Placer County/Caltrans: Widening SR 267 Is a Road to Ruin
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Placer County and Caltrans are dedicating $20-plus million (with tens of millions more to come) to widen SR 267 from two to four lanes between the town of Truckee and the Brockway Summit overlooking Lake Tahoe. At the top of the summit, SR 267 will narrow again to two lanes until it reaches the Lake. During high tourist season in summer and winter, SR 267 is consistently gridlocked with cars already; widening the road for a short stretch will do nothing to solve this problem. And should an emergency or wildfire occur, Basin residents will be out of luck – and out of time.
Lake Tahoe has been through this before. In the early 1960s, Caltrans proposed building a bridge over Emerald Bay and a four-lane freeway around the entire lake. Public outrage put an end to this travesty and launched many of today's most active conservation groups.
Sadly, the proposed widening of SR 267 has been used as and mitigation for more development in the Martis Valley area, adjacent to Lake Tahoe. The Martis Valley West project, adjacent to the Brockway Summit, will add thousands of new people in a dry forested area. Placer County required the developer to pay about $3 million toward the widening of 267, thereby passing the project against the recommendation of their own planning committee and vociferous public objection.
Widening roads is used to justify more development, and more development is used to justify widening roads. This is ludicrous. The solution to the existing congestion at Lake Tahoe is not to create more traffic; more roads equals more cars, more congestion, more pollution, and more danger to area residents.
Placer County and Caltrans need to reallocate these monies to develop sustainable transportation and transportation-demand management solutions to mitigate the impacts of current and future congestion. Tahoe must not become another dead lake surrounded by pricey high-rise dwellings. Let's not love Tahoe to death.
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