Analysis: Building Loop Road could increase sales up to $25 million
A recent economic analysis indicates that a completed downtown area including the Stateline Loop Road proposal could increase annual retail sales increase of $16-$25 million, the Tahoe Transportation District announced Thursday.Under the proposal, downtown Stateline would include wider sidewalks, bike lanes, special bus lanes, transit stops, crossing opportunities, median islands and pedestrian signals. The project would support future development, from which the potential exists for more than a billion dollars in private construction activity, numerous short and long-term employment prospects as well as other recreational, environmental and community benefits, according to the analysis.Economic & Planning Systems, Inc., a Sacramento-based land economics consulting firm commissioned by the Tahoe Transportation District in fall 2012, conducted the economic analysis. The company reviewed conditions prevalent on Lake Tahoe’s south shore to identify economic indicators such as performance, key trends and competitive position as a tourism destination. Case studies of similar tourism-based destinations with comparable amenities and economic vitality were also evaluated. The analysis included discussions with local businesses, and a survey of business owners within the Stateline area to assess trends, customer composition, and the relationship of commercial activities to the surrounding transportation network. These responses were used to characterize the potential for growth in commercial activity resulting from roadway realignment.Local and visitor spending in the shopping district was used to determine potential retail growth. According to the company, potential for increased local spending is 5-10 percent and visitor spending is 20-30 percent, based on enhanced visitation to the South Shore and increased regional market share. These factors would lead to an estimated $16 to $25 million increase in annual retail sales.Tourism and visitor-services are the largest economic drivers for Stateline and account for more than half of total jobs in the Lake Tahoe Basin. However, tourism has demonstrated a decline for years, indicative of the lack of investment in tourism-related infrastructure and amenities, the analysis said.The most common complaint from Stateline area customers is related to lack of parking. Other criticisms included limited access to the lake, shortage of recreation and entertainment options for children, perceived blighted conditions, traffic congestion and lack of sidewalks.