Residents consider taking down walls

Residents on Sunrise Drive in east Carson City are torn over whether or not to ask the city to remove barriers blocking through traffic to Arrowhead Drive from Sunrise.

Some residents want accessibility to Arrowhead and the removal of the unsightly barricades, while others argue the safety of children playing in the area should come first.

About 40 residents met with Street Operations Manager John Flansberg and Mayor Ray Masayko on Monday as Flansberg attempted to get a feel of where residents stood on the issue.

Finding the group split in half on the issue, Masayko suggested Flansberg examine some traffic calming options such as speed bumps and revisit the issue in three or four months.

"This isn't an easy call," Masayko said. "It's kind of hard to experiment because then strange stuff happens. We need a little more time, but it's not fair to keep anyone in limbo."

Bowers Lane and Sunrise Drive were closed by Carson City supervisors in 1997 after months of protests by Bowers Lane residents who said speeding and high volumes of traffic made the simple act of crossing the street dangerous. Traffic was estimated at 1,800 cars daily on the neighborhood streets-a high percentage of that driving over the speed limit, Flansberg said.

Sunrise was closed to keep the problem from shifting from one street to the next.

Before they were barricaded, Sunrise and Bowers were the only through streets linking Nye Lane with Arrowhead Drive. These streets were used as shortcuts for those who work in the industrial park off of Arrowhead, residents say. With more industrial development off Arrowhead since 1997, some residents said opening the Sunrise is an invitation for people looking for a short cut.

Supervisors said in 1997 they would consider reopening the streets when the Graves Lane and Goni Road extensions were completed as well as a connector road between Graves and Arrowhead. The connector road is included in both the regional transportation master plan and the unfinished airport master plan but is not scheduled for construction within the next five years.

With both Graves and Goni finished and carrying traffic, some Sunrise residents want the barricades removed.

"It's a gamble," Flansberg said. "Did the new Graves Lane change people's driving habits enough to keep them from taking Nye to Arrowhead? We thought it would be reasonable to talk to neighbors."

Genny and Alfie Reiff live on the corner of Sunrise and Arrowhead and said they watch traffic skirt the barricades and orange netting fencing meant to discourage traffic.

"How do you pretty up a barricade to begin with?" Genny Reiff asked. "We have roads going through our side yards. People show a total disrespect for one's property. While people don't want the barricades removed, they use our yards (to get to Arrowhead)."

Other residents argued that getting to Highway 50 with no stoplight is akin to risking one's life. City officials should find ways to improve the flow of traffic, not continue to block it, one resident noted. Residents from August Drive argued that closing Bowers and Sunrise created more traffic on their road and reopening either road would affect August as well.

Still, others argued for the safety of children who've become accustomed to playing in an area with light traffic.

"Me and my friends play in the road and some guy could come around the corner and hit us," Kelly Taylor, 11, said. "We don't want to get hit, so we don't want to see the road opened."

Michael and Suzanne Anderson said they moved to Sunrise Drive partially because the road was closed, which they thought was a safer environment for their children.

"Those are my kids running around," Michael Anderson said. "I don't want to experiment with their lives."


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