Biking to the Grocery Store

A post on Steven Can Plan on grocery store bike racks in Chicago inspired me to write about Carson City. There are eleven stores that I’ll include. I’m listing them by geography, north to south, and at the end I’ll make some recommendations. I’ve also added notes about public transit, the JAC bus system.

For information on other bicycle racks, see the Carson City Bicycle Rack database. For bike route information, see the Carson City Bicycle Route Map online or available at local bike stores, or use the bicycling layer routing function in Google Maps, which is incomplete for Carson City but still useful.

Save Mart Supermarkets North

Save Mart Supermarkets North (3620 N Carson St): RACKS (A) – Two sets of wave bike racks are available near the south door, with a good location and visibility. These thick pipe racks can be a little hard to lock to, but they are better than most. ACCESS – College Parkway has bike lanes to the west and east. Carson St has wide shoulders for biking, however, they are not designated bike lanes and the traffic speed can be uncomfortable for many people. For neighborhoods southwest, the easiest access is to use a pass-through on Wagner St to Oak Ridge Dr. For the east, College is the best place to cross Carson St, though you need to be aware of right turning traffic both westbound and eastbound. Crossing Carson at Nye or Silver Oak is not recommended because there is no signal control at these intersections. TRANSIT – The store is accessible on JAC routes 1 (red) and 2A/2B (green).

Continue reading “Biking to the Grocery Store”

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Walk Score heat map

Carson City’s Walk Score walkability heat map

Walk Score yesterday released new “heat maps” that show neighborhood walkability. This addition gives a visual representation of the walkability of your place, beyond the numerical walk score for your address.

You can view the map for Carson City. How do we do? Overall, our walk score is 44, which is below average for Nevada but not horrible. The data is from two zip codes, 89701 and 89703, but strangely the third 89706 zip code where I live is missing. My address walk score is 75, great for Carson City, but I suspect that is based in part on amenities that are no longer available, as there are a lot of empty storefronts in my part of town.

It is worth zooming in on various parts of the map to see what the walkability and bikeability of your neighborhood is, as well as where you shop and work and play.

Walk Score is by no means perfect. It makes a lot of assumptions about what kinds of amenities people want, which may not be your priorities, it doesn’t do a great job of determining accessibility, as an amenity across a busy street with poor pedestrian access and protection rates just as high as one without the hazard, and of course there is a lot of fuzziness. For example, the green areas on the map are all clustered around Carson Street, because that is where the businesses are, but crossing Carson Street can be an uncomfortable challenge for adults and a too-risky crossing for kids. But I think these Walk Score maps are a useful measure to help us understand where we live and what we might do to make our place better.

The Brompton

Dan's beautiful new Brompton

After thinking about it for more than a year, I finally bought a folding bike. It is a Brompton, probably the best made folding bike in existence, though Bike Fridays seemed pretty good too. I love it, love it, love it.

I’ve only taken one trip with it so far, from Reno to Sacramento and back on Amtrak, and it was a real pleasure. It tucked into the baggage shelf just fine. It folds down to the size of a medium suitcase, so works well for train, bus or plane (at least on Southwest, which is all I fly anyway). I’m going to fly with it for the first time in January, part of a trip to San Luis Obispo for Contra Carnivale. The rest of the trip is on train.

It was great to have a bike while in Sacramento. I rode the American River Parkway one afternoon, got to the conference I was attending (Safe Routes) on light rail and riding, and rode to dinner twice and the grocery store once. I’ve taken my road bike to Sacramento and even San Francisco before, but always had to use the bus to Sacramento because the only way to take full bikes on the Amtrak California Zephyr is to box them.

I’ve ridden a lot around Carson City, and everywhere I go I get compliments or at least comments, which was rarely true on my road bike. Kids especially think the bike is cool, and many ask me if they can ride it.

Though I test drove the bike for a couple of hours last summer, I was unsure about how different it would feel and handle from my road bike. My road bike is a 1971 Motobecane Grand Touring (made in France, 10 speeds, classic steel frame). The weight is not much different, and it doesn’t really handle much different. I lose a little power due to the small 16 inch wheels, and a little to a more upright riding position, but not much. Handling is a bit looser. not a bike to ride hands-free, but it tracks well. And it has fenders and wider tires, so it was no problem to ride it in a few inches of snow this morning.

I bought the bike from Channell Wasson in Palo Alto, who used to be the only US dealer, and the bike is made by Brompton in London, England. Channell spent about four hours with me talking about Bromptons and bikes in general, and I’d recommend him to anyone.

A greenway on Nevada St?

Please watch the StreetFilms video on Portland’s neighborhood greenways, and think about the applicability and practicability for Carson City.

Portland has a grid street system, except for the west hills and the far suburbs, and Carson City does not have a grid except in a few areas, so it is difficult to identify locations where a street parallel to the arterials and collectors could be prioritized for bicycle use.

But Nevada Street immediately popped into my mind. It runs a fair distance, about 1-1/2 miles from nearly Winnie Lane on the north to 10th Street on the south. It is already a fairly calm street, so it would require less traffic calming than would many other streets. A few speed humps (like the one on Division Street), a reduction in the speed limit to 15 or 20 mph, bulb outs and/or bicycle and pedestrian passthroughs at major street crossings (Fifth Street certainly, and perhaps Musser, Robinson, Washington and Long) to discourage through motor traffic, and orienting signs for bicycle free flow, would create a bicycle friendly route.

As shown in the video, the greenways create comfortable and practical routes for all sorts of bicyclists, not just regular commuters who feel comfortable riding in traffic. I can imagine it being a part of our yearly Bike to Work Week cruiser ride. The route passes close to Fritsch Elementary School, and is not far from Bordewich Elementary. It also provides access to downtown from both the north and the south.

The idea is that only people who live on Nevada Street would be using their motor vehicles on Nevada Street. Others might be on for a short distance, and would use cross streets, but the nature of the street would be a place friendly to and safe for bicyclists, pedestrians, kids, dogs, etc.

What do you think? Would it work in Carson City? Is Nevada Street the best place for a pilot? What traffic calming actions would make the most difference? What other streets might be good candidates? How would you make use of the neighborhood greenway?