Carson City transportation planners may have to choose between upsetting residents along Roop Street or those in neighborhoods north of Stewart Street as they consider how to help alleviate Carson's chronic traffic congestion.
Transportation officials postponed considering an expansion of Roop Street to four lanes from Fifth Street to Winnie Lane after several Roop Street residents suggested the city reexamine an idea to turn Roop and Stewart streets into one-way streets to help ease traffic on Roop.
An expansion of Roop Street from Fifth Street to Winnie Lane may still be the best option for dealing with increased traffic off Carson Street, though.
And after three months of extra study, Carson City transportation officials are still recommending a widening of Roop Street over five other proposals to make Roop and Stewart streets one-way or push Stewart through a residential area north of John Street.
Regional Transportation commissioners postponed for three months prioritizing all of their transportation projects for the coming year to review the proposals. On Wednesday, they will examine the results of a consultant's study. They will also prioritize their projects, which could include improvements to Curry Street,
The study showed any of the six Roop/Stewart traffic improvements will be through 2010 -- the anticipated completion date of the freeway -- and act as Band-Aids to Carson's severe day-time congestion, Transportation Manager John Flansberg said.
Either expanding Roop or extending a Stewart connector from John to Moody streets would help traffic flow through the capital until then, he said. The studies included looks at how changing the streets would affect side streets throughout the community.
Widening Roop Street still looks like the best option because:
-- It is the least expensive of the six projects. Estimated at $3.6 million, it includes around $590,000 in maintenance work including adding sidewalks, curb and gutter along Roop that need to be done regardless of the proposed expansion. Subtracting the necessary improvements from the overall cost makes it about 20 percent cheaper to build than the proposed $3.8 million Stewart Street expansion, which doesn't include relocation costs for people who would be moved to make way for a Stewart connection between John and Moody streets. Other options range from $4 million to $7.2 million.
-- It requires the city to acquire just over 8,000 square feet of property outside the existing rights-of-way. Estimated at $98,000, the rights-of-way include more than 5,700 square feet of state land. Flansberg said state officials agree the road improvements fit into plans. The next best project, the Stewart connector from John to Moody streets, would require 83,190 square feet of rights-of-way at an estimated cost of $1.3 million.
-- Most of the other options, variants on extending Stewart Street or turning Stewart and Roop into one-way streets, would require construction of a road bearing heavy traffic -- up to 12,000 cars daily -- in an area that sees only a few hundred cars a day now. Several residents along Roop Street, however, have complained that the city's proposal would bring traffic and pedestrians to their front door steps.
Flansberg is proposing the city refinance bonds used to pay for the $6 million Graves Lane extension to allow for the estimated $3.6 million expansion of Roop to four lanes as well as a $1.8 million expansion of Curry. A $320,000 extension of Stewart Street from Carson Street to Curry is planned with that project. All of the projects could be completed next year with the refinancing of the bonds and are at the top of the city's proposed priority list.
Other recommended projects atop the transportation commission's list include a $400,000 extension of Lompa Lane.
Supervisor Richard Staub suggested taking a look at future expansions of Fairview and Edmonds drives to create a way for traffic to get off Carson Street and access the freeway if it stops at College Parkway.
The Transportation Commission has had about $720,000 a year to spend on transportation projects, as more than half the $3 million collected through a 9-cent gas tax -- about $1.7 million -- is sent directly to the Nevada Department of Transportation as a contribution to help construct the freeway.
IF YOU GO
What: Carson City Regional Transportation Commission meeting
When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Carson City Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.
There will be an information session on the Roop/Stewart street alternatives at 3 p.m. in the Community Center Lobby.