By Tim Cross, member and ad hoc neighbor group coordinator for speed reduction in Tahoe Donner
In case you weren’t aware, Tahoe Donner is suffering from an epidemic of speeding drivers. Both local and out of town residents are in too much of a hurry and we need to focus on slowing down on our roadways. We all have busy lives and places we need to get to but it is most important to arrive safely and drive slower for the safety of our neighbors.
According to Director of Risk Management, Annie Rosenfeld, “Many part-time and full-time owners have reported increased speeding incidents in Tahoe Donner. These members are taking a stand and hope through increased communication, fellow members and their guests will slow down and consider the 25 and 35 mph speed zones in Tahoe Donner. Most vehicles these days are automatics and as such, unless there is active downshifting from drive to a lower gear, vehicles quickly accelerate and easily exceed the speed limits. Additionally, much of Tahoe Donner is hilly, thus creating an active braking situation unless a driver consciously downshifts to aid in reducing speed as it accelerates downhill.”
As a once part-time resident, now full-time, let me put forth scenarios many of us have experienced. It’s Friday night and it is the end of a long work week. The drive up to Truckee has been long and horrendous. If only we could get there quicker. Or, it’s Monday morning and there is a feeling of a need to speed to make it on time.
Sound familiar? No doubt we’ve all been in these situations. Residents and visitors alike need to consider the possible consequences of our driving behavior. In particular, are we conscious of the vehicle speed along with distractions such as the cell phone and GPS unit in the vehicle.
Someone’s beloved dog naively walks out into the street and is struck down and killed. A cat is desperate to make it home across the street and is also killed. A deer innocently steps out onto the road and is mowed down and later has to be put down. Worst case scenarios you say. My friend’s dog was killed a little over a year ago in front of his home. I saw a dead cat lying on the side of the road just a week ago and today I heard word of a beautiful four-point buck with velvet antlers that was struck down. All were killed by people speeding on Northwoods Boulevard and streets like Alder Creek Road, Stockholm, etc.
These are some of the more obvious consequences of driving too fast. Less obvious impacts include noise and possibly ruining your neighbor’s experience who are here to enjoy the serenity of the mountains.
So it is with hope that I ask that all of you slow down. Please be considerate and thoughtful of all of your neighbors wherever you may live. We all want to enjoy everything that Tahoe Donner has to offer and we can accomplish this if we change our mindset about speeding. Please Slow It Down and Relax.
What else can we as a community do to protect the nature of the community, as well as our loved ones? You can communicate to your neighbors that you consider this a serious issue. You can also engage the local law enforcement representatives to ensure appropriate traffic enforcement through frequent conversations and provide direct feedback to them. According to Rosenfeld, “The Truckee Police are very cognizant of the residential street excessive speeds. Last year as requested by Tahoe Donner and various members, the police increased their presence within the community during the busy peak summer season. The same request was made earlier this summer, by Tahoe Donner members in the community and the Truckee Town Council. Three out of the five members of the Truckee Town Council live in Tahoe Donner, thus they often experience this issue as well.” Rosenfeld encourages members to communicate concerns directly to both the police department and town council — your local representatives who have the authority to enforce on the public streets of Tahoe Donner.
This summer is prime with recreating in this fantastic community and region, and we are shortly turning the corner for school to be in session, which means children walking to and from school bus stops. Now is the time to adjust our driving behavior to further resident safety and enjoying this wonderful place. Join me and many other members in the endeavor to slow down.