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Posted on: February 7, 2018

City Releases Highway 50 Road Safety Audit

The City of South Lake Tahoe released the Highway 50 Road Safety Audit today and the Executive Summary Report is available online at http://www.cityofslt.us/DocumentCenter/View/9432 and the complete report is available at http://www.cityofslt.us/DocumentCenter/View/9433. 


Upon the completion of the first phase of the multi-million-dollar Highway 50 reconstruction project from Trout Creek to the South Tahoe “Y” in the city of South Lake Tahoe in 2017, multiple agencies requested a pedestrian and bicycle road safety audit (RSA) including representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, California Highway Patrol (CHP), Caltrans, City of South Lake Tahoe (public works, police), Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), and Tahoe Transportation District (TTD). The team also met with advocacy groups, including the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, South Shore Transportation Management Association, and the Community Mobility Group. The team conducted the RSA July 25 to July 27 2017 and it included field observations both during the day and night. 


“This audit was important because of the efforts of the team, which are experts in transportation and documenting safety concerns on Highway 50.  During a three day, day and evening intensive analysis of Highway 50, we were able to validate our concerns and develop a consensus for solutions,” said City of South Lake Tahoe Public Works Director Ray Jarvis.  

The RSA team identified numerous safety emphasis areas to address in its discussions and field reviews. In order to take advantage of the opportunity to advance some of the RSA recommendations into the active U.S. Highway 50 construction projects from the “Y” to Trout Creek, some immediate next steps are suggested: 

1. Caltrans, City of South Lake Tahoe, CHP, TRPA, and TTD decision makers should convene a meeting to discuss the RSA recommendations most relevant for consideration of a contract change order, including but not limited to bike lane markings, crosswalk markings, intersection 
lighting for pedestrians, bus stop pull out design, and accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists during construction. 

2. Initiate engineering studies for mid-block crossings (Grocery Outlet and Whiskey Dicks) where safety issues have been documented. 

3. Develop a speed management plan in advance of the speed study that will take place after project completion. The plan should use the best practice of designing for “target speeds” and use inputs that are representative of the users and context of the roadway. 

4. The city should develop an agreement with Caltrans about developing a memorandum of understanding for maintenance procedures and operations of pavement marking, snow plowing, sweeping, etc. that are mutually agreeable for both agencies and in the best interest of the traveling public. 

5. City staff and police should work with TRPA, the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, and CHP to launch an education and enforcement campaign in spring 2018. The campaign should include bicycle safety advertisements and enforcement around helmet use, riding with traffic, and nighttime visibility and should aim to reach businesses and the South Lake Tahoe community including Spanish speaking residents and visitors. 

6. Participate in the active “Lake Tahoe Safety Plan” to implement recommendations to improve safety data for the Region. 

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