Show your support for Bicycle and Pedestrian project on Fifth Street

A message from Patrick Pittenger, Transportation Manager, Carson City Public Works.

Carson City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advocates-

I am contacting you to request your support this week for a bicycle and pedestrian project in Carson City.

The City entered an agreement with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) to use Federal Enhancement funds to construct bike lanes and sidewalk on E. Fifth Street from east of Saliman Road to the E. Fifth Street freeway overpass. We received notice to proceed for design and submitted 90% plans this week. Unfortunately, NDOT used the Enhancement funds that were supposed to be for this project (and others in the state) for their own projects and transferred the funds to other programs, and now, as we’re almost ready to go to construction, there is no funding left for construction. Working with NDOT staff, we determined that there is about $1.5 in unobligated Safe Routes to School funds still available, and NDOT agreed to schedule a special meeting of the Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Board on February 28 to ask the Board to approve using those funds for three projects – the Carson City project and one each in Washoe and Clark Counties.

Fifth Street
5th Street looking east towards the overpass

I just learned that NDOT staff has decided to present a total of six projects to the Board on February 28th to decide which of those will receive the available funds. I am asking you to attend the meeting on February 28th at 8:30 am here in Carson City to help support funding the project.

When:
8:30 AM, February 28th, 2013

Meeting Location:
NV Department of Transportation
King St. Facility
3rd Floor, Conf. Room
400 W. King St.
Carson City, NV

Download Meeting Agenda

The argument I will make – which I hope you will support – is as follows: The E. Fifth Street project should be selected because it meets the Safe Routes to School requirements of being located within two miles of multiple K-8 school facilities, and has many other factors in its favor. While high school students were not the target of the Safe Routes program, they too would benefit from this project. In fact, the entire community would benefit from this project because it serves to connect existing and planned facilities. While it would be possible to locate a project that is located in closer proximity to a K-8 school, this project should be funded because selecting, designing, and constructing a different project at this point would take years, whereas this project could be implemented this year. Additionally, Carson City has demonstrated a dedication to funding projects that would have otherwise been Safe Routes to School projects with other funds. Specific examples include using HUD/CDBG funds of over $400,000 around Empire Elementary School, using about $500,000 in Enhancement funds on Roop Street to provide a connection between a low-income neighborhood and Mark Twain Elementary School which serves it, and using city (non-grant) funds on streets like Thompson Street near Bordewich-Bray Elementary School (among other projects). We have clearly demonstrated our commitment to the intent of the Safe Routes to School Program by implementing projects – and not just with Safe Routes funds.

The E. Fifth Street Project is the only project in Carson City or the greater Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) area to be before the Board on the 28th. It is also the smallest project financially among those to be considered at $225,000. Funding the project with these replacement funds still leaves sufficient money available to funds larger projects in both Clark and Washoe Counties. Finally, unlike other urban areas of the state, there are many fewer options available to Carson City to pursue to fund this project.

Fifth Street
5th Street looking west towards Saliman Road

I appreciate your support, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your support.

Patrick Pittenger, AICP, PTP
Transportation Manager
Carson City Public Works
3505 Butti Way
Carson City, NV 89701
ppittenger@carson.org
(p) 775-283-7396
(f) 775-887-2112

Mayor accompanies Fritsch students to school

Story by By Teri Vance originally appearing on the Nevada Appeal

Although they woke to a blustery morning, the Gudmundson girls did not waver in their commitment to walk to school as part of International Walk to School Day on Wednesday.

“The girls were going to walk, rain or shine,” said their mother Amber Little. “We’re kind of like the post office today.”

Mayor Bob Crowell walks kids to school - photo by Teri Vance / Nevada Appeal

Little, the president of the parent-teacher association at Fritsch Elementary School, encouraged other parents to walk their children to school as well.

“Part of the mission of the PTA is to empower children by engaging families in school,” she said.

As a bonus, she invited Mayor Bob Crowell to join them on their walk.

“It’s a good way to involve community leaders,” she said. “And he can show his Bulldog spirit.”

Undaunted by the rain, Crowell accepted the invitation.

“I think it’s wonderful, because it not only promotes education, but it promotes a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “Those lessons are critical, and it’s good to learn them early in life.”

They also were joined by the girls’ grandfather Jim Atkins.

“I usually don’t get a chance to see them get to school in the morning,” he said. “So this is a first for me.”

Sponsored by Safe Routes to School, International Walk to School Day encourages students to walk or bike to school “as the first step to change community culture and create environments that are more inviting for everyone, young and old,” according to the organization’s website.

The purpose is to enhance health, to improve the environment and to create safer routes for walking and bicycling.

Brooke Gudmundson, 8, was honored to be accompanied by Crowell.

“It’s kind of cool,” she said. “Not many people get to walk with the mayor to school.”

Her little sister, Riley, was less impressed.

“I don’t mind,” she said.

CAMPO / RTC Meeting Alert

There are a few items on June’s CAMPO/RTC agenda that are important Carson City pedestrians and cyclists! Please take the time from your busy schedule to attend these meetings and show your support for these important projects. Your presence and voice really do make a difference!

Ride with the City Supervisors

On the agenda:

  • Safe Routes to School
  • Freeway Multi-Use Path
  • Bicycle Friendly Community application review

When: June 8th, 4:30 PM
Where: Carson City Community Center, Sierra Room (west side of the building)

Full meeting agendas can be viewed here:

CAMPO Agenda
RTC Agenda

Walking with the Walking School Bus

Carson City celebrated Nevada Moves Day today with “Walking School Buses” to area elementary schools. I joined one at Mark Twain SchoolMark Twain walking school bus 7.

We walked from Hot Springs Road to the school – about two miles. The kids had fun, and the teachers set a blistering pace. No grass grows under the feet of Mark Twain students and staff!
Mark Twain walking school bus 8

Thumbs Up for Mark Twain!

