Boulder Bay submits transportation ideas
By Annie Flanzraich
BONANZA NEWS EDITOR
The transportation program Boulder Bay developers submitted to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency takes a four-pronged approach to reduce its vehicular footprint.
The four items include: 1) Getting people to the lake without a car; 2) Increasing shuttle service once visitors arrive; 3) Finding alternatives to trolleys or shuttles for visitors; and 4) Encouraging employees to use alternative transportation.
“We want to get people who visit the lake out of their personal cars,” said Boulder Bay Project Manager Brian Helm. Boulder Bay is a proposed resort in Crystal Bay for the Tahoe Biltmore and former Tahoe Mariner sites. To increase foot traffic, the program aims to get people up to the lake without renting a vehicle.
“Once they rent a car, it’s game over,” Helm said.
Supporting the North Lake Tahoe Express Service between the RenoTahoe International Airport and Incline Village/Crystal Bay is one way Boulder Bay hopes to keep people out of their cars. Boulder Bay plans to commit $31,500 to the program in hopes of helping the service increase from seven runs to 11 runs per day during peak seasons. This in turn would increase the number of flights served at the airport from 52 to 93.
Once visitors arrive at the lake, the program includes a few transportation strategies to help them travel the lake with ease. “When they’re here, we want to have a well-developed network to get them where they want to go,” Helm said. These strategies include a more frequent and on demand shuttle service for the North Shore, an onsite alternative fuel car share program and an electric bicycle rental program.
Two of those ideas, more frequent shuttle service and electric bicycle rental, will be tested at the Tahoe Biltmore this summer, Helm said. The Biltmore will operate a trolley purchased from the Tahoe Transportation District in October. Its trial run is planned for this summer with a free late night service to Tahoe Vista, Kings Beach and Incline Village. The electric bikes are also planned for this summer. In addition to the trolley, Boulder Bay also proposes an on demand shuttle pick up and drop off service to recreation and entertainment locations around the lake. It would include a fleet of three bio-diesel or natural gas powered vans.
And for the visitor who needs personal transportation, Boulder Bay also plans to offer an on site alternative fuel car sharing program. The service will consist of a fleet of four electric cars for hourly use. “We want to give them a safety net, but still encourage them to come up to the lake and use the transportation here,” Helm said.
For employees of the proposed resort, the plan includes an employee transportation program including subsidy of employee transit passes, preferential carpool parking, carpool matching service and bicycle amenities.
The total cost of the program for Boulder Bay is estimated at $318,000 for annual ongoing subsidies. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is reviewing the program as part of Boulder Bay’s Environmental Impact Study, Spokesman Jeff Cowen said.