Wednesday, February 4, 2015
How to Revive a River Trail.
The Reno Rambler wrote a nice piece on the eastern portion of the River trail yesterday (click here for it). The question is how to address this great resource before it slips away. There are issues with trail maintenance, lighting, and homeless camps.
This isn't a new topic on this blog. Over the years I've tackled the lighting problem. The parks and rec department responds in very short order and can get 80+ percent of the lights replaced. They don't have the resources to monitor them....but if you call, they get out and replace the bulbs that are out (each post is numbered if you care to do this). The problem is that people find it entertaining to knock them out again. The other 20 percent of the posts have been vandalized or stripped of wire and are more costly repairs that the city simply doesn't prioritize.
I'll be honest...I used to monitor and call, and for a couple years the lights stayed on. I eventually tired of the duty and they are probably mostly out again.
The homeless camps along the path are related to the lighting issue....and are their own issue as well. I've spent many hours emailing Reno PD, Reno City Council members, Reno City Managers. They all send great email responses and the lip service the issues get makes you think they are all up for reelection later that week. Unfortunately, very few real resources even materialize from these folks.
In the end it's a so many bicycle projects, so few people who care issue. There are groups like BPAC that work the logistics and make recommendations but it takes real leadership at the city level to get these types of issues addressed.
To date the best solution is pictured above...an if you build it they will come approach. This morning I noticed there is activity next door to Silver Peak Slice and the Ball Park on what was a vacant lot. If you look carefully you can see the homeless camps below. While I'm not a fan of big business development...it does tend to bring people to the location and this moves the homeless to other locations. So if we see some updated development along the river corridor, I'm guessing the river path will see some revival. Anyway, that's one thought on how to move things along. Unfortunately, it just relocates the problem...and isn't a true solution.
As you can see above, the problem spans the length of the path and not every location is going to be "developed" to draw people. So....what's the long term answer? I'm not sure we know, but it's definitely worth some thought and an application of pressure on our city leaders.