A meeting was held on Wednesday, June 9 with four bicycle advocates and three NDOT employees to discuss the lack of accommodation for bicyclists in the Hwy 395 third lane project now being constructed between Jacks Valley Rd and Lupin Dr. In the meeting were: Steve Lani – Resident Engineer for Project, NDOT Construction Division, Bill Story – Manager, NDOT Bicycle, Pedestrian & Safe Routes to School Programs, Paul Sinnott – Assistant Design Chief, NDOT Roadway Design Division, Tim Rowe – Nevada Bicycle Board & Alta Alpina Cycling Club, Denis Coyne – Nevada Bicycle Board & Bike Shop owner near construction, Sig Jaunarajs – Chairman, Nevada Bicycle Board, and Dan Allison – MusclePowered & Carson City Safe Routes to School Coordinator.
The agreement from the meeting was that NDOT will take the following actions:
- The speed limit will be left at 45 mph for the remainder of the project, 24×7, and Highway Patrol will be informed.
- In the upper section between Jacks Valley Rd and Topsy Ln, there will be a three foot “bike lane” striped with an additional two feet or so of pavement including the rumble strip, before the barrier. The barrier was just added over the last three days. The three feet will be gained by narrowing the vehicle lanes to 11 feet. This will take about one week to accomplish the re-striping.
- A message sign will be placed south of Jacks Valley Rd which notifies all users of the narrowed lanes and presence of bicycles.
- Bicyclists will not be prohibited from “taking the lane” through the entire construction zone, but these actions will provide an alternative for those who are not comfortable with doing so.
The lower section, Topsy to Lupin, will still have no shoulder and bicyclists will have to take the lane if they want to use this section.
A detour around the lower section was discussed, however, the detour would need to include a temporary paved path through the construction area on Topsy Ln (which is a Douglas County project rather than NDOT project), and though the detour would not actually be out of the way for most destinations, bicyclists unfamiliar with the area would not likely take the detour. For those who want to detour, there is a Google map. One could also turn left onto Topsy, go down Vista Grande Blvd to Old Clear Creek Rd and then out to cross Hwy 395 to Lupin Dr, but this requires crossing two lanes of traffic to the left turn lanes onto Topsy.
These actions do not make the route safe, just less unsafe than it was. Probably the biggest difference is reducing the speed limit to 45 mph, but the effectiveness of this depends upon active enforcement by the Nevada Highway Patrol. If you notice drivers significantly exceeding the speed limit here, please report them to NHP, or if there is a general problem, contact NHP and ask for more enforcement.
If you are using this section of Hwy 395, whether for commuting, shopping, or recreation, please report your experiences back here to the blog. We will pass concerns along to NDOT.