Squaw Expansion Update: What About The Traffic?

Mar 14, 2016

The community market shown in this rendering is just one aspect of Squaw's expansion plan for its Village. Fans of the plan, including most of the area's 2nd home owners, who represent approximately 70% of property owners in the area, say the development is needed to finally make the Village complete. Critics of the plan are worried that it will bring too many people -- and too much traffic -- to the area.
Credit Squaw Valley Real Estate

Squaw's controversial redevelopment is continuing to make its way through the planning process. We caught up with folks on both sides of the issue for this update.

Proponents of the proposed expansion of the Village at Squaw say the development will make it a full-service resort.

Kathryn Rees, a Sacramento lobbyist who owns a condo at Squaw Lodge, explains. "When we come up and it's raining, guess what? There's absolutely nothing to do, other than watch TV or go to the bar."

But many remain concerned about the plan. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency recently broke its longstanding silence on the expansion, voicing concern about one particular issue: traffic.

"In most other parts of the country, the answer to traffic issues is to build more roads. There's not the appetite or even really the ability to do that in Tahoe. We need to come up with better solutions, and manage traffic instead."

That's Thomas Lotshaw with the TRPA. The agency says the expansion would add more than 2600 vehicle trips per day to the Tahoe Basin, significantly increasing pollution and traffic.

To that end, a draft regional transit plan is due out this summer and Squaw CEO Andy Wirth says he couldn't be happier. "We've been pushing for better transit for years. Especially now with direct flights from New York and various other locations, we want to give people the same experience they have in other ski resort destinations."

The Placer County Planning Commission is expected to vote on whether the proposal can move forward early this summer.