Bus system is important piece of the puzzle

Approval of a fixed-route bus system by Carson City supervisors is an important piece in the puzzle of easing the city's traffic congestion and continuing the revival of downtown.

The bus service, set to begin in October, is long overdue. Even with dial-a-ride service available and a private taxi company, many people simply didn't have a convenient and cheap way to get around town.

Mass transit always comes with a cost to taxpayers. In this case, grants and city tax dollars add up to almost $1 million for a modest bus system. Fares will pay for only a fraction.

However, the benefits should redound to many more people than bus passengers.

While completion of the Highway 395 bypass is a big part of the solution to congestion through Carson City, supervisors and the Regional Transportation Commission need to keep looking for ways to move local traffic.

Buses will help a bit. So will improvements to north-south streets such as Roop and Curry. But we want to see an emphasis on bike and foot paths to give people more options than getting in a motor vehicle. Miles have been added to the city's trails in recent years, but there are miles to go before it's truly practical to get from one end of Carson City to the other on a bicycle.

Trails and bus routes all should intersect downtown, so people may reach businesses and offices without driving and parking. (By the way, we hope the buses have bike racks. That would make them truly versatile.)

At the same time, city supervisors should be reviving the idea of a downtown parking garage. The need hasn't gone away, nor will it when the bypass is finished.

It's not just up to city supervisors, either. Businesses should be taking a lead role in finding solutions to traffic and parking bottlenecks. And how about state government helping Carson City with bike trails and with bus fares? A whole lot of those people downtown are working for the state.

There are many pieces to the puzzle, but when they are put together we will see a fair picture for the capital.


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