Road conversion project delayed
The bicyclists in Reno have found themselves facing another setback in their pursuit of safer streets for all users.
Back in June, the governor signed into law Assembly Bill 145, also known as the Complete Streets legislation, which will create funding for making streets more accessible for all users. A feature in this legislation is that part of it won’t go into effect until Oct. 15, when the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles says there will be enough funding and resources to implement it. In the meantime, Reno cyclists have still been working to get streets converted.
One road conversion that was planned has been delayed indefinitely after a vote at the Aug. 28 Reno City Council meeting. Keystone Avenue from Coleman Drive to University Terrace is now in a state of limbo until the council discusses the matter and decides whether to postpone the project, end it completely or start construction.
“They were going to seal it, and then when they restriped it, they were going to do one turn lane, two travel lanes, bicycle lanes and then sidewalk,” cycling activist Scott Hall said. “It was supposed to happen right now.”
Hall said that this project was not anticipated to be an issue at all until the meeting where it was delayed.
“This whole Keystone thing was out of nowhere, like a bomb went off,” Hall said. This wasn’t even supposed to be a problem. All the meetings—they had two community workshops—were all positive. Some small complaints and questions, but that was it.”
Hall believes Keystone is extremely unsafe at this time and needs this conversion as soon as possible. Any delay in this project will cause further delays in larger projects around the city, like the yearlong Keystone corridor study from I-80 to California Avenue.
“This is just the appetizer for the rest, so we want to make the appetizer great so that the whole corridor will be functioning well,” Hall said. “The impact of this will impact the whole corridor. Every time there is a corridor study, this is what you’re going to get for the next 10 or 15 years, so this is huge. Everything cascades down. … So that’s why we want everything to go easy and quick.
The reason that the project has been delayed is there were some complaints that the project would “cause congestion without making any real impact on the community,” according to Hall. But he said that this is misinformation because “there is a smoother flow of traffic and the traffic controls—stop lights and stop signs—manage that traffic” to limit congestion and that he thinks safety and public access are the most important issues here because this road is a “public rideaway.”
“Yes, we are helping,” Hall said. “Yes, we are inconveniencing some people, motorists maybe. But democracy is not only majority rules, it’s about minority rights. So the rights of each individual to be safe, to get to where they want to go to in a reasonable time and have a fun and usable community—that is what the community is all about.”