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Archive for August, 2008

Four things need to happen to make Mayberry’s 3 lane design a success:

 

  1. RTC needs to finish the paint and signage. Some curbs need to be painted red around Roy Gomm Elementary School and a few signs need to be installed. The flashing caution sign near Edgewater needs to be removed, too. These changes need to happen soon so that a true test of the design can begin.
  2. Edgewater residents need to learn to make a two-stage left turn to leave their neighborhood during higher traffic times. The first stage is a left turn into the center turn lane. The second stage is to leave the center turn lane and merge with eastbound traffic. Contrary to popular belief, this turn has been legal since 2005. In the old design they had to deal with 3 lanes of traffic at once to make a left turn. In the new design they have to deal with 1 motorist lane and a bike lane at once.
  3. Roy Gomm parents need to get comfortable dropping their children off at school in the new design. Engineers call the area in front of the school a “chaos zone” for good reason. It’s a slow motion free for all that should benefit from the increased organization of the new stripping.
  4. Recreational and commuting bicyclists need to be seen using the new bike lanes. This design was implemented partially in response to high demand from bicyclists on Mayberry. If bicyclists aren’t seen using these bike lanes, residents in opposition will claim that these lanes are unnecessary. They will be missing the point, of course. The bike lanes are there to make the fearful bicyclist feel safer and encourage them to get out of their cars and on to bikes. They are not there to accommodate the experienced Sunday cyclist who will ride Mayberry with or without bike lanes.

 

Change is challenging for everyone. Everyone involved need only change their behavior a little to make this new design for Mayberry a success.

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Roger Jacobson, head of Kiwanis Childrens Bicycle Program, rides a new bike lane on Mayberry
Roger Jacobson, head of Kiwanis Childrens Bicycle Program, rides a new bike lane on Mayberry

Bicyclists can’t help but be pleased with themselves, the City of Reno and the RTC when they cruise in the new bike lanes on Mayberry Drive. Not only are there bike lanes but the road is very smooth and the automobiles are confined to one lane each direction and a center turn lane, causing cars to naturally slow down to the speed limit. This feels good for bicyclists, good for pedestrians and good for the residents along Mayberry who reportedly have complained about motorists speeding.

But is this a temporary success?
 
The striping on Mayberry along the Edgewater subdivision was done with a temporary paint that, I’m told, should last for “2 or 3 months”. This temporary paint job is to allow the residents of Edgewater, who opposed the “road diet” for Mayberry, to test out the new design and also to see how the new design effects the delivery and pickup of students at Roy Gomm Elementary School. The RTC engineers are confident that this design will work better for both the Edgewater residents and the Roy Gomm parents.
 
Let’s hope that both groups will approach the evaluation of this design with patience and an open mind.

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Reno’s most popular bike route is about to get a makeover.

Mayberry Drive is by far the most popular bicycle route in the Washoe Valley. Hundreds of bicyclists use it every week, both to commute to and from work and shopping and for recreational rides to lovely Verdi. Not to be overlooked, it is a key piece of the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway, a project enthusiastically supported by the City.

When we’ve ask for a bike lane in the past, the answer from local government has always been 1) “Is it in the long term plan” and 2) “we only put bike lanes on existing roads when they are being widened or otherwise refurbished if there is enough room”. Well, Mayberry Drive meets both of these criteria and it’s time to step up to the plate and put down some paint.

RTC has drawn up plans for a 3 lane solution and a 4 lane solution. The “3 lane solution” has one travel lane each direction, a center turn lane, bike lanes and parking. The “4 lane solution” has 2 travel lanes each direction, parking where needed and intermittent bike lanes.

The Reno City Council will meet at 6:00pm on August 20th in the Council Chambers in Reno City Hall, 1st and Virginia Street, to discuss and decide which solution they want Public Works to implement.

The Nevada Bicycle Coalition strongly supports the 3 lane solution. The 3 lane solution is the only solution with full bike lanes from 4th Street to McCarran. In addition, this configuration is noted for having a traffic calming effect, slowing motorists to a less frantic pace. Full length bike lanes and slower motor traffic both improve the safety of bicyclists on Mayberry and encourage more people to give bicycling a try.

The RTC has some concerns that traffic volumes in 5 to 10 years may require a 4 lane configuration, especially if they can’t get their funding situation fixed in November. Fortunately, roads are slurry sealed every few years and each time RTC will have the opportunity to propose a new configuration for the pavement stripes. It’s just paint…

The Nevada Bicycle Coalition urges all bicyclists in the area to attend the meeting and be counted in favor of the 3 lane solution.

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