So many good things happened last week! I am officially qualified as a candidate for Town Council (yay!) AND the Planning Commission and Council both agreed to move forward with policies on street trees and protected bike lanes! These are both concrete actions we can take to get folks out of their cars, and walking and biking through town. I am so excited that my persistence finally got this item on the Staff agenda! The following (non-local) picture was included in the draft of the Community Character Element:

Example of pedestrian oriented design.

The above picture has: street trees within 4 feet of the edge of pavement, a hard edged curb to protect pedestrians, street furniture, outdoor seating, flowers, umbrellas, a bike rack, bike rentals, pedestrian food cart, deep entryways in the middle ground and attractive street lighting. So then let’s contrast it to the picture 16 pages later, of our current pedestrian facilities:

Donner Pass Road pedestrian improvements.

This has: no trees between the sidewalk and road, roll up curbs that can be driven over, and some pretty brick crosswalks. I 100% agree that it is way better than what we had before (no sidewalks at all) but would love to move the design to something that will attract users and simultaneously slow cars along this part of our main road! And speaking of slowing cars… My dear friend sent me this picture of protected bike lanes in Reno.

5th Street in Reno,NV by Kim Nolan.

Reno has created these doubly protected bike lanes! Not only are there removable plastic bollards, but the parked cars are between the cyclists and the moving traffic! Neither of these options requires more space than we already have in many places on Donner Pass Road. And both provide a much safer experience for the timid cyclist and even kids who want to ride through town! And as mentioned above, this method of protecting cyclists also works as traffic calming, keeping road speeds at, or below, the speed limit, win-win!

So good news all around, and we’ll have to keep a close eye on these as they develop, because, as always, the devil is in the details! So excited for the possibilities!

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