A Road Diet for Keystone in Reno (maybe)

Sep 2, 2013 | Bike Facilities, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Keystone – Auto-centric design

The Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission and the City of Reno Traffic Engineer proposed a road diet for Keystone in Reno at the August 28th meeting. The Old Southwest Neighborhood Advisory Board (NAB) had been working on the project for 2 years. The NAB had two primary concerns: 1) excessive speed on Keystone made it especially dangerous and 2) a large number of residents in the NAB’s area are UNR students who bicycle to school.

A road diet would address both of those issues, reduce congestion and increase safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. The RTC has solid experience with road diets having installed them on Wells, Arlington, Mayberry and California, among others. Each was aggressively opposed before the project was approved, not by residents on those streets, but by motorists who used those streets only as a throughway. In each case, RTC had done their homework and were confident a road diet would benefit all transportation modes. Once installed, motorist quickly adapted and complaints disappeared.

Five people who live from one to three blocks from Keystone (four from a single street) wrote letters of opposition Alas the e-mail campaign in support of the road diet arrived too late to be in the meeting package. The City Council postponed approval of the Keystone road diet until the next meeting, and a planned Complete Streets workshop, but the tone of the meeting was quite negative.

So far, many people have written to support the road diet but nearly all are bicyclists. Of the people who care about Complete Streets, bicyclists are the most passionate and can be counted on to respond to an email blast.

My question is, “Where are the people who complained about the speeding cars on Keystone?” They need to stand up and be counted.

I’m a bicyclist but I’ve traveled Keystone much more in my car. I know that I would feel safer when in my car on Keystone if it were striped as proposed. I enjoy driving at a more relaxed pace and the road diets installed in Reno have not affected my travel times, despite the more relaxed pace. I believe the RTC when they say a road diet on Keystone would benefit all transportation modes.

Somerset – Complete Streets design

Most telling perhaps is that Steve Bunnell, City of Reno Traffic Engineer, is in favor. Among many bicyclists, Steve is considered to be biased in favor of motorists. He may resist the label of “biased.” I believe he is, at least, very, very cautious about reducing road capacity for motorists in favor of space for bicyclist. The fact that he spoke in favor of this project tells me that this road diet will work.

Let’s hope the Reno City Council comes to realize that a road diet for Keystone is very much worth approving.