Future of South Shore’s Revitalization On The Line

The South Shore of Lake Tahoe is divided by lines. These state, county, and city lines work well on a map, but they do not define the day-to-day reality of the people who live and work in this community. In the last decade we have seen definitive projects reshape South Shore – Heavenly Village, Lakeview Commons, Harrison Avenue Streetscape. We have seen new bike trails and the opening of a bi-state park.

Tahoe Transportation District’s US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project is the next step. It goes well beyond transportation to building the community we want to live and work in, and like the projects before it, it won’t be easy, but things that matter rarely are. The future potential gains are worth it for our residents, businesses, and visitors.

We only need look to the North Shore and the success of Kings Beach, the Incline Gateway, and the construction that will start this summer on both SR89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization and the SR28 National Scenic Byway to see the future. By realigning U.S. Highway 50 from Pioneer Trail in California to Lake Parkway in Nevada behind the casinos on the mountain side, we open the possibility for a “complete street” transformation to include everyone, not only motorists, but pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users.

We open the potential for economic development and business revitalization. We add an avenue to respond to the resident’s housing needs with improved, attractive, affordable, mixed use housing projects to replace the combination of retired housing and business units: 53-97 depending on the chosen alternative.

US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project has suffered at times from the long shadow of failed projects of the past. Many have asked if this project is doomed to repeat the mistakes of its predecessors. The answer is no.

We have learned and listened. Since January 2012, public comment has been garnered through a series of 140 community open houses and workshops, service club presentations, business and community review committees, and eight City Council presentations.

South Shore community members know what they want:

  • A more attractive community to complement the surrounding mountains and lake;
  • Less traffic congestion and environmental impacts — a previous study indicated that 70 percent of the pollutants impacting Lake Tahoe’s clarity come from transportation systems and developed area run-off;
  • Economic improvement and health with opportunities for businesses large and small to flourish;
  • Safer streets and more walking and biking paths;
  • Better and affordable housing for our workforce.

The community also has concerns:

  • The construction will take away businesses and homes that will not be replaced for years;
  • It will cost the city taxpayer revenue and it will disrupt businesses and the community like past project holes;
  • Other areas of the city need attention.

All of these are legitimate concerns, but there are solutions. This project can be done in phases. Right-of-ways can be acquired without tearing down structures. Replacement housing could be completed before the current infrastructure is demolished thus ensuring no lax in property tax revenues for the city and minimal disruption to the community as possible. Do other areas need attention? Yes. This project is just one in a string of projects working to improve South Shore.

From where will the funding for this bold, new South Shore be derived? Federal and state funding will make up the bulk with private sector and some local government funds from Douglas County. We are not looking to the City of South Lake Tahoe to finance this project.

Will everyone support this project? No. In fact, some people would rather put this to a vote. They would abandon the public project process that has directly shaped this plan to date. Others think since the current infrastructure works for them, why do anything at all? Yet, there is a cost to doing nothing. The community can’t afford to paralyze the positive momentum that’s been moving South Lake Tahoe forward these past few years as a more desirable community to live and visit.

The “Nevada versus California,” “big versus small” contention is a non-starter and a red herring. It’s long gone, overplayed, overdone and divisive. This community depends on each other. This project is about the entire South Shore and what locals want in their future. It’s a catalyst and one in a series of transportation enhancements to create a connection system not only for South Lake Tahoe but the Tahoe Basin.

The five alternatives for U.S. Highway 50 are currently undergoing an environmental impact report on the environment, costs, benefits, and concerns. Public comment will be accepted for 60 days after the draft is released. We are going to take the next couple of months to continue to work with the community and business owners to address these concerns.

We welcome the public’s opinions – as we have the past four years. These proactive opinions and suggestions have guided and impacted this project in a positive way.

Examples of the benefits of “complete street” projects like this one can be found across the United States, and in cities and towns comparable to South Lake Tahoe. This is not speculative. This is fact.

Is this going to be hard? Yes. Is this going to be smooth? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely, and with community involvement we can accomplish it.

Be a part of the continued renaissance of South Shore and get involved. Your time will help shape our collective future.

For more information visit: http://www.tahoetransportation.org/us50

Carl Hasty, district manager, Tahoe Transportation District

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Q&A on the US 50 Community Revitalization Project

February 10, 2016 Community Meeting

At a community meeting Wednesday, February 10, the Tahoe Transportation District answered questions about the proposed plan to convert the existing route through the commercial core into a three-lane local street. Residents and business owners were asked to submit their questions to get answered about this project and how it will impact the environment and the economy.

WATCH THE VIDEO and view a list of the questions >

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SR 89 FANNY BRIDGE COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN SUMMER 2016

See “Tahoe In Depth” Summer 2016 Issue by Carl Hasty, District Manager, Tahoe Transportation District

Construction is scheduled to start this summer on Tahoe Transportation District’s SR 89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project in Tahoe City with completion in summer 2017.

