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!

Roop Street Update

The Roop Street project has been going on most of the year, but we’re now finally starting to see some areas near completion. Roop Street between William Street (HWY 50) and Robinson is now open, and the new bike lanes have been striped between William Street and Washington Street. I attended the Regional Transportation Commission recently, and here’s the latest scoop on the project.

New Bike Lanes on Roop Street
Heading north on Roop Street by the library

Like I mentioned, there is new striping on Roop Street in front of the library. Apparently it was supposed to be completed all the way down to Robinson, but the striper didn’t realize this. He’ll be back. If you’ve had the opportunity to ride this section yet, you’ll notice the stripes look a bit fuzzy. There are even areas of the stripes that look powdery. It was mentioned that the striper had the mix off. Part of the paint composition is little reflective beads, and the ratio of beads was way too high. It is hoped that a street sweeper will be able to clean this up.

There are two alterations that are worth mentioning too. Washington Street west bound off of Roop is now One Way. It was opened for a brief time, but even though it is now one lane and painted as one way, it was reported that hundreds of drivers didn’t realize this and tried to merge onto Roop Street. They had to close this section off again until better signs and markers can be installed.

Washington Street
Washington Street Alteration

Also altered is the intersection of Caroline and Roop. There is now curbing installed that prevents east bound turns onto Roop Street off of Caroline. Riders looking to get on northbound Roop from the center of town now need to do so at Robinson Street.

Roop Street north of William Street is paved all the way to Long Street now. There is still much work to do on the sidewalks. And because of the additional property acquisition to make the street wider, there is now a need to install curbing and retaining walls. Some properties now have a two foot drop down to the sidewalk, because the new sidewalks cut into the slope.

Although not complete, riding the widened and striped sections of Roop really give you a feel of how it’s going to feel when completed. It’s great! The road feels really wide now, and it feels like the bicycles and cars now have plenty of room to coexist. It’s going to be fantastic once completed.

Roop Street Widening Project – Phase 3

On March 10th, Muscle Powered attended the Carson City Regional Transportation Commission meeting to learn more about Phase 3 of the Roop Street Widening Project. This is the section of Roop Street that stretches from Washington Street to 5th Street. This phase won’t begin until after the phase that is currently under construction, Washington Street north to Beverly Drive, has been completed. Still, it is nice to know what the big picture is.

Roop Street
Roop Street Looking North

Three alternate plans were presented to the RTC that included:

  • Four 11′ lanes for auto traffic (2 northbound, 2 southbound)
  • 5′ striped bike lanes on each side of the road.
  • 5′ sidewalks on each side of the road.
  • 1′ concrete center divider curb.
  • Left Turn Pockets at selected intersections.

All three alternate plans were the same except where to build the left turn pockets. Alternate plan 3 was the most favorable with the left turn pockets at Washington, Musser, and 5th Streets. This was a compromise between making left turn pockets available at important intersections, while preserving front yards of residences near Robinson Street.

I really like the idea of left turn pockets, since they don’t waste a lot of valuable space. This is especially important when retrofitting an already existing narrow corridor like Roop Street. A small percentage of traffic actually uses turn lanes, and only occupies the space near the intersections. The rest of the turn lane is just wasted space that could go to bike lanes and sidewalks.

Roop Street
Roop Street Looking South

Right of Way Challenges

This section of Roop Street will present some challenges during reconstruction. While there are some wide sections that will make it easy for construction crews, other areas are very narrow. Right of way acquisitions for the project will intrude pretty far into some people’s yards, take out some fairly large trees, and will bring the sidewalk up very near the houses. I rode down Roop Street the day after the meeting to get a better look at the impact. Some areas wouldn’t be impacted greatly with the right of way acquisitions, businesses, parking lots, bare dirt, etc. The biggest impact was to about a half dozen houses on the east side of the road about half way down. These residents would lose much of their yards.

The project is still quite a ways off though, and much can happen before construction. Will there be enough money left in the shrinking budget to continue? Will a shrinking Carson City population justify more auto capacity? In its current condition, it’s not safe to ride a bike down this part of Roop Street during many times of the day, and there are no sidewalks on many sections. Just adding bike lanes and sidewalks, and keeping the traffic down to two lanes would be a huge improvement. This would also create less of an impact for the residents, and probably save some of the big cottonwoods that provide shade for these properties.

A good lesson I took away from this meeting is that we started a ripple effect last fall when we asked for bike lanes on Phase 2 of the Roop Street widening project. The planners knew that we would want bike lanes on Phase 3, and we didn’t even have to ask. None of us had to get up and speak during the meeting. All we had to do was nod and smile.

Roop Street Bike Lane Update

Bike Lanes were the first item on the agenda last night at the Regional Transportation Commission meeting, and Engineering firm Manhard Consulting, LTD was there to make their redesign presentation. The room was once again packed last night, but they weren’t familiar faces. Three of us from Muscle Powered attended, eager to hear the verdict.

Roop Street

As the speakers unveiled their redesign plan, it began to be apparent that things were looking good. Here’s a summary of the bike lane plan:

Summary of Changes to Include Bike Lanes

  • Four lanes throughout project varying in width from 10′ to 11.25′ (10′ wide only at Long Street intersection)
  • 5′ wide bike lane from Washington Street to Adams Street (Lane is measured from the stripe to the face of the curb, so subtract the width of the gutter)
  • 4′ shoulder from Adams Street to Beverly Drive (again, subtract the width of the gutter)
  • Left turn pockets at Washington, Highway 50/William, Corbett, and Long

The most interesting change to me was the left turn pockets. Last month the proposal was to fully delete the center turn lane. This new plan adds the turn pockets only where really needed, adding additional room for bike lanes, and reducing the amount of right-of-way property acquisition. More of the road can be utilized more of the time, and no space is wasted where you don’t need it.

Roop Street

Like I mentioned last month, the section from Adams Street to Beverly Drive is too narrow to include an official 5′ wide bike lane, so they are calling it a 4′ shoulder. I think this should still be wide enough for most cyclists, and there was talk that share the road signs should be installed along this section to enhance safety.

The commissioners asked a few questions after the presentation, but overall, the mood was great and they once again agreed that the additional costs to the project were minuscule compared to the overall project. The turn pockets are a good compromise between bicycle and auto facilities. The project is really shaping up and looks to be an improvement for all road users.

The next meeting will be in December, and will include a presentation and vote on the amount and usage of the funds available. Keep your fingers crossed! As for the rest of the crowd in the room, nobody got up and commented about bike lanes, so I’m not sure what they were there for. I left after the bike lane discussion, but the Clear Creek closure was going to be talked about near the end of the meeting. I’ll see what I can find out about this topic.

Regional Transportation Commission Meeting Report

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).

Roop Street
Roop Street – Looking South from Beverly Drive

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.

Roop Street
Roop Street – Looking North from Washington 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.