Transit Service Increases Ridership by 20%
On-demand transit service in eastern Placer County is receiving high marks for its performance and is viewed as a major reason why the Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transportation service has seen a 20% increase in ridership over pre-Covid-19 numbers.
Since June 2021, the app-based microtransit service known as TART Connect has been providing point-to-point service within three lakeside zones, from Crystal Bay and Incline Village on the North Shore all the way to Sugar Pine Point on the West Shore. TART Connect also operates two limited-service zones to resort destinations in both Olympic Valley and Northstar.
In both Placer and Washoe counties, the pilot service provided a total of 211,000 rides in its first year of operation. Of those rides, 125,792 were taken in Placer County. The average wait time was 12 minutes during peak season service, which is three minutes less than the service goal of 15 minutes. Passengers in all zones rated their experience 4.92 stars out of 5 stars.
According to data collected by the TART Connect app, nearly 60% of all trips were completed by residents and 40% of the rides were taken by visitors. The data also indicate that passengers are using the service to get to work 54% of the time with the remaining 46% of the rides dedicated to recreational trips.
Within the three lakeside zones, the average trip is between 2 and 4 miles long, while the service to resort destinations within Olympic Valley and Northstar tends to be on average 8 miles long.
TART Connect is free to passengers and is funded 100% with revenue raised by the Transient Occupancy Lodging Tax. The average cost per ride is $15.39, but Placer County staff anticipates that the price tag will go down when ride-sharing increases.
In June, the Placer County Board of Supervisors authorized funding for another year of service in Placer County and most recently, the Town of Truckee decided to fund TART Connect for the summer season, which began June 25 and will continue until the end of Labor Day weekend.
TART Connect’s schedule is broken into peak and non-peak categories with lakeside zones operating from 8 a.m. until midnight during the peak winter and summer seasons and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the fall and spring. Service for the peak-season resort zones operates from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. For more scheduling information, visit tahoetruckeetransit.com.
~ Placer County press release
Lane and Ramp Closures Continue for Roadway Projects
TRUCKEE, NEVADA/CALIFORNIA BORDER
Travel delays are continuing through November on Interstate 80 in Truckee for roadway construction activities.
Between 8 p.m. Sunday, July 17, and 10 a.m. Friday, July 22, alternating lane closures will be in effect on I-80 westbound between Central Truckee (exit 186) and Donner Pass Road/Cold Stream Road (exit 184). During the same time period, alternating lane closures will also be in effect on I-80 eastbound between Donner Pass Road/Cold Stream Road (exit 184) and the SR-89 south separation (exit 185).
The Town of Truckee’s Cold Stream Roundabout project continues to require extended closures of the I-80 eastbound on- and off-ramps at Donner Pass Road/Cold Stream Road. The eastbound ramps will be closed weekly from 8 p.m. Sunday through 10 a.m. Friday, with access provided for weekend travel. The weekly closures remain in effect through Friday, July 29. Please note that the extended closure the week of July 24 will not begin until Monday, July 25, at 6 a.m.
Motorists are advised to expect typical delays of 15 to 20 minutes when traveling through the work zone. However, delays of 25 to 30 minutes are common on Thursday afternoons.
Construction activities are part of a $30.6 million project to rehabilitate the existing concrete on I-80 in Truckee, install a westbound auxiliary lane from the SR-89 south on-ramp to the Donner Pass Road off-ramp, install eastbound acceleration lanes from the Donner Pass Road on-ramp to the SR-89 south on-ramp, improve drainage, and upgrade concrete walkways along ramps to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Teichert Construction of Rocklin is the prime contractor for the project, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2022. The construction schedule is subject to change based on weather, equipment availability or other unexpected events.
Further east on I-80, a new rockfall protection project is taking place along a 2-mile segment of roadway just west of the California-Nevada state line.
From Monday, July 18, through Thursday, July 21, I-80 westbound motorists should expect a #2 (right) lane closure at the first project location, just east of Mystic in Nevada County. Travel delays of 30 minutes are anticipated.
Construction crews will be installing temporary concrete barriers, known as k-rail, along the shoulder. Work at this location will include installing double twisted wire mesh and cable net drapery systems along the mountain slope.
Later this summer, crews will be performing similar rockfall protection work at two other locations approximately 1.5 miles from the state line.
These improvements are part of a $12.6 million project to stabilize the cut slope along I-80 westbound just west of the California-Nevada line to prevent continued rockfall onto shoulder areas and the roadway. The project will include flattening existing slope, installing drapery systems, and constructing concrete barriers and valley gutters.
Alfaro Communications Construction of Compton is the prime contractor for the project, which is scheduled to be completed in November 2022. The construction schedule is subject to change based on weather, equipment availability or other unexpected events.
~ Caltrans press releases
Health System Awarded $2 Million-Plus to Improve Behavioral Health Infrastructure
Tahoe Forest Health System has announced the awarding of $2,348,023 in grant funding for projects that support behavioral health infrastructure, giving the health system new opportunities to address gaps in care and create sustainable improvements that better serve our community.
The award was delivered through the Department of Health Care Services’ Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program (BHCIP) round three: launch-ready grants.