The project represents a critical contribution to the future of the region by reducing traffic congestion, improving pedestrian and cyclists’ safety, implementing environmental improvements, and contributing to the city’s overall economic vitality while maintaining its distinctive character. By providing a walkable/bikeable area, TTD is confident residents/visitors will be inspired to get out of their cars and explore the vibrant, prosperous community.

Other enhancements include two safety evacuation routes for west shore residents and North Tahoe Fire Protection District. Long term benefits include less emissions by a reduction in air pollution from vehicles idling in traffic, and less sediment run-off from upgraded storm water treatment.

Set at the intersection of state Routes 89 and 28 at the northwest corner of Lake Tahoe, the project will replace the 87-year old Fanny Bridge, add a new two-lane bridge similar in size over the Truckee River west of Tahoe City, as well as three roundabouts – one at the “Wye” (intersection of state Route 89 and state Route 28) and one at either end of the new alignment.

This summer’s construction phase will build the western and eastern roundabouts and the new Truckee River Bridge. Once opened this will create a new alignment for thru traffic for travelers heading north and south. This alignment is expected to be open summer 2017 as work begins on the second half of the project – the new Fanny Bridge, “Wye” roundabout, and complete street enhancements to the portion of “old 89” that will become a local road.

Funds for the SR 89/Fanny Bridge Project include $30.6 million from the Federal Lands Access Program (awarded 2013), $4.9 million from the California Transportation Commission Active Transportation Program, and $3.7 million from Placer County. The community has been involved in the design phase since the funding was secured.

Information/updates visit www.FannyBridge.org

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US 50/South Shore Community Revitalization Project Community Meeting

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RSVP on Facebook and submit questions to Tracy Franklin by 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 8.

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South Lake Tahoe loop revitalization plan gaining traction with public outreach

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Whether it’s for ski season or summertime recreation, a host of successful tourism destinations in the U.S. have one thing in common — a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown. It’s an area where a number of South Shore transportation officials, tourism promoters and city officials have said that South Lake Tahoe and neighboring Stateline fall woefully short.

That’s the primary focus behind the ongoing Loop Road plan, officially known as the South Shore Community Revitalization Project. The project is being led by Tahoe Transportation District. Read more at Tahoe Daily Tribune

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How Hard Is It To Catch A Bus At Lake Tahoe? That Depends

Yesterday we looked at ways Lake Tahoe jurisdictions are reducing how much road grit is polluting the water. But environmentalists contend the only meaningful way to “Keep Tahoe Blue” is getting people out of their cars altogether. Our reporter Julia Ritchey explores if that’s really feasible. Read more at KUNR.org

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US 50 Community Revitalization Open House

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Tahoe Transportation District seeking lake-wide plan

The Tahoe Transportation District board of directors approved an eight-year vision to complete a transportation system connecting lake-wide communities and Truckee along US 50 at South Shore and 1-80 at Truckee. Read more about this visionary plan at Tahoe Daily Tribune. http://www.tahoedailytribune.com

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What’s new on the US 50 project? Come find out.

US50 Open House Dec 1st

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TRPA Governing Board Unanimously Approved the TTD’s SR89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project

On May 27, 2015 the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board unanimously approved the TTD’s SR89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project.

The project includes constructing a new bridge over the Truckee River just east of the existing Caltrans yard, located on SR 89 coming into Tahoe City from Highway 80; the rebuilding of the existing Fanny Bridge giving it a lifespan to exceed 25 years, resolving the long-term structural and safety issues of the 87-year-old bridge at the Northwest corner of Lake Tahoe.

The Fanny Bridge Revitalization Project will give Tahoe City a new look and safer roadways.

The Fanny Bridge Revitalization Project will give Tahoe City a new look and safer roadways.

Three new roundabouts will aid in alleviating traffic back-ups.

The project will also provide two emergency safety egresses and ingresses to and from the west shore and make multi-modal transportation more safe and efficient in and around the Tahoe City wye.

The existing section of SR 89 along West Lake Blvd. between Fanny Bridge and the eastern roundabout in front of SaveMart would be relinquished by the state to Placer County. This allows for traffic calming measures, beautification and multi-modal safety. Design features can include: landscaped areas, raised landscaped median, on-street parking, sidewalks, street lighting, benches, etc. The area would become more user friendly for cyclists and pedestrians.

As a locally controlled street with a contemporary, complete-street design, it could be temporarily closed for community events, such as Farmers’ Markets, street fairs, art exhibits.

Funding

Approximately $25.5 million in Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) funds will go towards the overall project costs for construction.  The FLAP supports state and local efforts related to public roads, transit systems and other transportation facilities, with an emphasis on high-use recreation sites and economic generators accessing Federally owned lands.

Timeline
(May be subject to change.)

November 2015
70 percent design submittal

January 2016
95 percent design submittal

March 2016
100 percent design submittal

May 2016
Award construction contract

June 2016
Construction starts and is anticipated to last for two seasons.

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