Possible traffic calming and landscaping features aimed at enhancing Carson City’s East William Street corridor were unveiled Monday.
Ideas that include various options were discussed in a charette and at an evening open house, with another public open house set for noon Wednesday. The charette was conducted Monday morning in a conference room where the Community Development Department and city’s Building Division are located, while the 5:30 p.m. open house was in the Carson City Community Center’s Sierra Room at 851 E. William St. Wednesday’s noon gathering also will be there.
The proposed options were keyed to improving the commercial corridor for safety, stormwater runoff, integrating complete streets for all users, and green streets with landscaping to create a “place-making” environment that upgrades the commercial corridor, access to Mills Park and ability to reach Carson High School more easily.
“We can wed these things together,” said Phil Erickson of Community Design + Architecture, the firm brought in via an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program.
“William Street seems like it’s ripe for some improvement,” said Abby Hall of the EPA. She said the charette would continue with the ideas unveiled Monday massaged as public and other input comes in over the three day event. She said changes would be shown at the noon Wednesday open house, with final ideas coming to city government later for possible action.
Options include the possibility of fewer lanes closer to Carson Street and then four lanes east of Saliman Road, but leaving the lane and turning configurations near the Interstate 580 overpass virtually as is with six lanes for vehicles. Other factors call for many trees and other landscaping points, plus spots for public art.
“Public art in the environment can really make a difference,” said Erickson.
There also could be bicycle lanes, upgraded pedestrian usage and even ways to cross William Street at points such as State Street. One option, in fact, included a possible roundabout on William Street there to improve access to Mills Park from the north.
References to a “road diet” were found in written matters covering the initial design concepts put forth in the Greening America’s Capitals program that spawned the name here “Greening William Street.”
Noting the road diet features could be a hot button issue, Community Development Director Lee Plemel after morning charette meetings said the consultants brought in by the EPA hadn’t been instructed by city officials to promote it.
“We didn’t tell them to do this,” he said.
At the same time, however, he noted discussion during the morning charette in which Transportation Manager Patrick Pittenger had said the daily traffic count as you head toward North Carson Street and the city’s core is about 8,000, less than half the daily traffic count on Carson Street downtown.
Plemel at the evening public session said there’s some city money for eventual William Street upgrades, but cautioned all the ideas unveiled Monday might may not be covered.
“We do not have funds identified to pay for what you see here,” he said, but added this kickoff can provide public input for grant seeking later that may be sought to augment what’s available.