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.


Old Clear Creek Rd bike lane

Bike Lane on Old Clear Creek Rd

As part of a recent project to reconstruct part of Old Clear Creek Rd and enhance Fuji Park, there is now a bike lane on the south side of Old Clear Creek Rd between Carson St/Hwy 395 and Vista Grande Blvd. There was already a bike lane on the north side of Old Clear Creek. Along the boundary of Fuji Park and the Carson City Fairgrounds, diagonal parking and a bus pullout lane were added, along with landscaping of rock, trees, and shrubs. Wide, inviting sidewalks were also installed.

This section of road, shown on the Carson City Bicycle Route Map as alternate (yellow) could now be upgraded to principal (green). Though it has not yet been designated or signed, this section is a logical continuation of Bicycle Route 395 which now ends just before it reaches Carson St/Hwy 395 at the signal intersection on Lupin Dr. There are plans for a bike route southward along Vista Grande Blvd to connect with Jacks Valley Rd, but it was assumed that this would be completed as part of the development the retail area which has ceased for now.

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.

RTC Meeting on Roop widening, Nov 4

F-1 Informational update on the design of Phase II of the Roop Street widening project.

Staff Summary: City staff and engineering consultants have evaluated modifications to the design for Phase II of the Roop Street widening project that would allow for bicycle accommodations along the entire length of the project. Staff and consultants will provide information regarding changes to the design, right-of-way acquisition, and overall project costs.

A detailed document is available for download at F-1 Informational update on the design of Phase II of the Roop Street widening project.

The monthly Carson City Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) meeting will be Wednesday, November 4, in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center. This is one week earlier than normal due to the Veteran’s Day holiday on November 11. The CAMPO meeting starts at 5:30 and is followed by the RTC meeting, so it is difficult to determine exactly what time agenda items will come up, but you should be there by 5:45 if you want to make sure you hear agenda item F-1 on the Roop St widening project. Public comment is always welcome on agenda items.

The wonderful turn-out of Muscle Powered members and other community people at the last RTC meeting was a great show of interest that we all feel caused the RTC members to consider changes to the project more than they ever had before. At this meeting staff will present an alternative that provides and maintains bicycle access on Roop St for the length of this project. This is an information item, not a decision. In December the RTC will probably decide whether to proceed with the project in the near future or to defer it due to lower gas tax and sales tax income.

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.

Roop Street widening on agenda Oct 14

The Roop Street widening project will be on the Carson City Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) agenda again this month. This is an informational item, no decisions will be made, but it would be great if Muscle Powered members and supporters attend to show our continued interest and concern on this issue.

The Carson City Public Works staff has come up with some ideas to mitigate the lack of bicycle facilities in the original project plan, and will present these ideas to the commission. This is the section of Roop St between Beverly Dr on the north and Washington St on the south.

The meeting is Wednesday, October 14, in the Sierra Room of the Community Center, and starts at 5:30. Roop St is item G-2. The item might come up about 6:00, but better to be there early rather than late.

From the official RTC agenda:

G-2 Informational update on the design of Phase II of the Roop Street widening project.

Staff Summary: City staff and engineering consultants are currently evaluating modifications to the design for Phase II of the Roop Street widening project that would allow for the provision of bicycle lanes along the entire length of the project. Staff will provide preliminary information regarding potential changes to the design, right-of-way acquisition, overall project costs, impacts to motor vehicle capacity, and schedule for implementation of the project.

New bike lane on Winnie Lane

BicycleLaneWinnieAlong with the recent slurry seal (repaving) projects going on in the northwest part of Carson City, which is part of the city’s effort to preserve and extend its road investment, Winnie Lane between Carson Street and Mountain Street was striped with bike lanes. The stripes are bright, and the lane is marked with the bike symbol. The lane was even done correctly as it approaches Carson Street, with skip lines (broken or dashed) to indicate a merge of traffic to the right turn lane. This is how it is supposed to be done! Winnie Lane to the west of Mountain Street is already designated a Principal Route (green) on the Carson City Bicycle Route Map (see Resource page above for links). Winnie Lane to the east is wide enough for safe bicycling, but then you get to Roop Street, which is not yet, but may be in the future as a project to the north will add a path and to the south there may be re-striping or shared lanes to make it safe.

Thank you, Carson City Public Works, for the new bicycle lane!