Highway 50 Bike Path Obstructions

It’s quite evident to today’s cyclist that our transportation system is designed with the automobile driver in mind. Millions have been spent on roads, highways and other infrastucture for the motorist, but very little in comparison for people that prefer or need to travel under their own power. Bicycle advocates often have to work hard just to get basic transportation infrastructure that is safe and gets people where they need to go. Because we often get so little, it’s frustrating when it’s taken away from us from a group that already has way more than its fair share.

HWY 50 Bike Path

Carson City has long had bike paths along Highway 50, leaving Carson City to the east. These bike paths are the primary way to travel by bike when heading east or west, to and from Carson City. They provide a safe area to ride that separates the cyclist from 50mph traffic, and connect neighborhoods, schools, parks, and shopping. In addition to the cyclists of all ages that use these paths, walkers and disabled citizens also rely on this route.

HWY 50 Bike Path

People have recently come to me with complaints of businesses and customers along Highway 50 using the bike paths as parking. When a car is parked in the path, often for no good reason, since there is usually alternative parking, the path user is forced off into the dirt, gravel, or mud. And depending on the weather or what bike your riding, it can be no easy task to navigate this terrain. At the very least, extremely inconvenient. For the person in a wheelchair, it may be impossible to get around a car on the path.

Blocking the Bike Path

The city has been receptive to complaints from users of the bike route, and has even taken steps to provide better signage along the path, even reminding motorists that there is a fine for misuse. I rode down the paths recently to see the situation for myself, and it didn’t take long before my way was blocked by a parked car. The car was even parked under one of the new signs that the city just installed. And once again this weekend, I had to navigate around another parked car, riding through the mud to do so.

Blocking the Bike Path

I believe there is some education that needs to take place for people to better understand what they’re doing wrong. It seems to be understood that we don’t park our cars in red zones, in front of fire hydrants, or in reserved parking spaces, but for some reason it seems acceptable to block a bike path. From what I’ve heard, some businesses are even angry that they’ve been told the bike lanes aren’t for parking, and said they’d fight it if further measures were taken. It’s hard to understand this though, as there is often a dirt shoulder to park on right next to the bike path. There seems to be room to accommodate everyone.

Blocking the Bike Path

This story is still unfolding, so it’s anyone’s guess how it will progress; however, as fuel prices and unemployment continue to rise, we will certainly see an increased use of alternative transportation like biking and walking. And we mustn’t forget our friends in wheelchairs that simply have no other method of getting around than these paths. I’d like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume they don’t know the trouble they’re causing by obstructing the paths.

Blocking the Bike Path

A couple of the photos above are mine, and others were sent to me by Carson City residents. Have you had problems with cars blocking bike paths in Carson City? Let me know, and please send me photos if you have them. What do you think would be the best way to educate these motorists?

You can contact me at: jeffmoser@musclepowered.org

Volunteer for school BikeEd

BikeEd at school

Update: Due to a slowdown in paperwork, we won’t be doing the on-street BikeEd this coming week, but will be adding a third week of schoolyard bike skills development. Volunteers are still welcome, and you won’t need any prior training. It is a great chance to find out more about what the district PE Specialists and the Safe Routes to School program are doing with kids, and we will need volunteers for the next two pilot schools (Fritsch and Fremont) in the spring.

Mark Twain Elementary School is piloting a third week of BikeEd this fall, adding a day of on-street riding for 5th grade students. We will be riding on nearby low-traffic streets, practicing the basics of lanes positioning, scanning, signaling, and right hand turns. To do this, we need at least four adults on each ride. PE Specialist Colleen Katen and myself (Dan Allison) are two of those, so we need two more for each class session. The classes are from 9:25 to 10:10 on Monday through Friday.

We are planning for this coming week, September 27-30, however, we do not have enough volunteers yet, so may delay one or two weeks, to October 4-7 or October 11-14.

We’d like you to volunteer! We’ll accept as little as one day, though of course we’d like more. What do you need? A working bike, a helmet, and training. A training session of about one hour will be scheduled at a time that works for you, which could be during the school day, afternoon, or early evening. Of course we’d like to schedule one session that works for everyone, but recognize that may not be possible. In addition, we’ll give you a DVD to watch at home that has an 11-minute video (and more, if you are interested). If you have been through Traffic Skills 101 or an equivalent course, you can skip the training session and DVD.

In order to volunteer, you must either be already signed up with the district as a volunteer and have completed fingerprinting and a background check, or you must have initiated that process before you volunteer. You can pick up a volunteer packet from any Carson City School District school, though since one page needs to be returned to Mark Twain, it would be easiest to pick one up from there and fill out that one page immediately. You must fill out several forms, get fingerprinted at the Sheriff’s Office (901 E Musser St) or the district office (1402 W King St), and turn your forms into the district office. There will be a fee for the fingerprint cards, which you will be reimbursed for.

Interested? Please contact Dan Allison immediately with questions: 775-997-4937, srts.carson *at* gmail.com.

Goni Rd Sidewalk Project

new sidewalk and bike lane on Goni Rd

A second part of the sidewalks enhancement project is also complete. There is now a sidewalk from Sutro Terrace to Arrowhead Dr along the west side of Goni Rd. On the north side there is a new curb, and both sides now have marked and signed bike lanes. There are several drain grates along this street section, which are nice to see since Carson City has a lack of drains that leads to excess water along streets and in intersections, and nice to see them done right, placed appropriately in the gutter so that they work well but don’t reduce the bike lane.

This project assists students getting to bus stops, and will get a lot of neighborhood use from the many walkers and bicyclists who live in the neighborhoods so the south.

More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/allisondan/sets/72157624108735257.