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

Roop Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Project to Begin

Construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities is about to begin on Roop Street between Winnie Lane and Northridge Drive! Although short, this stretch of road is currently one of the more dangerous areas in town for cyclists and pedestrians. Safe and well used bicycle facilities exist on either side of Lone Mountain, but cyclists must brave fast traffic and a crumbling shoulder if they wish to connect the two areas. And although pedestrians are instructed not to use this route, no other reasonable routes exist nearby. It’s not uncommon to see a baby stroller being pushed through the dirt and gravel on the side of the road to get over the hill to the shopping center.

NOT a complete Street
Roop Street over Lone Mountain in 2009

Here are the details from Carson Now about the project:

Work is expected to begin August 27 on a Carson CIty project to provide bicycle and pedestrian improvements on North Roop Street from Winnie Lane to Northridge Drive. The Carson City Regional Transportation Commission has awarded a contract which will connect existing bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Carson City, according to a news release. Roop Street between Winnie Lane and Northridge Drive currently does not have a sidewalk or bike lanes, and people often try to use a narrow strip of concrete against a wall to travel this section of road. After the project is completed this fall, there will be bike lanes on both sides of the road and sidewalk connections to existing sidewalks on North Roop Street and Northridge Drive.

There has been widespread support from the City’s bicycling and walking community and from school district representatives. City representatives are very pleased that this project is being implemented. “We’re happy to implement a project which connects other existing facilities and will provide for safety improvements” said Patrick Pittenger, Transportation Manager in the Carson City Public Works Department.

The project is being funded primarily by a Federal grant acquired by City staff through the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). This project is one of several bicycle and pedestrian projects recently funded through grants overseen by NDOT. “The Nevada Department of Transportation is pleased to work with our local partners to implement a project with funds secured by the State” said Tracy Larkin-Thomason, Assistant Director of Planning for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

The road is expected to remain open to traffic except for a one-week period planned for early October. Motorists are thanked for their patience and safe driving in the work zone.

For additional information, please contact Patrick Pittenger at (775) 283-7396.

When completed, Roop Street over Lone Mountain will safely connect neighborhoods and businesses on both sides of the hill. It will also further complete the longest, continuous north-south bicycle route in Carson City, stretching from Emerson Drive on the north to Silver Sage near the county line on the south. It has been a long time coming, and we can’t wait!

“Road Diet” for Carson Street?

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.

Rush to Washoe Walk and Bike Ride

$400 Million Dollars have been spent, and soon you will have a nice new bridge to walk or ride your bicycle across. But only for a few hours, so listen up!

Rush to Washoe! Run, Walk, or Bike the New I-580 Freeway. The public is invited to join the Nevada Department of Transportation in celebrating the soon to open I-580 Freeway, Saturday, July 28, 2012. Activities start at 7 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m. with the opportunity to bike, walk, or run along the freeway, including the Galena Creek Bridge – the longest concrete cathedral arch bridge in the nation.

I580_2012JulyPublicEvent-page-001

The event will include informational displays at various locations along the freeway describing many design features as well as an opportunity for an up close look at some of the heavy equipment used during construction.

Bicyclists riding from Carson City and the Washoe Valley will have access to the freeway in the area of the new Bowers Mansion Interchange – signs will be posted and volunteers available to assist in directing bicycle traffic entering from the south end of the new freeway. Pedestrians will not be allowed onto the alignment from the south end – pedestrians must access via the Mt. Rose Highway.

Schedule of events:

  • 7:00 AM: Start of bicycle ride from the Mt. Rose Interchange to the Bowers Mansion Interchange (roundtrip)
  • 7:30 AM: 5K/10K “Fun Run”
  • 8:00 AM: Booths open and freeway open to general event traffic
  • 1:00 PM: Vehicle and pedestrian access areas at the north end of the freeway will be closed to incoming traffic.  Event areas close and remaining vehicle traffic will be directed to exit the freeway via the Bowers Mansion Interchange.

The $400 million project involves constructing nine bridges and an eight-and-a-half-mile freeway from the Mount Rose Highway in Reno to the north end of Washoe Valley.

