Be prepared to stop.
That’s the title – and conclusion – of our new report on what proposed development in Squaw Valley would do to our traffic mess in Tahoe.
Sierra Watch surveyed planning documents, commissioned expert research, and conducted a thorough assessment of existing conditions to reach a troubling conclusion: Tahoe traffic is bad – and could get much worse.
You can read the full report here: “Be Prepared to STOP: Tahoe Traffic and Squaw Valley Development.”
According to the report, “Tahoe traffic is more than a nuisance. Tahoe traffic diminishes the legacy of the Lake Tahoe experience, passed down from previous generations, by keeping families stuck in their cars instead of enjoying the great outdoors.”
Yet KSL Capital Partners’ proposed development would add thousands of cars to Tahoe’s roads every day.
Tahoe traffic is also an issue of basic public safety. Increasingly, communities in California are learning that development in fire-prone areas – with limited infrastructure – puts homes and families at risk of catastrophic wildfire.
KSL Capital Partners’ Squaw Valley development is proposed for a “Very High” Fire Severity Zone–with only one way out. According to the report, evacuation on the most crowded days would take more than ten hours in the event of a catastrophic wildfire.
The report also spells out how traffic is a direct threat to the most fundamental value of the Tahoe Sierra: the famous clarity of the lake itself.
The report compared existing regulatory thresholds with the potential impact of KSL’s proposed development, providing another example of how it’s out of touch with Tahoe values.
The report points to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the bi-state agency charged with setting development standards to protect Lake Tahoe. In order to prevent new development from adding too much traffic, they set a per-project threshold of significance of 200 new daily car trips. KSL’s Squaw Valley development would add more than six times as many cars to the Tahoe Basin – 1,353 every day.
All that local traffic, the report shows, has a global impact as well – on the climate. A deep dive into the planning documents for the project reveals that it would “generate nearly 40 times the amount of climate pollution that air quality agencies consider significant,” placing KSL and its conglomerate company, Alterra, on the wrong side of climate history.
The report reminds us that from the clarity of Lake Tahoe to the health of our climate, there’s a lot at stake when it comes to traffic in Tahoe.
And the first step to solving the problem is clear: stop making it worse.
Get involved, sign and share the petition to Keep Squaw True.
Access the report: “Be Prepared to STOP: Tahoe Traffic and Squaw Valley Development.“