The City of Reno is nearly halfway through the pilot project that turned downtown into a maze of barricades and posts to keep bicyclists and scooter riders safer. The goal is to increase accessibility and connectivity for people passing through downtown and from Midtown to the university area. But not everybody believes it’s effective.
The micromobility project is a test to assess what functions and what may need to be improved. Late in the spring, it began.
According to Vice-Mayor Devon Reese, the At-Large City Councilman, “A lot of cars travel up and down the street every day we want to make sure that people who are riding or walking or even in a wheelchair, skateboards, you know any of that, can be OK,”
Reno Bike Project’s Kurstin Graham said he’s changed his commuting pattern to work so he can ride it every day and become more familiar with it.
“Reno really has an outstanding bicycle community and then there is the bicycle infrastructure. That’s something that’s been improving your buyer although I’d say in the last couple of years we’ve really seen some huge leaps in our bicycle infrastructure,” he added.
Due to the micromobility project, there is now more room for scooters and bicycles in the northbound driving lane.
It takes some getting used to the project.
Michael Leonard, a resident of Reno, said, “I drive too. As a car driver maybe I’m not as in favor but as a bicyclist I like it,” “You’ve got to notice that little bicycle light. And a couple of times I didn’t notice it and I pulled out and cars were turning. I had to quickly stay out of their way.”
About a dozen cars drove down the bike lanes in less than thirty minutes. Leonard had to move aside so that the drivers could pass.
Some business owners claim it negatively affects their revenue.
Jory Mack, whose family owns Palace Jewelry and Loan, asked, “Do you want to be a team with your city? Not work against your city and your city’s working against you?”
After the city implemented the pilot project, closed a lane of traffic, and eliminated parking along Virginia Street, directly in front of his store, Mack claimed that business was down 30%. Mack claimed that the city gave him and other business owners only a few days’ notices before implementing the changes. He stated that he does not want to relocate the family business, which has been in its current location since 1958.
“I don’t think they care about us to be honest with you. I really don’t think they care. I think they care about the casinos and I think the casinos have their agenda. I think they want to open it up to something different than downtown of right now and I think they’re willing to kill off a lot of the businesses to do so,” Mack added.
The pilot project, according to Reno city officials, will end in the fall. It will be up to the community to decide how to proceed with any project, whether it be on Virginia Street or somewhere else in the city, based on usage statistics, data, and information from the micromobility survey. The pilot project also demonstrates to the federal government Reno’s commitment to initiatives of this nature. It will probably assist in securing upcoming federal grants for long-term micromobility projects.
Graham said, “I like the concept, I like the idea, I like the effort that everyone’s making. I realize it takes a lot of people to do this. I think the bicycle community is getting behind it,”
According to Vice Mayor Devon Reese, downtown Reno is changing.
Reese declared, “Reno is not going to be the same it was 10 years ago,”
The city is constructing a large number of residential units in downtown, as well as to the east and west of the area. According to Reese, the needs of the city also evolve.
Credits: My News 4
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