State plan to restripe South Carson Street meets resident opposition

A proposal to restripe South Carson Street from two lanes to three was met with opposition by some Carson City residents.

Scott Thorson, chief traffic engineer for the Nevada Department of Transportation, updated Carson City supervisors Thursday on a preliminary plan to restripe South Carson Street. Thorson said the state is just looking into the idea, which would add a third southbound lane from Fairview Drive to Highway 50 East and an extra northbound lane from the Highway 50 interchange to Stewart Street.

"We're on a fact-finding mission right now," Thorson said.

Thorson said the striping may be done as part of next summer's planned $975,000 repaving of South Carson Street and could be a quick and cheap way to improve traffic circulation in South Carson until the freeway is completed. However, no extra space would be added to the highway, and the extra lanes would take over the shoulder of the road.

It's this part of the proposal that upset several Carson residents, especially bicycle and pedestrian proponents.

The shoulder of Highway 395 between Carson City and Genoa is called the Sierra Foothill Tour in the state's bicycle plan. Anne Macquarie, president of local cycling group Muscle Powered, said the route through South Carson City is used by cyclists of all skill levels.

"We're working with the state to try to put in a path (along the freeway) that is in plans," Macquarie said. "Now they're trying to take away a bike route. You shouldn't do something quick and cheap if it's going to endanger the lives of those using the roadway."

Carson City cyclist James Sadilek said its the state's job to implement its bike plan and Highway 395 is an important bike corridor.

"I brought a storybook. It might be characterized as an adult fairy tale. It's called the Statewide Bicycle Plan," Sadilek said. "I urge you not to allow NDOT to go ahead with this plan until we see some firm plans for bicycles."

Thorson said the preliminary plan is to pull bicycles from the shoulder of Highway 395 onto Roop Street and Silver Sage Drive.

Other residents question how taking away the shoulder would affect access to and from the business.

"Right now I can pull into a business without fear of being smashed in the rear end," Tom Keeton said. "I can't do that without the shoulder. Cars need that space to speed up to get into traffic. We won't have room to pull out. It's hard enough to travel across two lanes of traffic. Now you'll turn across through three lanes."

Supervisors suggested a series of workshops before the state settles on the plan.

"The public may need a little time to digest the proposal," Supervisor Pete Livermore said.

Thorson said residents had valid concerns.

"It's not a done deal," he said. "If it's not feasible, it's not feasible."


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