On October 14th, Carson City cyclists attended the Carson City Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) meeting to show their support for bike lanes on the future Roop Street widening project. Cyclists were seated in every row, and I hear it’s one of the biggest crowds the RTC has seen for quite some time!
Speakers from the public included myself (Muscle Powered), Dan Allison (Muscle Powered and Safe Routes to School Coordinator), Tim Rowe (Nevada Bicycle Advisory Board and Alta Alpina Cycling Club), and Luke Wold (Wold Fitness).
Public Works came up with a preliminary redesign of the Roop Street widening plan to present to the commissioners at the meeting. It was suggested that 5′ bike lanes could be included from Washington Street to Adams Street. Due to what I believe are right-of-way issues, the section of Roop Street from Adams Street to Beverly Drive could not accommodate 5′ lanes. It was suggested that this section could be striped with a fog line, but could not be officially called a bike lane due to the narrower width. Public Works said that these revisions would add $50K-60K to the price of the project, but one of the commissioners said this additional cost was minuscule compared to the price of the overall project…especially if it better fit the needs of the public.
With the inclusion of the bike lanes, the center turn lane was removed from the new proposal, but the plan still allowed for 2 lanes of traffic going north and south. It was pointed out that this may back up traffic if people needed to make left turns during peak traffic, but some thought the impact would be minimal. The new Stewart Street extension will allow easy access to the neighborhood to the west of Roop Street, and should alleviate some of the left turn issues on Roop Street.
I had a great follow up phone conversation with Patrick Pittenger, Carson City’s Transportation Manager. A revision of the plan discussed above will be presented to the RTC in November, but would not be up for approval until December; however, he cautioned that in these times of diminishing budgets, monies available for projects today may not be available a few months down the road. It could be several months before the actual project started, if at all.
Patrick had good news to report too though. He has secured federal funds for more bicycle projects around the city that include bike lanes on Goni Road north of Arrowhead Drive, bike lanes on 5th Street from the roundabout to Hells Bells Road, and bike lanes on Washington Street from Carson Street to Roop Street.
We also talked about the recent addition of bike lanes on Winnie Lane west of HWY 395 (see Dan Allison’s post on the Muscle Powered Blog for more details), and clarification of the Roop Street plan for bike lanes on Roop Street between East Winnie Lane and Northridge Drive. This section of Roop Street over Lone Mountain will have 8′ bike lanes in both directions, and a pedestrian path on the east side of the road. This is fantastic news for northern Carson City cyclists trying to get to the trails on the west side of town!
I would like to thank everyone who took the time out of their busy lives to come down and show your support for a more bicycle friendly Carson City. The mood of the RTC was visibly brighter than a month ago when we first began our discussions, and this is due to your collective enthusiasm. I’ve found that the city is usually very open to suggestions if you can demonstrate that the people are interested. That’s just what we did Wednesday night.
And finally, when I was out this morning getting pictures for this post, I decided to ride down Roop Street, since the traffic was fairly light. Along the way I imagined that I was riding on a path, and it was great! It was nice to ride a direct route to work instead of my typical labyrinth of side roads. I didn’t have to go through several rain gutters, up curbs, through parking lots, or dart across traffic. This can be fun sometimes, but sometimes you just want to relax.