My Turn: Lets not put our heads in the snow
The recent heavy snowfall has challenged us both personally and publicly. Because of the ongoing difference of opinion on the Kings Beach road configuration, I would like to offer the following observations from this last storm.As done in the past, the plowed roadway snow in the Kings Beach commercial core was primarily piled in the center and on sides of the road, reducing the roadway to a single lane each way, until removal when the weather clears. However, pedestrians could safely cross the road at the traffic signals.In Tahoe City, where there are only three lanes, the snow was plowed towards the sidewalks. A large part of the on-street parking was eliminated, as well as use of the sidewalks. Pedestrian crossing markings were obliterated by the snow on the road, and crossing was hazardous.While in Truckee on personal business, I had needed to use all four roundabouts. The snow piled on all sides and the center of these severely obstructed views of vehicles in, and entering, the roundabouts. From my SUV, I could not see automobiles until I was in the circle, not a safe approach. Again, pedestrian crossing markings were not visible. On the roundabouts where there is no provision for pedestrian crossings, the snow was piled so high as to make it extremely dangerous to those foolish enough and they exist, to cross the roadway.Also, I could not see how large vehicles fire trucks, commercial trucks, tow trucks, etc. could negotiate the single-lane roundabouts without climbing up on the piled snow in the circle, and possibly resulting in further problems.I personally consider the described situations as dangerous for both vehicles and pedestrians. It is much safer for pedestrians to cross at traffic signals on a straight road with its inherent better visibility. Some will say that this snowfall was not the norm, and fortunately this is true, however, the described situation also occurs at lesser weather conditions. Ignoring this is putting ones head in the sand, or snow, in this case and ignoring serious road design criteria.Placer County Department of Public Works take note and consider several months of winter driving as well as summer in the design of the Kings Beach roadway. To paraphrase a famous quote, those who do not learn from past mistakes, are bound to repeat them.Jerry Wotel is a Tahoe Vista resident.
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