Writers’ choices

Illustration By Shawn Turner

Best place to watch fireworks with kids who are young enough to be scared of fireworks

Lake Park 40 Coleman Drive
Got little kids who get freaked out by sonic booms, but you’d rather be out celebrating the fact that you’re not a citizen of Great Britain in the fresh night air than sitting at home watching fireworks on television? There’s hope—in the form of geographic compromise. While rockets blare over Rancho San Rafael Park on the Fourth of July, babies sleep quietly in their mamas’ laps under the same gunpowder-filled sky, a half mile to the south in a small, neighborhood park. Lake Park offers a respectable view of San Rafael’s annual display and, since it’s downhill from the main blastoff zone, the noise level is minimal. The best views are from the northeast part of the park, near the playground. Be sure to bring a chair or blanket to sit on, as the geese never seem to clean up after themselves.

Best government office to redesign

Washoe County Health Department
Talk about an agency that’s designed with utter disregard for its customers’ comfort. Who goes to the District Health Department? Women with small children for immunizations. Sick people. Students. Public servants. While the folks behind the aquarium-styled counter are very pleasant and helpful, during busy times of year, the waits, while standing in line, can be two hours plus—for sick people and people with small children. Here’s a novel idea: chairs. Take a number and sit down until your number appears over the window, like at the DMV. Even more low-tech, have a couple hundred chairs where customers can have a seated, moveable cue like at the DMV satellite station. For god’s sake, get rid of those useless planters, and make people comfortable.

Best place to drive a train

The anticipation is building. It’s a matter of weeks until the 2.1-mile downtown train trench will be complete and actually accepting railroad traffic. Lake Street, Washington Street and Vine Street bridges will be open for cars, pedestrians and bicycles. Local residents and Reno’s downtown hotel customers will sleep without being awakened by train whistles. Traffic will no longer be stopped a dozen times a day at the railroad crossings. The shoo-fly washboard will be removed. An attractive façade and fencing will be placed along the security walls on the rim of the trench. The opening will signal a renaissance in downtown gambling tourism. And manna will rain down from the heavens. And the lion will sleep with the lamb.