Editorial views from around the region

Topaz Ranch Estates is hardly the sleepy place it once was. The amount of traffic on Highway 208 has increased 20 percent between 1999 and 2004. According to the Nevada Department of Transportation, an average of 3,900 vehicles a day are now traveling the main route between Carson and Smith valleys.

That average does not show the full brunt of travel going through Antelope Valley on a holiday weekend, nor does it fully illustrate the dangerous mix of slower local traffic and people who have a long ways to go and are willing to exceed the speed limit to get there.

And like every other part of Douglas County, Topaz Ranch Estates is experiencing growth. With the potential development of Sleeping Elephant Ranch on the south side of the highway, there will be increased pressure on 208 to handle the load.

On May 26, longtime Topaz Ranch Estates resident Darrell David Daugherty was killed while apparently making a left turn onto Albite Road.

Had there been a turn lane at that intersection, Daugherty would not have had to stop in the middle of a major highway to make his way home.

Whatever the cause of the accident that killed Mr. Daugherty, Highway 208 will have to be improved to deal with the inevitable increase in traffic. A turn lane is a good start.

- From The Record-Courier

South Tahoe tree removal a bad decision

The removal of 200-plus trees at the north end of the runway at Lake Tahoe Airport may make it a safer place to land an airplane. It may save lives, or provide our community with a more viable transportation alternative by attracting pilots who would otherwise be reticent to land there.

But removing trees in the Lake Tahoe Basin has to be done with care, and it appears a bad decision was made to cut down more trees than was permitted by the California Department of Forestry, in accordance with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency rules. And the tree-cutting reportedly continued despite a stop-work order from the agency.

The city of South Lake Tahoe may argue that the California Department of Transportation "directive" that trees be removed adjacent to the runway trumps authority by the TRPA to restrict their removal, but that conflict should have been resolved prior to the tree removal. If the city is found to be in violation of TRPA rules, it will have no one to blame for the fines and restoration costs that will come as a result - potentially in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

- From the Tahoe Daily Tribune


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