The Carson Street controversy will revisit city government Thursday evening.
Carson City’s Board of Supervisors is set to take up the issue of narrowing Carson Street traffic from four lanes to two downtown. It will undergo review during a rare evening meeting that caps normal day’s sessions.
“I think the board wants to hear from the downtown people,” said Mayor Robert Crowell. He said he expects the evening to encompass testimony, without final action. “This is an issue that’s driven by the downtown businesses.”
He also said that, as the agenda points out, residents have voiced both pros and cons.
Among those opposed is Bob Lamkin of Bob’s Shell Service, whose business at 705 N. Carson St. is in the area between Fifth Street on the south and Ann Street to the north where traffic would be narrowed to one lane north and one south.
That would be done by repainting street directional striping. Iron sidewalk fences that protect pedestrians would come down, with parallel parking allowed.
Lamkin and others opposing the project have gathered petition signatures against it, garnering nearly 3,000 with some two-thirds of them reportedly those of Carson City voters. In addition, there was an informal petition representing Carson City businesses that oppose the changes.
Opponents have said it will prove a bottleneck, send additional traffic to other north-south thoroughfares, cost the city gas-tax revenue and hurt businesses, and shouldn’t be done at least until the freeway bypass is completed in a few years.
Petition signatures from businesses and people favoring the change also were gathered by Doreen Mack, an interior decor businesswoman, who has spoken for the plan on several occasions. She worked with Carson City government staffers to put the plan together for consideration this year.
Mack has said downtown businesses are hurting and need a walkable community in their area. She recalls the 1960s and ’70s, when a pedestrian-friendly situation prevailed.
Weeks ago, she said she had support from more than 40 businesses and that signatures were being gathered as well from other plan supporters.
The Public Works Department held a workshop on the proposal March 14 at which Lamkin, Mack and others spoke, trading views on the pros and cons at length. Four members of the city’s policy-making board were on hand, as were some high-level city staffers.