Readers write: Work together to make KB fabulous
The environmental impact study for the Kings Beach Commercial Core project had some conceptual design errors right from the beginning and it really only addressed a two-lane road with roundabouts.
When the report was conceived the project authors (not the report writers) were fairly certain that the project of choice would be the “cute main street two-lane with roundabout” version, so they didn’t adequately study any other possibilities.
They did the “no project” alternative as required by state and federal laws. They also included a four-lane plan with few allowances for landscaping and traffic calming. For whatever reason they did not include a two-lane project without roundabouts.
This is where they did the entire community a grave injustice.
If such a project had been included in the EIR/EIS design I believe we might have come away from Thursday’s Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board meeting with a different outcome and a project that would have pleased most of the people to some degree or other.
Although repeatedly compared to the Tahoe City project the major difference between Kings Beach and Tahoe City is that Tahoe City has no roundabouts and although traffic backs up occasionally there is a center lane for turns and emergencies that can be used as a “tidal lane” to relieve traffic pressures in either direction.
We see this in the winter when it becomes a second lane through town after Squaw and Alpine let out for the day. This is a costly alternative in terms of traffic control, it is an alternative that was not available in the Kings Beach version of the project.
I believe that many people objected to the roundabouts, objected to the lack of parking for businesses on the highway and objected to the lack of consideration for pedestrians on the back streets far more than they objected to the two-lane road. A plan with two lanes and no roundabouts would have satisfied many more people who objected to Alternative 4 (the two-lane choice) and might have given us a project that we could go to work on immediately.
However, because this was never offered the only way to get a project with this configuration would be to have another EIR study done and nobody really wants to spend the extra money, so we have a four-lane project instead.
As I listened to the Board of Governor’s I heard each and every one of them offer serious concerns over the traffic issues inherent to Alternative 4 but few were willing to wait for the 12-24 months for the county to provide an alternative, so now we get four lanes and I hope there is enough leeway in the EIR to allow the traffic calming methods and landscaping ideas that we would love to see included.
If not, we really only have those who assumed that they could manipulate and bend the will of the people to their own way of thinking to blame for the current situation.
Now it is time to move forward, agree to disagree and work together to make Kings Beach fabulous.