This is the third of six rounds of the $2.2 billion BHCIP funding provided by the California State Legislature and the governor to construct, acquire, and expand behavioral health facilities. BHCIP is part of a broader commitment by the California Health and Human Services Agency to improve the state’s behavioral health and long-term care continuum infrastructure.
~ TFHS press release
County Allocates Special Funds for North Lake Projects, Programs
Each Washoe county commissioner has a budget to allocate to nonprofit organizations and programs that benefit their respective districts. Commissioner Alexis Hill over District 1, which covers Incline Village and Crystal Bay, recommended a total of $38,500 to be allocated as follows:
- $30,000 to Incline Village/Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau to support the spring 2022 Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit Connect Zone 3 project
- $5,000 to the Tahoe Fund to Take Care Tahoe, an ongoing sustainable tourism initiative
- $2,500 to Incline Village Crystal Bay Community & Business Association for expenses associated with the Local Heroes Celebration and IVCB Sky Show
- $1,000 to the Reno Bike Project to help recover costs for the fourth annual Tri-Lab event that was held on June 9
~ Washoe County press release
Submit Comment on Town’s Draft Emergency Operation Plan
To make public comments on the draft EOP, email Robert Womack, emergency services coordinator, at email@example.com. Public input will be received until Wednesday, July 20, at 5 p.m.
~ Town of Truckee press release
Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up
California Tahoe Conservancy Announces New Executive Director
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
On July 11, the California Tahoe Conservancy’s board appointed Jason Vasques as the conservancy’s new executive director.
Vasques takes the lead at the conservancy as the agency accelerates its work to improve climate resilience for natural lands and watersheds in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Following last year’s wildfires, the conservancy is expanding its work to reduce wildfire risk for Tahoe landscapes and communities. At the same time, Conservancy projects and grants are improving access for all to the recreation opportunities that have made Tahoe famous worldwide.
Vasques assumes the role of the conservancy’s executive director on Aug. 8, following five years with the state agency. Vasques previously supervised the agency’s landscape forestry program. Vasques is the third executive director to lead the conservancy.
The California Tahoe Conservancy is a state agency under the California Natural Resources Agency. The conservancy leads the State of California’s efforts to restore and enhance the Basin’s natural and recreational resources. The agency pursues strategic acquisitions of environmentally sensitive lands, operates a land bank, implements projects to protect the natural environment and promote recreation and access to Lake Tahoe, and provides grants to support Basin partner projects with similar goals. The conservancy works to enhance climate resilience, foster sustainable communities, improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk, and restore important wildlife habitat and biodiversity.
~ CTC press release
Evo Announces New Location in Tahoe Coming in 2023
Evo, the outdoor retail and experiences company, has unveiled plans to build a new campus location in Tahoe City. Campus Tahoe City will be centrally located on the shores of North Lake Tahoe, right across from Commons Beach, enabling both locals and visitors easy access to recreation. The site is currently occupied by the historic Tahoe City Inn building and America’s Best Value Inn, which evo plans to honor through restoration and pay homage to the location’s roots.
Together, evo, evolution Projects, and JK Architects will reimagine the site as the brand’s second evo Hotel. This will be complemented by a flagship retail store and recreational amenities. In addition to those key elements, the campus will also include:
- A café and bar
- Service shop
- Community programming and events
- Art gallery space and art throughout the entire campus
The evo team also envisions a second phase of development for new construction in the future that will allow for expanded amenities and offerings.
Alongside retail stores and experiential offerings, evo wants Campus Tahoe City to contribute to a thriving community center and is looking to incorporate several units of workforce housing on property as well.
While the campus has a target to open within the coming two years, evo’s head of marketing, Rebecca Heard, has confirmed that evo is excited to connect with the Tahoe community prior to the official opening. Heard says, “We are deeply committed to understanding the community needs prior to opening and will be hosting a community open house and social on Thursday, Sept. 15. We’re inviting residents and locals to explore the project, hear from evo employees and leadership, ask questions and more.”
To learn more about the event, you can sign up here for updates.
~ evo press release
Sidewalk Piano Returns Downtown
Truckee Thursdays and Wine Walks are back and with them returns another Truckee tradition: local pianist Jody Sweet has rolled his piano out on the Truckee sidewalk for the first time since 2020. Prior to the Covid-19 closures, Sweet was a town fixture, playing the piano outside in the evenings, on weekends, and in all weather. His piano is covered in the signatures of thousands of people who have stopped by for a song or two.
Sweet is a longtime local. He grew up in Kingvale, graduated from Truckee High School, and has lived and worked in Truckee ever since. In addition to playing on the street, Sweet teaches piano at the Tahoe Truckee School of Music. He performs at various local venues and has recorded original Boogie-Woogie tracks in Nashville.
Jody is a bit heavy-handed in his classic New Orleans jazz style. Throughout his 10 years on the sidewalk, he has completely worn through four pianos. The hammers on the last one froze and broke as he was playing during a snowstorm. This new one was graciously donated by the Reno Steinway Gallery. The new piano has already collected more than 100 signatures from locals, visitors, and quite a few delighted kids.
When it is not on the sidewalk, the piano is being hosted by Gallery 5830, a collective for local artists.
Look for the piano out on the sidewalk most weekends and during Truckee Thursdays. Passersby are most welcome to sign their name, request a tune, or take a turn at tickling the ivories.
~ Gallery 5830 press release