By Kathryn Reed
South Lake Tahoe is going after a $2.1 million grant that would make Al Tahoe Boulevard less nightmarish for those on foot or a bike as well as improve the intersection of Highway 50.
Jim Marino, assistant public works director, called this the second most important intersection in the city after the Y. This is because of everything that is going on in such a small area. South Tahoe Middle School, Lake Tahoe Unified School District offices, Lake Tahoe Community College, ball fields, law enforcement, adult and juvenile detention facilities, community park and a shopping center are all located within blocks of each other. They are connected by a five-lane road and state highway.
With all of the driveways and lack of sidewalks, it is not an ideal place to be unless in a vehicle.
The grant would change that because it would provide the necessary funding to make upgrades.
Steve Morales, facilities director with LTUSD, said one of the driveways to the bus barn would be eliminated. The district would also look at how people access the middle school.
A class 1 bike trail would be built from the highway to Johnson Boulevard as well as class 2 along the road.
The California Tahoe Conservancy is also applying for a $2 million Active Transportation Program grant.
Officials believe because the projects would link together, this is a strategy that should show those who control the purse strings that there is a collaborative approach to the local process. CTC wants the money for the Greenway bike path.
The city is the lead on the other grant, with other partners part of the process. This area was identified last year as a significant gap in the connectivity piece.
How everything will look remains to be seen. The city is in the conceptual design phase now.
Six people spoke at the May 5 City Council meeting in support of the city going after the grant. Another nine letters of support were submitted.
Even without the grant there will be new sidewalks coming. This is the result of Southwest Gas working in the area and coming to an agreement with the city to make the improvements while the utility relocates its lines.
In other action:
· Connolly Beach will be a topic at the May 19 meeting.
· Most of the master fee schedule was approved. Recreation fees will be brought back at the end of the year and ice arena fees in three months.
· The council approved refinancing bonds.
· CTC staff gave a presentation about how $1.5 million is spent each year treating parcels so they are fire safe and hazards are removed.