After extensive discussions with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) the Placer County Department of Public Works has developed an acceptable modified alternative for the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project.
The initial three build alternatives, (the fourth alternative is a no build alternative) would configure a 1.1 mile long stretch of State Route 28 through Kings Beach. The alternatives are:
- A three-lane highway with roundabouts and seasonal parking on the roadway (Alternative 2);
- A three-lane highway with roundabouts and no on-street parking (Alternative 4); and
- A four-lane highway with signals and on-street parking (Alternative 3).
In October, Caltrans notified Public Works that Alternative 2, three lanes with roundabouts and seasonal parking, would not be acceptable. The County then began discussions with Caltrans to find out their concerns and explore possible solutions. “What we learned is that the amount of proposed parking and management of the seasonal parking was a real concern,” said Ken Grehm, Public Works Director for Placer County. “Safety and line-of-sight issues with vehicles entering and exiting the state route were also noted.”
Public Works then conducted a preliminary engineering estimate of the number of parking spaces that could be included in the design and still mitigate the safety and line-of-sight concerns. A hybrid alternative with three lanes and seasonal, on-street parking with a total of 63 spaces was then presented to Caltrans. A letter from Caltrans dated Dec. 19, 2007 noted that while Caltrans still believes the 4-lane alternative is operationally superior, this variation to the 3-lane alternative which includes approximately 63 on-street seasonal parking spaces is feasible and acceptable. The initial designs for three- and four-lane alternatives with on-street parking included approximately 200 and 100 parking spaces respectively.
While working on the three-lane with on-street parking alternative, staff noted that the analysis indicated that the safety and sight concerns also pertained to the four-lane alternative. Preliminary engineering estimates on the 4-lane alternative indicate that the maximum number of parking spaces that could be included may be approximately the same number as the three-lane alternative, although the spaces would be allowed year round in the 4-lane alternative.
In March of this year, Public Works released the draft environmental documents on the project. There were numerous public meetings to educate the community on the alternatives and give them an opportunity to provide feedback. The release of the environmental document opened up a 60-day-comment period. Public Works received 500 pages of comments. The response to those comments was 250 pages. Once the completion of the response to comments is finished, the environmental documents will go to public hearings before the Placer County Planning Commission, the Placer County Board of Supervisors, and both the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's Advisory Planning Commission and Governing Board for their consideration.