NDOT turns its back on biking and walking

no pedestrian facilities in Las Vegas, PedBikeImages, Dan Burden

State transportation agencies recently had to return unspent money to the federal government, in a process called rescission. Twenty states cut transportation enhancement (TE) funds at or at less than their share of the overall transportation budget. Nevada chose to gut the TE program by taking 62% of the rescission from this program. Transportation enhancement funds are used for bicycle and pedestrian enhancement projects, as well as some others. Though all projects are supposed to accommodate bicyclists and walkers, they often do not, and certainly projects built in the past did not, so there is much work to do just to bring these modes to a share of the public roadways. Transportation enhancement funds can be used to make streets and highways into “complete streets,” facilities that serve all modes of transportation.

Why did Nevada have so much in unspent TE funds to begin with? Because the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) drags its feet on implementing projects to enhance biking and walking. Why did they take so much from TE? Because NDOT does not support the idea of bikers and walkers as having a right to a share of transportation infrastructure.

Rails to Trails’ rescissions page has more detail, and the linked table show just where Nevada stands. Not at the bottom, but third from the bottom, exceeded only by Nebraska and Texas. Several states, recognizing the backlog of bicycle and pedestrian projects that are critically important to safety and fairness, did not cut any funds from transportation enhancement.

Muscle Powered wrote to NDOT Administrator Susan Martinovich asking that transportation enhancement funds be cut in proportion to their share of the budget, or not at all, but we’ve received no reply. If this is important to you, you may want to write Martinovich yourself, or contact the new media. If NDOT succeeds in gutting transportation enhancement this time, they will continue to do it in the future.

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Carson City Sidewalk Projects Update

Washington St

Patrick Pittenger, Transportation Manager at Carson City Public Works, provided a list of recent and future projects to improve sidewalks around Carson City.

Recent

  • Fremont Elementary – Sidewalk widening and new connection to gate, about $16k from RTC, complete.
  • Curry near Sophia – Install new detached sidewalk and curb ramps at request of local business, about $20k from RTC, complete.
  • Washington – Sidewalk addition and improvements from Carson St to Roop St, about $306k from CDBG grant and about $13k from RTC, complete.
  • Division/Spear – Remove old sidewalk and replace/upgrade and install corner ramps, about $6K from RTC and remainder from property owner, complete.
  • Fifth and Goni – Sidewalk and bike lane additions on Fifth St between Fairview and Carson River Rd, and on Goni Rd between Arrowhead Dr and Conestoga Dr, CDBG grant, sidewalk work complete but landscaping now being added to Fifth St.

Continue reading “Carson City Sidewalk Projects Update”

Goni Rd Sidewalk Project

new sidewalk and bike lane on Goni Rd

A second part of the sidewalks enhancement project is also complete. There is now a sidewalk from Sutro Terrace to Arrowhead Dr along the west side of Goni Rd. On the north side there is a new curb, and both sides now have marked and signed bike lanes. There are several drain grates along this street section, which are nice to see since Carson City has a lack of drains that leads to excess water along streets and in intersections, and nice to see them done right, placed appropriately in the gutter so that they work well but don’t reduce the bike lane.

This project assists students getting to bus stops, and will get a lot of neighborhood use from the many walkers and bicyclists who live in the neighborhoods so the south.

More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/allisondan/sets/72157624108735257.