Bravo and amen to Jeff Ackerman's expressions of frustration and concern about the progress and potential completion of the Carson City bypass. ("Columns are must-read for transportation board," Aug. 29.) You do not need me to defend you, but I congratulate you on taking your role seriously as a responsible journalist in placing both facts and opinions before Nevada Appeal readers.
I am one of the "locals" who agrees with you as I have observed this issue rise and fall over the years.
My family and I transplanted ourselves from the Los Angeles area to Carson City in 1968. Carson's population was small enough then that people knew who you were and where you lived even if you never gave them your address. This was particularly frustrating to my kids who preferred the anonymity of a big city whenever they got into mischief.
Many of the paved streets we now drive every day and take for granted were still dirt roads in 1968. Curry Street behind the State Railroad Museum and portions of Ash Canyon and Kings Canyon come to mind. But already, the "locals" were talking about a proposed plan to build a freeway between Reno and Carson City. Even then, some recognized that Carson City is like the hub of a wheel, the spokes leading to and from Reno, Dayton, Virginia City, Lake Tahoe, Genoa, Minden and Gardnerville.
As the pollution increased, the city spread out in all directions, but Carson Street aka Highway 395 was and remains the principal conduit for "locals," visitors and travelers. As you and many others through the years have pointed out, the solution is the completion of the long-anticipated freeway/bypass.
Some residents and merchants fear the freeway will make people bypass Carson City altogether. I disagree with this viewpoint. My husband and I have traveled extensively across America in our 28 years of marriage. Being able to avoid driving through a city by using a freeway has never kept us from leaving the highway to stay a few hours, days or longer in a community that captured our interest. The local, county and state tourism people, not NDOT, primarily are responsible for promoting the area to entice commuters and travelers to "spend some time with us."
Conversely, a few times we have left the freeway for a planned destination only to get out of that town (without stopping) and continue our journey as soon as we could free ourselves from a time-consuming frustrating traffic jam.
In a good faith effort to indicate to NDOT they are not seeking something for nothing, the citizens of Carson City have been willing to step up to the plate by imposing a designated gas tax to help finance the freeway. We deserve better than continual put-downs and ridicule by Tom Stephens of NDOT, especially since he is a servant of the public and can be replaced.
I'm also hoping many "locals" will attend the scheduled Transportation Board meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20 in Room 1214 of the Legislative Building. It is the public's right to be heard in such an open forum, but we cannot expect our appointed and elected officials to know what we expect if we don't speak up.
ELLEN R. NELSON