Mission implausible?

Cue well known theme music to Mission Impossible. Suave dude in a turtleneck goes into a public bathroom stall and finds a tape recorder in the toilet paper dispenser. He presses the play button. “Good afternoon, Mr. Phelps. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out how to make the overall traffic situation in the Truckee Meadows flow more smoothly and without the current levels of congestion. Just one catch. You must do this within 25 years. Allow for a doubling of the present population. Best of luck, sucka, and don’t even think of not accepting this assignment.”

The folks at the Regional Transportation Commission might well feel a bit of empathy for ole Mr. Phelps these days, because they got their own Mission Impossible to wrangle with. Namely, a popular resolution of the over-discussed and under-resolved Tahoe-Pyramid southeast connector road proposal. Obviously, this road will be crucially important for reasonable traffic flow in the future. But also obviously, there is no one clear easy choice on the actual route to be used. Whichever way you turn, there is a batch of citizens who stand ready to light their torches and mob-march on up to the castle with pissy hissiness squirting out of their eyes. And these citizens are all being quite reasonable with their unreasonableness. I mean, you gotta feel for homeowners in the Rosewood Lakes and Hidden Valley areas. Their homes, currently worth $300,000 to $600,000, will be worth, at current real estate escalation levels, approximately $42 million in 2030.

And you sure can’t blame Storey County for threatening to roll out the Musket Militia to defend their hills from the degradation and ruin of a Reno-Sparks commuter road rampling and trampling through its sagey pristinitude.

(Of course, the nice, clean, simple, old-school answer to this whole mess involves discreet buckets of cash to Storey County. One can expect that answer to take shape sometime in early ’05).

Just in case there is never an agreement on the southeast connector, there are other ways to deal with this important situation.

1. Widen McCarran Boulevard to 20 lanes.

2. Make it illegal for old people to drive.

3. Hope for the invention and mass marketing of Jetson-style air cars.

4. Build, for about $24 billion, an ultra-space-age, super-convenient Truckee Meadows Monorail System. Get the money from Bill Gates, in exchange for the Nevada half of Lake Tahoe and the rights to the next 22 In’N’Out franchises.

5. Make Keystone Avenue, Plumas Street, Wells Avenue, El Rancho Drive, and Rock Boulevard bicycle streets, with only bikes rickshaws are allowed.

6. Don’t worry. The 2011 Christian/ Muslim nuclear holocaust will make this traffic stuff seem insignificant.