Merging lanes

More changes to driving and bike lanes are on the horizon in Reno after the Reno City Council held a meeting on Aug. 29 and voted to move forward with several road conversions.

“During the Sutro Street presentation, the RTC showed where they were going to reconfigure vehicle travel lanes into sidewalks and bike lanes between Fourth Street and Oddie, and decrease the four travel lanes into two plus a turn lane,” Scott Hall, chairman of the Committee for Bicyclists on 4th Street, wrote to us in an email. “North of Oddie, there would be no bicycle lanes, but a shared parking [and] bike lane would go up the hill from Wedekind to Hug High School. … The Reno City Council voted to adopt the RTC preferred alternative, which they said the neighborhood community supported.”

Plans for Plumas Street were also discussed at the meeting, with council member Sharon Zadra supporting keeping four travel lanes and adding in bicycle lanes from Urban Street to Moana Lane. Reno city traffic engineers Steve Bunnell and John Flansberg agreed with Zadra.

Others disagreed. “This configuration would be extremely tight, and put bicyclists next to high speed traffic with a curb blocking the side,” said Hall.

Mayor Bob Cashell did not support a four lane plan for Plumas Street, but supported a plan to reduce Mayberry Street from four lanes to two in order to improve safety.

Scott Gibson, a city traffic engineer, presented data showing that other Reno road conversions reduced traffic accidents by 40 percent. Ultimately, Hall said, the Council compromised with a three lane design for Plumas Street—two lanes southbound, and one lane northbound—which will be studied throughout the next year to determine safety and traffic conditions.

“I think we are seeing more changes in the attitudes of Reno about bicycling and walking, and that our investments and decisions already made by the city of Reno, and supported today in Council meetings, mean that we will be benefiting more and more as a community in the rebirth of Reno,” Hall says.