My Turn: Reconsidering Kings Beach’s future
Two weeks ago the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board of Governors made an extremely bad decision that could change the future of Lake Tahoe.
The TRPA board voted 7-6 to reject the proposed three-lane redesign of Kings Beach’s “Main Street,” State Highway 28.
The rejection of the three-lane alternative was an ill-conceived decision led by Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz and California gubernatorial appointee Tim Leslie. The decision does not respect the will of the people and does not contribute to meeting the future needs of Lake Tahoe and its residents.
This decision should be reconsidered and reversed by the TRPA Board for the good of the region and the citizens of Kings Beach.
The proposed pedestrian-friendly, three-lane alternative was the product of 11 years of public process. It was preferred by thousands of Tahoe residents and recommended by numerous public agencies, the vast majority of street-front businesses, the Placer County Planning Commission and TRPA’s own Advisory Planning Commission.
The three-lane alternative provides for plenty of on-street parking, reduced pollution running into the lake, safer pedestrian crossings where there have been numerous fatalities and critical injuries, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead, the TRPA Governing Board rejected the recommendation of the Placer County Department of Public Works and appears headed toward a five-lane alternative that will mean more stoplights, smog and danger for pedestrians, bicyclists and recreational users for another generation.
Sierra Business Council conducted an extensive effort to engage the public in this process. The process was fair, inclusive and informative. The process included more than 70 stakeholder interviews with community members, local business people, and federal and state agencies. Four workshops were conducted as part of this process, attended by more than 700 people.
The result of our outreach effort was consistent with every other effort conducted over the last several years. The overwhelming super-majority of the public, businesses and the potential investors in the community, when exposed to the information and the rational choices to be made, prefer the three-lane alternative.
We are calling on the TRPA Board of Governors to step back, take a breath and find a solution.
One concern identified at the TRPA board meeting and a major reason some TRPA board members voted no on the three-lane alternative was the potential for traffic impacting the backstreets of the Kings Beach neighborhood. This potential impact can easily be mitigated with an appropriate traffic-calming plan.
The community of Kings Beach deserves a real “Main Street.” It is not too late to reverse this decision and adopt the three-lane alternative. A motion to rehear the decision will be considered by the TRPA Governing Board on July 23. It is not too late for Bruce Kranz, Tim Leslie and the other Governing Board members to do the right thing and create the solution.
It takes real leaders to step up and heal the community. That is what the TRPA board should do. We know they can be real leaders who respond to the needs of the communities they represent. Roll up your sleeves and come up with the creative solution.
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If Israel and the United Kingdom are any indication, widespread vaccination will knock the pandemic down to … normal life. Something near.