By Joanne S. Marchetta

Joanne S. Marchetta

We are stronger at Lake Tahoe when we work together. Everyone benefits when people of different interests, backgrounds, and perspectives agree to bring their ideas, energy, and creativity to the table to shape solutions for a healthier, more vibrant, and sustainable Lake Tahoe.

Working together can be hard, of course. But we’ve built a spirit of collaboration at Lake Tahoe and it’s growing. Through it we are achieving things that once seemed impossible, things that we could never achieve working on our own.

The recently-approved U.S. 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project has already benefited greatly from public involvement and engagement. What was originally envisioned decades ago as a road project has grown and been refined into a community revitalization project of regional significance that promises to transform how people experience the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, while at the same time improving housing, amenities, and services for the local community.

Realigning the highway to run behind Heavenly Village and the casino core will help improve traffic flow and create a mile-long main street corridor that extends throughout the Stateline area in California and Nevada. Other components added to the project will provide new workforce housing, parks, sidewalks, and other neighborhood improvements, better connections to key recreation sites, improved transit service and community mobility, and significant redevelopment opportunities for private investment.

Going forward, we need more help from the public to create the best possible project for Lake Tahoe’s residents, visitors, and environment. Because this project has the potential to deliver so many benefits for the South Shore community, we want to ensure all voices are heard.

This month, TRPA and the Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) are seeking community residents and small business owners to join a working group that will help develop an important Main Street Management Plan for the former Highway 50 corridor. This group will work closely with all project partners, including TRPA, TTD, City of South Lake Tahoe, and Douglas County, as well as with the public and representatives from the transportation, recreation, tourism, and environmental sectors at Lake Tahoe.

The goal is a Main Street Management Plan that details the policy, design, and implementation of transit, bike, and pedestrian circulation improvements; parking management strategies; business, service, and emergency vehicle access; wayfinding signage; and streetscape amenities needed to ensure this new main street corridor is utilized to its greatest potential as both a local community center and world-class experience worthy of Lake Tahoe and its unique natural environment.

TTD is also looking for residents to help plan improvements for the adjacent Rocky Point neighborhood, an area where residents have long been plagued by noisy, unsafe, and inconvenient cut-through traffic from the Stateline area. TTD will need help planning the community parks, green space, sidewalks, lighting, wayfinding signage, and safe and convenient access to nearby commercial areas and recreation sites that residents of this neighborhood need as part of this project.

The U.S. 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project is an opportunity for people to help design one of the most important capital improvement projects in Lake Tahoe’s history. Approval of the project by TRPA and TTD was only a first, but meaningful, step in making this long-envisioned transformation a reality.

The public has already helped agencies plan and shape the scope of this project through feedback from more than 150 public meetings in recent years. But we need more help as we work to make this project a reality.

There will be no shortage of ways for people interested in this project and the future of the South Shore to get involved and share their feedback, either through these working groups or through upcoming public meetings. Please bring your ideas, your energy, your creativity, and most importantly your spirit of collaboration to the table so we can all work together to deliver an important project that benefits Lake Tahoe and everyone in the community.

Joanne S. Marchetta is executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.