The notion of putting downtown Carson Street on a “Road Diet” has emerged again, this time championed by local business owner Doreen Mack. According to Dan Burden, a consultant who coined the term and now travels the country helping cities figure out how to put their roads on a diet, “A road diet is anytime you take any lane out of a road.”
According to Streetfilms (www.streetfilms.org) “Road diets are good for pedestrians: They reduce speeding and make vehicle movements more predictable while shortening crossing distances. They’re good for cyclists: Many road diets shift space from car lanes to create bike lanes. They’re good for drivers: Less speeding improves safety for motorists and passengers, and providing left-turn pockets allows through traffic to proceed without shifting lanes or waiting behind turning vehicles.”
You might remember that NDOT gave Carson Street back to Carson City a couple of years ago. We – that is, broadly, the people of Carson City – own and maintain it now. The City planned to redesign Carson Street to make it more friendly to pedestrians – and to downtown businesses – when the City undertook ownership. Unfortunately, that idea, like many others, was shelved during the great recession that has had such a continuing impact on our state.
Meanwhile, downtown businesses suffer. Who wants to walk downtown except on Nevada Day or during Taste of Downtown? Yet downtown businesses need pedestrian traffic to stay alive. As Doreen says, “Downtown parking and fence removal is essential for retail shop owners and customers. It creates synergy. When people see activity, they want to stop and see what is going on. In essence (a road diet) would create more foot traffic and bring in more business for the shops in surrounding areas, not to mention more jobs.
There will be a informational meeting about the Carson Street road diet on August 21 at 5 pm in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center.