My Turn: Showdown time at TRPA on Kings Beach highway project
I urge Incline and Crystal Bay citizens to oppose a highly controversial project that is back for reconsideration at the TRPA Governing Board at the Chateau on Wednesday, Jan. 27. This Kings Beach Commercial Core Project was previously denied in 2008, because it includes a and#8220;Three-Lane Alternative,and#8221; which would narrow about one mile of highway from four traffic lanes to two, plus a center turn lane. This turn lane would be interrupted by two one-lane roundabouts that will be only about 25 car lengths apart. Pedestrians would stop traffic at-will, by crossing the highway at these roundabouts.
Based on the 2008 TRPA record and subsequent new information I believe that the three-lane plan will greatly increase danger to human life in the event of fire, greatly increase traffic congestion and greatly impair emergency services.
I urge citizens to attend this meeting in opposition, to contact their local fire board and chief about this matter and to ask TRPA board members, in California as well as Nevada, to vote and#8220;noand#8221; on this proposal. I believe North Tahoe residents in both California and Nevada will be especially at risk if the three-lane alternative is approved.
In 2008 I was a Washoe County Commissioner and TRPA Governing Board member. In that year I voted and#8220;noand#8221; on the project (which was denied) and and#8220;noand#8221; on a subsequent motion (which passed) to allow reconsideration at some later date.
I am presently even more strongly opposed to this project because in my opinion, human lives are at stake here and#8212; particularly in the event of a major fire near Kings Beach during the overcrowded summer months. In such a situation try to imagine how fire and other emergency vehicles might be unable to navigate the already jammed highway and the possibly blocked one-lane traffic circles. Imagine trying to evacuate residents from narrow residential streets already packed full with cut-through vehicle traffic. Imagine how difficult it will be to get assistance from other communities if, as identified by our Washoe County Sheriff, traffic could be backed up on SR 28 all the way through the Mt. Rose intersection.
There is a better alternative to this road narrowing that would still allow the rest of Kings Beach commercial core project to proceed. This is the and#8220;improved four-lane alternativeand#8221; that was identified in the EIS but which has never been supported by Placer County officials. In fact, Placer County has been so locked into its preferred three-lane alternative that its board of supervisors even removed its own supervisor, Bruce Kranz, from the TRPA Board after he voted against the project in 2008. In my opinion this is not the way TRPA is supposed to work. As I see it, Bruce did his job and voted and#8220;noand#8221; based on the project impacts on the lake as a whole. Bruce was a champion for reducing the risks of catastrophic fire in the Lake Tahoe Basin. That goal was officially adopted as the TRPA’s top priority in 2008.
and#8212; Jim Galloway was the Washoe County Commissioner for District 1, which includes Incline Village and Crystal Bay from 1997 through 2008. During that entire time Jim was also a TRPA Governing Board Member.