Increasing access to public transit will protect Tahoe (Opinion)

Incline Village and its residents have an opportunity to lead the region in reducing fossil fuel emissions and improving air quality and, by extension, improving lake clarity and protecting this jewel which has been entrusted to all of us. How? By making it easier for residents and visitors alike to use public transportation in order to get to work and to access our beaches and trails.

Carl Hasty

By making a commitment to establishing a new mobility hub in Incline Village, we also have a chance to provide our essential workforce population access to efficient, reliable and affordable public transportation. Additionally, such a hub would make it more feasible for visitors to the region to use transit to visit public beaches and trailheads, offsetting the increasing challenges we have with crowded roads, lack of parking and unsafe parking.

Those of us who work in public transportation know it is a vital option for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, reducing air pollutants and improving air quality. Fewer cars on the road improve traffic flow and ultimately protect environmentally sensitive areas like Lake Tahoe.

Over the last decade or so, the Tahoe Transportation District has been responsible for several projects that have improved safety and generally made travel in this region better. These projects include the roundabout in Incline Village, the SR 89 project in Tahoe City, and the East Shore Trail segment.

Now we are asking for the community to share their ideas about what a mobility hub could look like, and what it would include — a public park? Bikeshare station? Electric vehicle charging? Workforce housing? These are just a sampling of ideas of what a mobility hub could include, beyond a “bus stop.”

We’re at the early stages of a needs assessment and are considering many possible locations for a hub. The Incline community has a lot of insight into local transportation issues and needs. It is my hope that the community recognizes the opportunity to improve public transportation and will participate in the planning process in a positive and productive way.

Carl Hasty is district manager for the Tahoe Transportation District.