Bike path, crosswalk funding on agenda

A new path along Carson Street between Colorado and Stewart streets and installation of flashing lights at a crosswalk that was the scene of a fatal accident are among the street improvements planned for Carson City.

If approved by regional transportation commissioners at tonight's meeting, the bicycle and pedestrian path will run on the east side of Carson Street. It will be built in conjunction with a planned Nevada Department of Transportation widening of the street from four to six lanes. The project is scheduled for next year.

The state had already planned a sidewalk 5 feet in width, but if the commission approves the funding - approximately $22,000 - it would more than double. A bike path north of Colorado Street has already been incorporated in the city's bicycle master plan.

"We would pay to go from 5 feet to 12 feet," said street operations manager John Flansberg. "At a later date we might put in a grant request for (landscaping) enhancements."

The improved crosswalk, which would resemble safety crosswalks at Reno-Tahoe International Airport, would carry a bill of $20,000, the commission staff said.

The flashing lights would be embedded in the pavement at the 40-foot-wide crosswalk, impervious to weather and snow plows. They would be activated by buttons on both sides of Roop street.

"This is a recently federally approved system," Flansberg said. "Because there is a fair amount of foot traffic between Mills Park, the community center and the library, it seemed like a good place for it."

He said the system may be duplicated in other high-traffic areas if it proves to be cost-effective.

The dangers of that section of Roop Street were highlighted by a pedestrian death in 1999.

Jerry Joe Jenkins, a self-employed construction worker, ran through a crosswalk on July 4, 1999, on Roop Street near the Carson City Library and struck Brenda Jarman, 41. Jarman died later at Washoe Medical Center.

She and three family members were on their way to watch the fireworks show at Mills Park. Her son Derek Austin injured his knee as he ran out of the way of Jenkins' pickup.

Jenkins is currently serving up to 20 years in prison for drunken driving, causing the death.

Both the bike/pedestrian path and crosswalk fall under the "safety projects" budget. Each year the commission approves funding of projects under $30,000 designed to improve traffic and pedestrian safety.

Because no similar projects were funded last year, leftover money spilled over into this year's budget.

What: Regional Transportation Commission

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 831 William St.


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