Tahoe bikeway faces hurdles, but moves forward

Courtesy Bill Kasson

Courtesy Bill Kasson

As a plan unfolds to ring Lake Tahoe with a scenic bikeway, Nevada proponents are focusing on the

30-mile stretch from Stateline north to Crystal Bay.

The vision for the ambitious route is to provide a non-motorized transportation option that connects communities, enhances recreational opportunities and promotes the enjoyment of the Tahoe Basin for residents and visitors, according to a concept document for the work group.

"We want to get people out of cars and onto bikes," Karen Mullen, project manager, said in a presentation to the Carson City Board of Supervisors.

The Nevada Stateline-to-Stateline Bikeway Project involves local, state and federal agencies, including Carson City, Douglas and Washoe counties.

"Carson City is a critical link," Mullen said.

Many challenges will face designers as they move through each stage of development, however, including keeping the bikeway off Highway 50 where possible, ensuring safety for bicyclists as well as motorists, private property issues and environmental impacts.

"I prefer that the bikeway be

off Highway 50 as much as possible," said Supervisor Molly Walt, "and I also don't want to see the highway down to one lane through Cave Rock."

Coming up with a solution to getting around or through Cave Rock is likely to be one of the biggest controversies.

While most people would prefer that the bikeway follow the Old Lincoln Highway route, which roughly detours around Cave Rock on the lake side, the Washoe Tribe considers the area sacred and doesn't want people traveling around either side of the rock.

"The tribe is not interested in us using the Old Lincoln Highway," Mullen said. "They are also not interested in us using the trail system around the other way."

Another option might be to close one lane inside one of the two tunnels and develop the bikeway through Cave Rock.

Supervisors John McKenna and Karen Abowd said they felt that wasn't a good solution.

"I'd like to see the Cave Rock area looked at more closely," Abowd said. "Foot traffic, cars and bikes could be a problem, especially in the summer."

Mullen said that the highway department believes it wouldn't be unreasonable to close a lane in one of the tunnels.

"It might not be the best alternative, but it can be done," she said.

The cost of the 30-mile project will not be determined until after the design phase, Mullen said, but added that a bikeway built in 1981 in the Washoe County portion cost about $100,000 a mile.

Funding for the project will come from state Question 1 conservation and preservation grants. In 2002, voters approved a $5 million bond for the three counties for a bike path, said Ann Bollinger, natural resource specialist for the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department's Open Space Division.

The project portions presented to supervisors Thursday included a feasibility study that considers the entire 30 miles on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe and two demonstration projects, which will be subject to more detailed design and environmental reviews.

The project is divided into four primary sections:

• Crystal Bay to Incline Village, the location of several existing and planned bicycle facilities.

• Incline Village to Sand Harbor

• Sand Harbor to Round Hill Pines Beach

• Round Hill Pines to Stateline

Comments from the public can be submitted until Feb. 15, and proponents hope to get started on a portion of the project in late summer or early fall.

Comments can be submitted to aknotts@tahoetransportation

district.org or online at www.nv

tahoebikeway.com, where copies of documents can be found.

In other matters Thursday, supervisors:

• Appointed two members to the Cultural Commission for three-year terms. Jeffrey Scott, artistic director of Wild Horse Productions, was reappointed. Former Nevada Superintendent of Schools Eugene Paslov was appointed.

• Amended the 2010-11 budget by $19.7 million. Finance Director Nick Providenti said most of the money was carried over from the prior year's unused Quality of Life funds.

• Amended the 2010-11 Redevelopment Authority budget by $2.3 million, due to a carryover of program costs from the prior year's budget.

• Heard a presentation of the Historic Resources Commission's annual report for 2010, including historic preservation awards, the architectural scavenger hunt and the commission's activities to become more green.

As the liquor and entertainment board, members:

• Approved Wei Zhoa as liquor manager for China Chef at 3135 Highway 50 East.

• Approved Rajwant Kaur Sandhu as liquor manager for Fairview Smoke and Liquor at 933 Woodside Drive.

• Approved Odette Renee Wiebold as liquor manager for the 7-Eleven store at 3701 N. Carson St.


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