My Turn: Kings Beach plan more than moving traffic through town
I am a Kings Beach resident and would like to provide my comments regarding the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project. I have regularly attended the meetings regarding this project for the past seven years because I believe Kings Beach has so much potential. I regularly walk, bike, and drive through this town, and currently all three activities are not pleasant. I support a hybrid of alternatives 4 and 2 for many reasons.The four-lane road with traffic lights is not only aesthetically unappealing, it also enables drivers to speed, pass, and make frequent lane changes. The traffic lights encourage drivers to accelerate when they have a green light while creating a noisy and unpleasant stop-and-go driving pattern. When this traffic pattern is combined with pedestrians crossing the enormous distance across the four-lane highway, the experience for both drivers and pedestrians becomes dangerous.This project is about more than moving as much traffic through town as possible during the few busy days each summer while a four-lane highway with stop-lights can move the most cars, the three-lane alternatives with roundabouts provide the greatest environmental, economic, and social benefits for many reasons. Environmentally, three-lanes are the best alternative. Wider sidewalks next to slow, steady traffic will create a more pleasing walking experience. This will encourage visitors and residents to leave their cars and walk rather than drive to the various destinations in town. The walking experience is more enjoyable on sidewalks next to a slow and steady traffic flow rather than four-lanes of noisy, accelerating traffic. In addition to the environmental benefits of less driving, a steady flow of traffic without unattractive stoplights and stop-and-go traffic patterns are more appropriate for the scenic shores of Lake Tahoe, especially during the 300-plus days each year when traffic is not a significant issue in Kings Beach.Three-lanes will be safer, providing pedestrians with a shorter distance to walk across the road while slowing down traffic. The four-lane road enables drivers to focus on passing other cars rather than yielding to pedestrians.As a resident, I have personal experience with the difficulty of crossing the four-lanes, I have witnessed three people get hit by cars in Kings Beach, and I am aware of several fatalities occurring within the crosswalks.A three-lane road with on street parking in some areas and wide sidewalks in other areas will provide the best economic and social benefits for the town. Wider sidewalks will enable more attractions such as vendors, exhibits, and outside dining. Such activities are more appealing next to a three-lane road rather than a four-lane highway. The three-lanes also would provide a pleasant driving experience through Kings Beach more of a progression that would encourage drivers to pay more attention to what is happening in the town rather than accelerate through it.As you know, there are many issues to consider, more than I wish to bring up in this note. I wish to express my support for the numerous organizations that have endorsed the three-lane alternatives. I believe the vast majority of informed Kings Beach residents are in favor of three-lanes. I wish to also express my disapproval of the Kings Beach Business and Citizens Alliance’s attempts to use scare tactics and misinformation to collect signatures for their petition in favor of the four-lane highway. The Sierra Business Council workshops were advertised, open, and public. Although not every community member attended, I believe the conclusion that was reached is representative of the opinions of residents who are familiar with this project and the many issues beyond traffic flow it can address.Please help us make Kings Beach a walkable community by supporting a three-lane alternative. Rick Papaleo is a Kings Beach resident.
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