As of the September 2020, the Draft Environmental Document and Draft Project Report recommended a preferred alternative based on a number of factors. Since this project is located mostly within the Caltrans right of way, this decision is made by a Project Development Team which consists of County, Caltrans, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and Consultant staff members from various disciplines, including environmental, design, right of way, maintenance and more. The team makes the decision based on various items including public input, environmental impacts, impacts to adjacent properties, access to parcels, operations (vehicle and pedestrians), accommodation of all users (pedestrians, bicycle, buses, etc.), maintenance, adherence the to the projects purpose and need, adherence to planning documents, etc. The analysis of the considered alternatives was documented though a process called Intersection Control Evaluation (ICE). The ICE Report is available.
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The purpose of the project is to improve overall accessibility, mobility and safety for all roadway users while providing a continuous complete street corridor. The County desires to provide better connectivity between the downtown core and the west side of the community that extends to all transportation modes. The project is needed to provide safer facilities for cycling and walking. While the existing intersection has bicycle lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks along State SR (SR) 28, they are narrow, adjacent to traffic and are obstructed by the existing signal infrastructure and therefore need to be expanded to provide safer, dedicated facilities for local residents and visitors.
Goals and objectives of the project include: 1) improve safety and mobility for bicyclists and pedestrians; 2) provide a complete street corridor that connects to the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project (KBCCIP); and 3) consistency with local, regional and state planning.
The ICE process looked at various alternatives including different types of roundabout and signal alternatives. In the ICE screening process, the alternatives were compared based on the goals and need of the project while keeping traffic moving, providing safer streets, and minimizing impacts to adjacent properties and the environment. The screening topics are listed in the question response above. The ICE process carefully looked at the alternatives and ultimately recommended the signal alternative be dropped from consideration as it did not meet the purpose and need of the project. Therefore, only one build alternative, the roundabout was analyzed in the environmental document. The roundabout improves safety for all users, improves mobility for bicyclists and pedestrians, provides a context sensitive, complete street environment, is consistent with local, regional and state planning, and operates within acceptable levels of service for motor vehicles.
The potential for environmentally sensitive areas (ESA) have been and investigated and fully evaluated in the environmental document. There are areas, like the detention pond on the private parcel that will be impacted by the project and a location within the project footprint where a new detention area can be constructed.
Reducing SR 28 to one lane in each direction will help to improve safety for all roadway users, reduce vehicle travel speeds, provide more room for bicycle lanes, and provide a shorter crossing distance at the crosswalk. Based on speed surveys conducted, there are a significant number of vehicles traveling higher than the posted speed limit within this section of SR 28. Based on observed driver behaviors, this is most likely due to drivers using this section of SR 28 as a passing lane, which increases risks for pedestrians and cyclists.
Additionally, the lane reduction will allow for wider bicycle lanes, a dedicated bus pull out for westbound buses, and limited seasonal on street parking which will double as a snow storage area in the winter.
The air quality and emissions analyses were completed under the environmental document. Specific discussions on this topic can be found in Section 4.8, Appendix A, Appendix C, and Appendix F of the Environmental Document, available here . Below is a summary of the Green House Gas Reduction.
Project Air Pollutant Emissions (Annual)
Meeting dates and times are advertised on social media, local newspapers, the North Tahoe Business Association e-newsletter, postcards sent out in the mail, email blasts and flyers around the community. If you would like to be added to the email or mailing list, please provide your contact information to County Project Manager, Andy Deinken.
If the County is able to obtain the necessary funds to construct the project, then construction is expected to begin Summer 2022 and end Fall 2023.
Construction funding has not yet been identified for the project. The County has been using block grant and local funds to help pay for the design and environmental documentation costs.