With completion of the Fairview Drive improvements between Roop St and the new freeway, a signed and marked bike lane has been installed. This section, which had no designation on the 2007 Carson City Bicycle Route Map, can now be designated principal (green) on the next revision. It provides a pleasant and safe connection between the bike lanes on Roop St and on Saliman Rd.
A drain grate was incorrectly installed on Fairview eastbound so that it was a bicycle tire trap hazard, but that was reported to Carson City Public Works and has been fixed. There is a “bike lane ends” sign westbound just west of Saliman which is in error – the bike lane actually ends as it is squeezed out just to the east of Roop St. This squeeze out is unfortunate and unnecessary, as it makes it hard for bicyclists continuing north on the Roop St bike lane (Route 395).
On Fairview between Roop St and Carson St (Hwy 395), there is no bicycle lane and the lanes are too narrow to share. The only way for a bicyclist to use this section is to occupy the lane the entire distance. Not comfortable, but possible. The reconstruction of this section, with a triple left turn lane onto Carson St, was intended to handle the volume of traffic exiting the freeway at its current end at Fairview. Hopefully when/if the freeway is completed and the traffic volumes here drop significantly, this section can be redesigned with bicycle lanes.
The northbound onramp to the freeway at Fairview, however, was mis-designed. There is a double lane onramp, with the bicycle lane pushed into the entry. NDOT apparently thought that it was acceptable to have the bicyclists dismount and cross using the crosswalk, in order to return to the bike lane to the east. Due to the hump of the Fairview bridge, neither the lane or the crosswalk has good visibility to drivers entering the freeway. As currently configured, this design is a bicyclist and pedestrian killer, and it will have to be redesigned. The right hook accident, where a vehicle turns across the path of a bicyclist going straight, accounts for nearly half of all driver-caused crashes, and this design is an invitation to the right hook.
For bicyclists, the safest way to handle this is to occupy the middle lane, which is marked as the straight and right hand entrance lane, well before coming to the onramp. For pedestrians, there isn’t really any safe crossing here. You can’t see the drivers, and the drivers can’t see you.