City plans to revamp bike plan

Carson City officials are planning to revamp the city's entire bike plan.

The city needs a new bike-path plan for the southern phase of Carson City freeway and also to meet federal requirements for grants.

A public workshop is scheduled Dec. 13 to work out a route for the southern half of the freeway path and prepare for Carson City's designation as a "metropolitan planning organization," a federal designation that brings with it more funding and regulation.

The status is given to cities with a populationof more than 50,000. The city is required to complete a thorough 20-year transportation plan, which also shows how items in the plan will be paid for.

John Flansberg, city street operations manager, said the city is updating the city's transportation master plan, which includes the bicycle plan.

"The last plan was put together without any concern of dollars," Flansberg said. "It was put together with the idea of what we would like to have. Now, with the MPO, we have to be fiscally constrained. We have to be able to say how our plan is funded."

The current bicycle plan is an $11 million wish list that would fund about 27 miles of bike lanes and another 18 miles of off-street bike paths.

"It's kind of like the chicken and the egg. We don't know how much funding we'll have, and we don't know what the cost is of what we want to do," Flansberg said. "We have to decide what is reasonable to spend for (bicycle and pedestrian facilities.)"

Flansberg said state officials will get details after a Jan. 16 meeting of the city's Regional Transportation and Parks and Recreation commissions, in time for a deadline set by state officials for the freeway. The new bike plan is scheduled to be considered by the Board of Supervisors in March.

In September, the city and state reached an agreement on a controversial path that will run along the base of the northern phase of the freeway.

Part of the agreement for the city to get a path and landscaping on the northern portion stipulated that design, right of way acquisition and construction for the southern half would proceed without a multi-use path. The agreement also said the state will not bid either phase of the Carson City freeway until the state bike plan is amended to reflect changes to the city's plan. The state is updating its bike plan as well.


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