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The South Shore of Lake Tahoe

The South Shore of Lake Tahoe is the bottom half of the Lake from approximately Spooner summit in the northwest corner to Sugar Pine State Park at the northwest corner. Fundamentally, there are three ways to arrive at the South Shore from outside the Tahoe Basin:

  • Once-daily Amtrak bus service from Sacramento and Placerville to the Y or Stateline
  • The South Tahoe Airporter, which generally has about 12 runs a day between Reno and Stateline (down to 3 runs during COVID)
  • Personal vehicle

Once on the South Shore, there are just enough options, at least in the summer, to park your car and explore via transit and active transportation. See the “Transit Info and Route Planning” section for more information. Regional connections are needed but will not be utilized unless people can easily and quickly get around town and nearby recreation opportunities without their cars. There are plans to add dozens of miles of bike trails, improve safety and accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians, and a goal to double transit ridership in town centers and at popular recreation areas.

Partners

It takes significant planning, financial resources, and implementation to achieve our transportation goals. The following organizations and agencies participate in transportation planning and projects in the Region.

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA)

As the Tahoe Region’s federally-designated metropolitan planning organization (MPO) and the bistate agency that California and Nevada created 50 years ago under the Bi-State Compact to manage growth, development, and land use in the Tahoe watershed, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) plays a leading role in identifying solutions for the Region’s transportation challenges. Every four years, TRPA evaluates and updates the plan for Tahoe’s transportation system (Regional Transportation Plan – “RTP”).

Tahoe Transportation Commission (TTC)

TTC serves as the formal advisory body to the TRPA Governing Board in its capacity as the metropolitan planning organization. TRPA established the TTC to vet transportation plans, programs, and projects prior to making recommendations to the Governing Board.

Tahoe Transportation District (TTD)

The Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) was created under the same Compact that created TRPA to implement and deliver transit, and projects and programs that span multiple jurisdictions and include active transportation, transit, and roadway facilities. TTD and TRPA work closely to coordinate investments in transportation infrastructure and transit services. While TRPA conducts regional planning as the MPO, TTD is responsible for developing supporting long- and short-range transit plans.

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Transportation Management Association (TMA)

TMAs are community-based, nonprofit organizations designed to foster public outreach, receive community input on transportation issues, and encourage and facilitate the public-private partnerships necessary to implement transportation projects.

Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

The Authority markets the South Shore as a unique, world-class, year-round destination to the regional, national, and international marketplace and favorably impacts the South Shore economy through overnight stays and tourism spending. In addition to these activities, the Authority also supports improvements to transportation projects and programs that serve the South Shore.

Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition

The Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting bicycling, bike events, and new bicycle infrastructure throughout the Tahoe Region. The Bicycle Coalition also leads several programs that encourage bicycling as a mode of transport including providing the regional Tahoe Bike Map, the Bike Racks for Tahoe program, which installs bike racks around the lake, and the Coalition’s bike valet program, which provides staffed bicycle valets at special events during the summers. The Bike Coalition partners with TRPA to host the annual Tahoe Bike Challenge and works closely with governments and agencies around the Lake to prioritize and fund projects and programs that increase cycling.

South Lake Tahoe Recreation Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC)

The BAC advises the City and El Dorado County on how to spend sales tax revenue generated for bike path maintenance through Measures R and S. Measure R was passed by voters in November 2011 to allow Measure S (passed in 2000) funds to be used for renovation of pre-2000 (old) Class I bicycle paths owned or operated by the City of South Lake Tahoe or the County of El Dorado in the South Tahoe area. After first ensuring maintenance funding for new Class I bicycle paths when they are built in fulfillment of the original intent of Measure S, Measure R also allows bicycle path maintenance funding to be directed to old Class I bicycle paths that have been renovated.

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Bi-State Consultation on Transportation

The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and California Natural Resources Agency convened the first Bi-State Consultation on Transportation for the Tahoe Region in 2017 and 2019. The Consultation represents a diverse group of stakeholders that worked together to develop a 10-Year Action Plan of key transportation projects, to strengthen public-private partnerships, and to identify needed funding and funding sources to implement transformative projects at Tahoe.

Local Governments

There are three local governments on the South Shore that plan and implement physical transportation projects and programs. Douglas County in Nevada and El Dorado County and the City of South Lake Tahoe in California. Local governments have their own transportation plans and priorities, with the projects included in TRPA’s Regional Transportation Plan, but none of them fund or operate transit on the South Shore.

Utility & General Improvement Districts

There are many Utility and General Improvement Districts in Tahoe, each chartered to provide specific services, from water and trash service to sustainable recreation and transportation improvements. There are two active partners on the South Shore: Incline Village General Improvement District and the South Tahoe Public Utility District.

Conservation Districts

Conservation districts were formed across the country to help people protect land, water, forests, wildlife, and related natural resources. There are two conservation districts in the Tahoe Region: The Tahoe Resource Conservation District and the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District, both of which operate on the South Shore and help plan and implement transportation projects as part of their recreation and restoration goals. Project examples include the Expanded Kahe Vision in Stateline, NV and the Johnson Meadow project in South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Pathway Partnership

A committee of local and state implementing agencies and community advocacy groups that meets quarterly to provide project updates, identify opportunities to work together, and discuss pressing issues related to active transportation that would benefit from multi-jurisdictional input.

State Partners

State highways act as the Region’s main streets and major arterial roadways. Caltrans and NDOT, the transportation departments for California and Nevada, respectively, maintain and improve these roadways for all roadway users. Each state department of transportation is actively involved at Lake Tahoe through project implementation, participation on the TTC, and various other project development teams, such as the U.S. 50 East Shore Corridor Plan.

Federal Partners

The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) manages over 80% of Tahoe’s land, making them a key partner in the Tahoe Basin. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides funding to TRPA to carry out the transportation planning process, environmental review, and preliminary engineering and design to complete environmental documentation for transportation projects. The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is an active partner in providing transit capital and operating assistance to the Tahoe Region.

Neighboring Transportation Agencies

The Tahoe Basin is comprised of five counties in Nevada and California that extend beyond the Basin. It is imperative to work with each county transportation department to align plans and goals because travelers often do not know which county or even which state they are in.