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.

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
(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!

Bike to Work Week – Tuesday

Freeway Bike Path
Kristy Moser enjoying the Freeway Bike Path                                 photo by Jeff Moser

Muscle Powered Fact: In 2000, NDOT had no intention of including a bike path along the Carson City freeway bypass as specified in the City’s bicycle plan. When Muscle Powered got wind of this we took action, but it wasn’t easy. Even the Carson City Chamber of Commerce publicly opposed the bike path, but because of the perseverance and dedication of our founding members, Carson City has a three mile bike path which connects N. Carson Street to Northridge Drive. And today Lumos & Associates is working with Carson City to extend the bike path all the way to Hwy 50W.

Skip ahead 10 years…
With a much different political climate, and some very dedicated NDOT employees, NDOT has dominated the Bike to Work Week Corporate Challenge for two years in a row, shredding the competition with 1117.25 miles and 252 trips on foot or by bike. What a difference a decade makes. Way to go NDOT!

NDOT’s Bill Story with his two sons during last year’s competition

Commuter Tip: It’s a good idea to carry a rag with you in case of a roadside repair.  I wrap my tools (multi-tool, tire lever, zip-ties, patch kit, 2″x2″ tuffy strip-for sidewall repair)  in a clean rag so I have something to wipe my hands on after a repair.

Click HERE to see what Jeff Moser carries in his bag.

Corporate Challenge results so far..

Danny Miller  27.05
Tom Tittle      17.38

Agency Percentage of Participation

DMV – OBL                               100%

NDOT Team IT                          17.30%
DETR Cyclepaths                     10.30%
CCSD – School Bus Drivers      7.10%
USPS                                        6.60%
EITS                                          4%
NLCB                                         4%
NDEP We’re No Fuels 2012      2%

Agency Trips

DETR Cyclepaths                    21
NDOT ROW                            19
NDOT – IT                                17
NDEP We’re No Fuels 2012    14
DMV – OBL                              12
EITS                                         11
USPS                                         8
CCSD – School Bus Drivers       6
NLCB                                         1

Agency Mileage

NDOT – IT                               123.94
NDOT ROW                              66.3
DETR Cyclepaths                     38.34
NDEP We’re No Fuels 2012     31.1
EITS                                          25.6
NLCB                                        17.3
CCSD – School Bus Drivers      17
DMV – OBL                                12
USPS                                         12

Private Busness

Alison-MacKenzie        18.5%  – 12 Trips – 16.7 Miles

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

Carson City Freeway Corridor Multi-use Path Alignment Study Open House May 4, 2011

Carson City hired a consultant (Lumos & Associates) to identify and evaluate alignment alternatives for a non-motorized path along Carson City Freeway corridor.  The study area extends from Northridge Drive on the north end  – by the Boys and Girls Club – to Old Clear Creek Road on the south. Lumos evaluated many alignment options and came up with a recommended alignment. There will be an Open House on May  4th in the front lobby of the Community Center  from  5pm to 7pm. At 5:30 there will be a PowerPoint presentation on the alignment study process that was used to evaluate the alternatives and identify a recommended alternative. Please come to present your comments and voice your support for a dedicated multi-use path along the freeway corridor.

Long time Muscle Powered members will remember that it is this path that got Muscle Powered started as an organization. Basically, the path along the freeway was on the city’s bicycle plan; NDOT said they would not build it; the new Muscle Powered organization gathered hundreds of signatures on a patition asking that it be built – and it was.

At least, the northern half was built. This is the southern half. It would be good if Muscle Powered members and others could show up at this open house and demonstrate to the city that there is still a lot of support for the path. Imagine – riding north to south through all of Carson City on an off-street path – sound good?  Show up on Wednesday!

Highway 50 Bike Path Obstructions

It’s quite evident to today’s cyclist that our transportation system is designed with the automobile driver in mind. Millions have been spent on roads, highways and other infrastucture for the motorist, but very little in comparison for people that prefer or need to travel under their own power. Bicycle advocates often have to work hard just to get basic transportation infrastructure that is safe and gets people where they need to go. Because we often get so little, it’s frustrating when it’s taken away from us from a group that already has way more than its fair share.

HWY 50 Bike Path

Carson City has long had bike paths along Highway 50, leaving Carson City to the east. These bike paths are the primary way to travel by bike when heading east or west, to and from Carson City. They provide a safe area to ride that separates the cyclist from 50mph traffic, and connect neighborhoods, schools, parks, and shopping. In addition to the cyclists of all ages that use these paths, walkers and disabled citizens also rely on this route.

HWY 50 Bike Path

People have recently come to me with complaints of businesses and customers along Highway 50 using the bike paths as parking. When a car is parked in the path, often for no good reason, since there is usually alternative parking, the path user is forced off into the dirt, gravel, or mud. And depending on the weather or what bike your riding, it can be no easy task to navigate this terrain. At the very least, extremely inconvenient. For the person in a wheelchair, it may be impossible to get around a car on the path.

Blocking the Bike Path

The city has been receptive to complaints from users of the bike route, and has even taken steps to provide better signage along the path, even reminding motorists that there is a fine for misuse. I rode down the paths recently to see the situation for myself, and it didn’t take long before my way was blocked by a parked car. The car was even parked under one of the new signs that the city just installed. And once again this weekend, I had to navigate around another parked car, riding through the mud to do so.

Blocking the Bike Path

I believe there is some education that needs to take place for people to better understand what they’re doing wrong. It seems to be understood that we don’t park our cars in red zones, in front of fire hydrants, or in reserved parking spaces, but for some reason it seems acceptable to block a bike path. From what I’ve heard, some businesses are even angry that they’ve been told the bike lanes aren’t for parking, and said they’d fight it if further measures were taken. It’s hard to understand this though, as there is often a dirt shoulder to park on right next to the bike path. There seems to be room to accommodate everyone.

Blocking the Bike Path

This story is still unfolding, so it’s anyone’s guess how it will progress; however, as fuel prices and unemployment continue to rise, we will certainly see an increased use of alternative transportation like biking and walking. And we mustn’t forget our friends in wheelchairs that simply have no other method of getting around than these paths. I’d like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume they don’t know the trouble they’re causing by obstructing the paths.

Blocking the Bike Path

A couple of the photos above are mine, and others were sent to me by Carson City residents. Have you had problems with cars blocking bike paths in Carson City? Let me know, and please send me photos if you have them. What do you think would be the best way to educate these motorists?

You can contact me at: