In Tahoe some say there are two seasons: winter and road construction. But there’s a commonality between both — traffic. It’s a fact of life that when you live in one of the most gorgeous places on earth people are going to want to visit. So when the crowds come, how do we keep our roads clear and our parking lots open, so that everyone can enjoy a day on the ski slopes and not idling in line with a bad audiobook?
Moonshine believes in solutions, so we reached out to community members across the region who’ve got insight on and interest in transportation to share their thoughts on what needs to be done, and/or what they are already doing to help.
“Until there’s more comprehensive public transportation, carpooling is an immediate solution with greater environmental implications. Formalizing a carpooling solution with an app for people coming up from the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Reno would be extremely useful. Locally, it would be easy to create something similar to the Bay Area Casual Carpool with large, free park-and-ride lots.”
~ Ashley Cooper, communications manager, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
“Transportation and circulation are decades-old issues in this community. We are committed to continuing to work with entities like Placer County and the Transportation Management Association to implement solutions that reduce single occupancy vehicle traffic. We are confident that efforts we’re investing in like park and ride, POW Carpool Parking, and new in-valley shuttle services will help get us closer to this goal and make it easier for locals and visitors to get around.”
~ Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
“Northstar is proud to be participating in the Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit’s Highway 267 and Highway 89 Park and Ride Program alongside Placer County, Truckee Tahoe Transportation Management Association and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. This program allows guests to park at the Truckee Parking locations and ride TART to the Resorts. The Highway 267 Park and Ride TART services are supplemented with additional bus service sponsored by Northstar California, operating every 30 minutes during peak periods from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and you can find the dates at tahoetruckeetransit.com/park-ride/”
~ Tony Karwowski, director of the Base Area and Village at Northstar California
“Carpool. Use transit or shuttle services if available. Visitors can travel to and from Tahoe during off-peak times or stay an extra day to avoid traffic. Partner with agencies working on these issues and share your ideas — working together we can improve Tahoe’s traffic problems.”
~ Tom Lotshaw, public information officer, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
“Traffic congestion is a major concern for us, so I’m pleased to report that Placer County recently received local and state funding to plan and design priority bus travel infrastructure focusing on the two main roadways to get to the slopes: highways 267 and 89 between Truckee and the North Shore. We plan to use the funds to develop more park and ride facilities, priority lanes and intersections for buses, and technology applications to improve real-time travel information, among others. We’ll need robust community participation as we plan these improvements and look forward to discussing them with everyone soon.”
~ Jennifer Merchant, Placer County Deputy CEO-Lake Tahoe
“Let’s start with the first rule of holes: stop digging! Our traffic is deep, but we keep digging. Alterra Mountain Company’s new development in Squaw Valley, for example, would add 3,000 new daily car trips to Tahoe gridlock. Picture that next time you’re stuck in the parade of tail lights on Highway 89; 3,000 more cars. Traffic is no accident; we plan it every time we choose the narrow interests of developers over everyone else.”
~ Tom Mooers, executive director, Sierra Watch
“The POW carpool parking area is 800 prime spots at Squaw Valley reserved for free carpool parking and paid parking. If 800 cars show up as carpools, nobody pays for parking. There is still plenty of free up-close parking (up to 4,200 spots). We can manage our parking resources to affect change: Take cars off the road, reduce traffic impacts, free-up parking spaces, and reduce our impact on the environment.”
~ Liesl Hepburn, public relations director, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
“Highway 89 traffic can put the capital B in brutal. Here’s how to avoid it: Make your way over to Mt. Rose [via 267 or Mount Rose Highway]! Come early, and come with friends. The true locals know to park at the Main Lodge in Lot 3 or at Winters Creek Lodge if they want to park within a couple hundred feet of the lift.”
~ Amory Harris, marketing specialist, Mount Rose Ski Resort
“Our on-demand transit services have been used successfully in other mountain communities like Aspen, Park City, and Beaver Creek. Users simply open the app, request a ride from the location they’re at, and our team of drivers will get them where they want to go. Our algorithms are constantly optimizing driver work flow, allowing us to pick up riders and group those headed in the same direction to help cut down on vehicle traffic.”
~ Stephen Murray, co-founder of Downtowner and operator of Mountaineer
“To beat the traffic [leaving Tahoe] on Sundays I would recommend checking out some of the resorts on Donner Summit, such as Sugar Bowl. You can get about a 30-minute head start on skiers headed out of town back to Sacramento and the Bay. Once you are atop Donner Summit, it’s all downhill from there.”
~ Jon Slaughter, director of marketing and sales, Sugar Bowl Resort, Royal Gorge Cross Country