Developing additional options for a controversial loop road project around the stateline is the goal of several upcoming meetings hosted by the Tahoe Transportation District.
The first of an anticipated four public workshops on the loop road is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 30 at Lake Tahoe Community College, District Manager Carl Hasty said. An exact time has not been set.
The current loop road proposal would reroute U.S. Highway 50 to where Lake Parkway exists today, using a route between Echo and Fern roads. The highway through the casino corridor would be reduced to two lanes under the proposal. About 75 buildings would need to be acquired for the project to move forward.
A recently proposed "triangle alternative" for the project attracted heated debate among council members during their meeting last week.
City Councilwoman Angela Swanson called the proposal "Nimbyistic" and cautioned the council against partaking in "racist and ill-founded thought" regarding the project.
The alternative for the project would move the intersection of the loop road and Pioneer Trail to the west, utilizing the vacant lot behind the 7-Eleven for at least part of the road.
Swanson said she was concerned the triangle alternative would move the loop road project further into neighborhoods and hurt poorer businesses whose owners are less likely to be involved in any public process.
Councilman Hal Cole said he would like to see the triangle alternative as the TTD's preferred option for the project because it would spare successful businesses in the area.
Cole said being called racist was "very offensive" and Swanson later apologized.
South Lake Tahoe City Council members have urged the Tahoe Transportation District to take the current proposal off the table, while gathering information on additional options from the public.
The TTD's will ultimately choose the alternatives that are analyzed in the loop road's environmental analysis, Hasty said. The additional public process is likely to delay the project's schedule by 3 to 6 months.
During the upcoming meetings, Hasty said numerous historic alternatives for the loop road proposal will be presented to the public, who will then have the chance to comment.