Good job, Reno

Every once in awhile—lest a newspaper be considered unduly biased or even attitudinal—it’s a good idea to point out something good in the community. Well, this newspaper has a long history of noting the horrible condition of Reno’s roads, particularly those more than a mile away from Reno City Hall.

But this year, due in part to some creative financing methods on the part of the city of Reno, there’s been a general improvement in the conditions of the streets around town—maybe the city finally hit a tipping point. Plainly, there’s more to do in some of the poorer areas of town. For example, East Seventh Street, which runs adjacent to this office, still looks like the road leading to the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, but overall, there’s a feeling of improvement.

We’re not the only ones to have noticed. Mayor Cashell, Reno City Council, Public Works Director Neil Mann and the Reno Public Works Department received an award from the National Asphalt Paving Association (NAPA) toward the end of June.

The following bit is from a press release from the city, but for the sake of brevity, here you go: “The ‘Quality Construction’ award … recognizes the Reno City Street Reconstruction Project that was completed in 2007 in the neighborhood near the V.A. Hospital. A total of 26 city blocks in the area of Wells and Kirman avenues and between Wilson Avenue and Thoma and Vassar were repaved along with gutter and sidewalk replacement. During the 75 days of construction, residents were only denied access to their homes for a total of eight hours. Granite Construction served as the contractor and completed the project 15 days ahead of schedule. The project used recycled rock and reclaimed asphalt pavement which saved taxpayer dollars while being environmentally friendly.”

True, that award is for work that was done last year, but last year’s work certainly contributes to this year’s overall appearance of improvement.

There are, of course, other things to consider when looking for reasons the streets seem almost navigable. The “adjusted” gas prices have taken large chunks of traffic off the streets, so there are simply fewer cars on the road. Construction, too, has gotten kicked in the teeth, so the city’s documented inability to route traffic sensibly isn’t such a factor this year. Also, we’re not quite into the town’s “special events” season, when citizens and visitors who are just trying to conduct business are unable to take the most direct route through town because the city unwisely closes down Fourth Street. We do suspect, however, that if Fourth Street closures happen when gasoline is $5 a gallon, and people are forced to drive blocks out of their way, the citizens’ “it’s downtown, it doesn’t matter to us anyway” attitude may undergo a pretty dramatic evolution.

And hey, as long as we’re talking about it, why are all these resurfaced streets not getting a new stripe painted down one side or the other for bicycle commuters?

Anyway, congrats on the award, city of Reno. Thanks for the road improvements. We have a long way to go, but it’s good to see steps taken in the right direction.