The proposed South Tahoe Greenway Shared Use Trail will create the backbone of the bicycle and pedestrian network in South Lake Tahoe and will take a major step forward in furthering sustainability goals of the south shore communities. The project area lies within a corridor once destined to hold a freeway, but now will foster alternative transportation better suited to the Region’s sensitive environment and ecotourism based economy. The Greenway will connect residents and visitors to community and recreation destinations, providing a high quality alternative to private automobile use. Reducing individual dependence on the automobile will improve air quality and water quality, reduce the carbon footprint of transportation needs, support the Region’s sustainable economy, and provide access for all segments of the community to healthy outdoor recreation. The Greenway continues the Conservancy’s commitment to implementing the Regional bike trail network as core to its mission of environmental protection, restoration, and preserving public access to outdoor recreation.
The Greenway project includes 3.62 miles of continuous separated pathway between the Sierra Tract and Stateline, incorporating a segment of existing trail to make a continuous four mile route. It travels through diverse landscapes, providing both the convenient transportation connections and high quality recreation experience critical to successful trail projects. Preliminary cost estimates for this project are $12-15 million. Project features include:
• 10’ trail, designed to protect sensitive habitats;
• accessible grades to accommodate all non-motorized user groups;
• trail signage to interpret points of environmental, historic, and scenic importance; and
• related site restoration on lands through which the trail passes.
The Greenway project includes several segments. The highest priority 1.8-mile segment will link urban neighborhoods in the core of South Lake Tahoe to shopping, social services, schools, and recreation destinations. Continuing the trail system northward to the state line provides important connections to the largest concentration of visitor services in the region, including shopping, lodging and transit. Completion of this link also connects the recreation resources at Van Sickle Bi-State Park to the network. A southern trail extension to Meyers, not part of the current project, would complete the transportation link. Future actions will identify the best alternative alignment for this extension.
The Conservancy Board approved the CEQA document and the project in September, 2011 and authorized additional funding to complete preliminary plans for the initial construction phase and perform pre-acquisition activities to secure access rights to the entire project area. The project will move through regulatory review in the Fall, 2011 and work will begin to secure construction funding. Depending on funding availability, initial construction could begin in 2013.