Complete Streets

Wikipedia defines complete streets as “roadways designed and operated to enable safe, attractive, and comfortable access and travel for all users.” It goes on to say that, “Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transport users of all ages and abilities are able to safely and comfortably move along and across a complete street. Proponents claim that Complete Streets also create a sense of place and improve social interaction, while generally improving property adjacent land values.” While Carson City does not currently have a Complete Streets policy, we are starting to see more of them around town.

NOT a complete Street
NOT a complete Street – Roop Street at Lone Mountain

The first picture here is of Roop Street at Lone Mountain. As you can see, this is NOT a complete street. In fact, pedestrian traffic is prohibited! Taking the bike over this hill is a bit scary, since the traffic is fast, and the lanes are not well defined. It’s a shame too, because Roop Street/Silver Sage is the only street besides HWY 395 that completely traverses Carson City without interruption. All other routes make you zig zag around town.

A Complete Street!
Northridge Drive – A Complete Street!

The second picture is of Northridge Drive, a complete street. Let’s take a look at what’s going on here. Automobile traffic is kept at a reasonable speed with 25mph speed limits and narrow lanes. There are also three round-a-bouts that you can’t see in the picture that keep traffic slower, but flowing. On either side of the car lanes, there are two wide, clearly marked bicycle lanes.

The pedestrian sidewalk has a nice planted buffer between it and the faster moving traffic. Not only is this visually appealing, but is also safer for dog walkers and wandering children. Additionally, notice that the sidewalk meanders along the road, side-to-side and up-and-down, creating an inviting and interesting place to walk. Another nice touch is the frequent lighting along the sidewalk that makes the sidewalk nice to use in the evenings too.

It is a common sight to see people out on Northridge Drive, both getting exercise and using it as is an alternate transportation route. Like they say, “Build it, and they will come!”. Learn more about Complete Streets over on the National Complete Streets Coalition website.

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3 thoughts on “Complete Streets

  1. Very nice Jeff. Great examples. Carson City definitely needs to do some work on the major roads. I have had several people tell me they would commute by bicycle if there was a practical and safe route for them to travel without having to go out of their way. Keep up the good work!

  2. I think of Davis, CA where I used to live. It was so much easier to get on your bike and ride to run your errands. The whole town was connected with bike lanes everywhere. I know so many people balk at the cost of these paths, but look how much value they ad to the community. If you look at housing prices in the area, they have not dropped nearly as much as the surrounding communities like Woodland and Sacramento. Higher home prices ad much more to the tax base for community too. This is just another example of if you ad bikes to a community, the value goes up.

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