Galena Creek Bridge - Photo from Wikipedia

The freeway will officially open to traffic in late July or early August. I don’t believe bikes will be allowed on this stretch of freeway, but the good news is that when much of the auto traffic is diverted to the new freeway, riding your bike through Pleasant Valley on the old road will be…well, pleasant!

More details (including entering by bike on the Reno side), rules, and safety tips for this event can be found here: http://www.freewayextension.com/I-580_2012JulyEvent_Details.pdf

CVTA needs your help to finish trails

From Carson Valley Trails Association (http://www.carsonvalleytrails.org/)

This is an urgent call for help building trail up Sierra and Genoa Canyons (up to the Tahoe Rim Trail) to all mountain bikers.

Background: The CVTA is dedicated to providing access and developing trail in the Carson Valley for all users (hikers, bikers, and equestrians). Under a matching state grant program, the CVTA was able to build a significant new trail network from Eagle Ridge (N of Genoa) to Genoa Canyon and up Sierra Canyon to the TRT (near Genoa Peak) this summer. The mountain bike possibilities on this trail are tremendous including loops and downhill runs starting from the TRT between Daggett and Spooner Summits.

Construction on the Genoa Foothill Trail System

What is needed: CVTA is in desperate need of volunteers to help build trail (at this point mostly trail cleanup). Hours are needed to comply with the matching portion of the state grant. The deadline to provide matching volunteer hours is the end of calendar year 2011. If bikers are going to be users of this trail it is only fair that they pitch in to help build and maintain the trail.

What you can do: Trail building dates are posted on the CVTA web site: http://www.carsonvalleytrails.org/Programs-Calendar.html

All tools are provided and NO experience is necessary. We need all cycling groups to post this message to their members. Help is needed urgently as future trail development is contingent of the success of this major initiative.

Please pick a date and show up. If you enjoy the trails you should realize that they are only exist because of the hard work of many volunteers. Won’t you be one of them?

CVTA invites you to “Build for Bill”

Saturday, October 22, 2011
8am to 3pm
Genoa Canyon (located at the end of Carson St in Genoa)

Come to Genoa Canyon and “Build for Bill” on Saturday, October 22. Every hour of trail building that you donate will be an hour of support for Bill Hay, CVTA president, who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer, which prevents him from doing the trailbuilding he loves. For more information on how you can help, see the “Build for Bill” flyer (.pdf).

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

Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users Bill in Final Stretch

AB 328, the Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users bill passed the Nevada Assembly last week – unanimously! Next step is to the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, May 5 – tomorrow -  then if moved on by that committee, to the full Senate.
Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users bill
Bike Advocates Tim Rowe, Lee Harter, Kelly Clark,  Terry McAfee, and Anne Macquarie with Assemblywoman Teresa Benetiz Thompson, sponsor of AB 328, the Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users Law

The bill amends Nevada’s reckless driving statute to include striking a bicyclist or pedestrian as reckless driving, with penalties up to a $2,000 fine and license suspension.  While the law would not of course do everything to protect vulnerable users, its intent is to put drivers on notice that they are sharing the road with these users, and that there will be significant penalties for striking them.

Please consider going to the legislature website to support the bill: here’s an easy link to their public comment page. Post there, and your message will be passed on to your representative.

http://leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/A/Default.aspx

Vulnerable Highway Users Bill

The Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users bill passed the Nevada Assembly unanimously on Monday. Freshman Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez Thompson of Reno  introduced the bill and has done a great job of shepherding the bill through.  Here’s a picture of Benitez Thompson taken in front of the State Legislature today, with Kelly Clark, Lee Harter and Anne Macquarie of Muscle Powered, Tim Rowe of Muscle Powered and the Nevada Bike Board, and Terry McAfee of Procrastinating Pedalers and the Nevada Bicycle Coalition.
Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users bill

On to the Senate. The bill must pass out of the Senate Transportation Committee by May 15 or it dies. Any letters or phone calls in support of the bill – AB 328 – to members of the committee (see Nevada legislature website for names and addresses) would be helpful.
The Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users bill amends the state’s reckless driving statute to include striking a bicyclist or a pedestrian as reckless driving, with penalties including a fine of up to $2,000, community service, and license suspension.

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!