My Turn: Kings Beach isnt L.A. ditch the 4-lane highway
I was around nine years old when I decided that I wanted to live at Tahoe. It only took another 50 years for it to happen. I was fortunate to spend a lot of time in the Tahoe Basin during my growing-up years. When I got married in the late 60s, it was up the road in Incline Village. On our first anniversary, we made our first venture into real estate by buying a parcel in Incline Village. Years later, we purchased a three-bedroom house in Kings Beach. Yeah, I got my Tahoe home, but it was another 25 years before I got to live there. The house was always on a long-term rental or lease, so I could only wave to it from the street.Roger Kahn (Sierra Sun Decisionmakers, July 9, 2007) defined a local as anybody whos got the right spirit. It has nothing to do with how long youve lived here. I think Rogers right on target theres a lot of us that always had the right spirit, dreamed about living here but it took a lot of years for it to become fact. Weve had to pay our dues first, along with our property taxes. So it was years that I dreamed of the lake while staring out over the steering wheel at the Bayshore and Nimitz freeways in the Bay Area, then on the San Diego and Riverside freeways in Southern California. Id watch the sun come up and go down in the cars rear view mirror. When I hear complaints about North Tahoe traffic, Ive got to chuckle. Traffic is when youve been stuck on the freeway for a solid two hours, had too much coffee and need to go to the restroom. Traffic is when youre spending 10-12 hours weekly on the freeway system, and more time with your carpool than your family. Yes, Tahoe has traffic maybe four to six weeks out of the year.Ive occasionally seen some out-of-luck soul cross eight lanes of traffic on a Southern California freeway. They would run for their lives. This is my second summer living in Kings Beach, and Ive observed things are not so different from Southern California. If youre a pedestrian, you take your life in your hands on Highway 28. Stop lights, crosswalks and speed limit signs are routinely ignored, not only by visitors but by the local motorists. (Doesnt anyone think that no one notices their localized license plates and business signs on the door panels?) Somehow, those drivers are not exhibiting the right spirit when they want to get from the Tahoe Vista border to the Brockway hill fast, without hitting the brakes. And why on earth does Kings Beach have the only four lanes of highway on the North Shore? Because it took so long to become a local resident, I felt privileged when I could attend the Commercial Core Improvement Project Meetings in May to support my Kings Beach community. The Placer County public works folks have worked very hard on this project, and have done an outstanding job. The Sierra Business Council did a great job of facilitating the meetings. The May sessions were organized and enlightening, and the support was strongly there. The consensus was clearly three to one for the three-lane alternative with roundabouts to achieve the goals for better lake clarity and pedestrian safety. For some of us locals, it took many long years slugging it out on the states freeway systems to achieve the privilege of living here. Weve got the right spirit and support the changes and improvements that were proposed in Mays community meetings and consensus opinion. Its unconscionable that anyone who lives or works in Kings Beach would want to support the status quo and keep the four-lane, Highway 28 a mini-version of an LA freeway, with the accompanying unacceptable rate of pedestrian injuries. Megan Chillemi is a retired technical communications editorliving in Kings Beach.