Future funding needed to meet demand for bicycle trails at Lake Tahoe

With demographics pointing to a growing nationwide trend in recreational bicycling, Lake Tahoe has experienced a significant visitor demand for more trails and better access.

The demands for safe on and off road biking are higher than ever.

Market studies show that approximately 188,000 visitors are coming to like Tahoe annually for the primary purpose of cycling. Whether its weekend family-oriented rides or large-scale events such as Tour De Tahoe or America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, the growth in the sport continues to rise.

It is estimated that the amount of money being spent at Lake Tahoe by visitors is about $23 million annually. Of that, it is believed that at least $6 million a year is being spent at Lake Tahoe by people who are visiting with the direct and primary purpose to bicycle.

In 2011 the Tahoe Transportation District held a public scoping meeting to address the demands for bicycling at Lake Tahoe and to pave the way for improvements. It has subsequently developed plans for an on and off-road, safe and integrated transportation system for the Tahoe basin that aims to provide safe and easy access to bike trails in the region.

To do this the TTD participates at the federal, state and local levels by working with government agencies, communities and individuals to facilitate transportation improvement projects.

The initial “demonstration” phase of the Nevada Stateline to Stateline Bikeway Project, which will ultimately span 30-plus miles from Lake Tahoe’s South Shore to East and North Shore, began in 2012. The plan is part of an overall goal, called “America’s Most Beautiful Bikeway” that would connect segments and add 162 miles of new trail across the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The first mile of the demonstration phase, which included construction of a bridge, was completed on time and under budget in October 2012. It spans from Kahle Drive to Elks Point Road at Nevada Beach. A second mile that will extend from Round Hill Pines Beach will commence this summer. The Tahoe Transportation District will move forward this spring to finish the section of South Shore trail and begin stage work to connect Incline Village to south of Sand Harbor and have both sections intersect.

The need for support and funding to continue the overall vision of America’s Most Beautiful Bikeway is ongoing.

Faced with a demand for more pedestrian and recreation bicycle trails and tasked to reduce erosion, particulates, auto emission and traffic congestion, momentum to continue is firmly rooted. The trails will combine exclusive bicycle and pedestrian paths, off-street right of way, striped bicycle lanes and shared-use roadway signs.

Bike trails provide:

  • More recreation options for residents and visitors
  • A network of safe, convenient, and environmentally friendly modes of transportation
  • Huge economic benefits to the region from visitors

With the Nevada Legislature now in session, the TTD is asking for the public to voice their support to build a better bike trail system for Lake Tahoe. Contact your legislator now and during the session of the Nevada Legislature.

For details and questions pertaining to the Tahoe Transportation District and its current projects, visit their website.

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