core project and transit-oriented redevelopment.

and#8220;This transit center is an integral piece to public transportation in Tahoe,and#8221; Oliver said.

Kraatz said because of a late start this summer, construction will most likely extend beyond Oct. 15, when ground work will be completed, and finish sometime in January 2011.

Kraatz said features at the transit center include parking for up to six buses, bike lockers, benches, enclosed office space, public bathrooms and an GPS bus tracking displayed on flat screens and accessible by iPhones and laptop computers.