Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kingsbury South to Kingsbury North Run.

In the interest of changing up my running schedule / difficulty / and just getting out.  Sunday morning included this little jaunt.  I had a friend that I was able to set up a shuttle with for the return trip but you could always drop a bike at one end and ride back via the surface streets (although there will be some serious hills).  The run itself is beautiful with views of the lake periodically, wonderful rolling terrain and winding turns.  That's not to say that there aren't some steep hills that will make you think your lungs are going to pop....but you can always just power hike these sections as you need.  Anyway, if you haven't been out to enjoy the fall weather this is a great little route to do it!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Glaring Change in the Air.

The picture above may be out of focus....but it's probably about what a driver heading East into the morning sunrise sees through a dirty windshield.  So while your first concern this time of year might be the extra layers you're throwing on to combat the chilly morning temperatures, be extra vigilant as its also the time of year where a drivers most common excuse is the old "I didn't see them" line.  So ride safe and beware the glare.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Back to the Future Party!

The ride home from work yesterday was about as perfect as you can get.  Just beautiful fall weather!  So I thought I would extend my ride a bit and head down to the Reno Homebrewer for a beer and catch up with some friends.  Anyhow, after a beautiful sunset and a nice Great Basin Tectonic IPA I was planning on riding up the hill for home....until the parking lot started filling up with groups of people.

Turns out there was a Back to the Future Party just down the street.  If you didn't know, yesterday was the day that Marty McFly went to in Back to the Future II (the farthest date forward in the movies).  Sooo....of course I had to check it out.

The DeLorean that a local Reno doctor has spec'ed out exactly like the car in the movie!

Doc Brown in the radiation suit!

Even Back to the Future themed art!

Turn out was huge!

Inside you could watch the movie in a couple converted 1950 convertible "couch cars".  The space was really cool and may be a themed bar in the near future!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How Important are Bikes....They're Top Stories in the Wall Street Journal!

Ok, ok....so it's just another publication on the helmet debate.  Which by the way, I'm not getting into.  I wear one 98 percent of the time and that works for me.  Sometimes when I'm just cruising around town, I don't.  Do whatever works for you. 

The point is that bicycles are in the news (even places like the Wall Street Journal) on a regular basis these days.  Bike share programs like the one that the City of Reno are researching are a big part of the conversation (they're in the pic above), protected bike ways are in the papers regularly for big cities designing for the future (like the picture above), and helmet laws are being debated all over the place under the guise of safety (it is statistically safer to drive with a helmet on....no one wants a law like that either).  The point is that cities of merit are having these conversations and building with real attention to future modes of transportation.  My question is are you paying attention Reno City Council and RTC!?


Interestingly enough, the City Council is currently voting on a  plan for Reno's future (see the ktvn report below).  While it's good they are "thinking" about the future....the topics they list are so vague that the vote seems like only an act to appear to be doing the "thinking".  Ironically, I'm sure they'll have a unanimous vote with all council members and the Mayor for "preparing" for Reno's future....only a week or so after voting to rebuild Midtown with standards that have been the status quo for the last 50 years!

KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Monday, October 19, 2015

RenOpen Streets and Beer Bonanza!

Well kids.  This weekend was the inaugural RenOpen Streets and despite the rainy start, I'd say it was a big success.  Two miles of closed to traffic streets, a large number of vendors and groups with booths and activities.  Even some new Burning Man bicycle art!

Personally, my day started a bit after 11 am with some tea from Hub's new Tea Shop on Riverside.  Followed by a slow walk and then bike ride through the closed areas. 

New Bicycle Art at the Lear Theater!

Reno Bike Project Bike Swap!

Caught in the act of grabbing blog photos by another blogger (Reno-Rambler).  And yes, I look this dopey before I have beer.  It only gets worse from here on out!

By about 1 pm our little group had made it to Good Fellows for a "few" Ballast Point beers.  Lunch at the Depot followed and then it was over to IMBIB for their self imposed barrel beer tap take over to round out the day.

Ballast Point tap takeover at Goodfellow.

All in all the best way to cram as much bicycles and beer into a day as a person can handle!!  I hope that your weekend was a bikey and boozy as mine!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Complete Streets Meeting....

Well, I headed out to the meeting last night.  It was the regular RTC crew and a bunch of the regular cycling advocates.  RTC had maps for the entire region with post its to add comments about what we'd like to see.  The maps were covered before an hour was up.

The work flow on this chart kind of bothers me.  The Level of Service (LOS) analysis happens before the analysis for Complete Streets!?  Level of service is a measurement of how long cars have to wait to get through an intersection....an ancient standard that takes only vehicle traffic into account.  This diagram suggests that Complete Streets analysis can only take place if the LOS is currently acceptable.  However, the modern logic is if we had a complete street that serviced alternate travel modes better...then there would be less vehicle traffic and the LOS would improve!  See the problem!?

Not the busiest meeting, but still well attended.

Interestingly, our favorite Junkie owner was in attendance (and yes, I do genuinely like her on a personal level) and stayed at the table with the Midtown map.  One of my friends joked that she was guarding it....  However, when another cyclist added some comments, she and Jessica began to talk.  Since we're currently looking at only Sharrows through midtown, the topic of what speed limit the region will get is still up in the air.  To my pleasant surprise, Jessica is pushing for the lowest option on the table (15mph)!  This is great news because I suspect that RTC and City Council aren't really planning for it to be that slow.  Perhaps if Great Streets Coalition plays it's cards right and gets the other business owners to realize the slower limit will allow people to "find" their stores and use all that on street parking, we might just get it pushed through.

Anyway, that was the first meeting.  So far so good.  Hopefully, RTC and City Council members truly have the vision to build out a complete set of complete streets in our city!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Come tell City of Reno we want Complete Streets Everywhere!

Complete Streets meeting is tonight at the Discovery Museum from 5-7 pm!!!!

City Council just decided that Virginia Street would not be designed as a complete street because a couple business owners think ~30 parking spots are more important than the benefits listed below.  Let's make a showing at the meeting tonight and remind council members that they are doing our community a disservice every time they let a street get build without these benefits!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Perfect Beer and Bikes Opportunity!


And it's the same day as RenOpen Streets.  So since you'll already be out on your bike make sure to do the detour out 2nd Street.  They really are making the best beer in Reno and this is a perfect chance to prove it to yourself!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Want a Great Street in Midtown....Get to the Council Meeting tomorrow!!!!

Well folks....it time for the final showdown.  The vote to see if we get a truly Great Street in Midtown is tomorrow. The agenda item is J3 (see below) and will have the option for public comments if you fill out a comment card ahead of time (slated for a presentation time of 3:30 pm).

I'd make a joke about the fact that it's less important to council than J2 (the shade of grey we're going to paint the new Virginia Street bridge....but it just depressing that it might be true).

The Players...

The previous discussion from the July Meeting:
Discussion ensued regarding Option B as presented by RTC, and how it could be
refined during the design process to provide additional parking, perhaps on nearby
surface lots or on side streets; having the City provide guidance to RTC with
respect to the City's priorities; turn lanes and bicycle safety; lane sharing with
automobiles and bicycles; time lines associated with RTC's 2017-2018
construction plans; the possibility of replacing the parking spaces eliminated by
the project; and lowering the speed limit in the project area to15 or 25 miles per hour.
Council Member Duerr requested that RTC bring back displays depicting the entire project.

It was moved by Council Member Jardon, seconded by Council Member
Duerr to select Option B as the preferred alternative with: 1) an evaluation
of off-street surface parking lot availability and side-street diagonal parking possibilities; 2) an increase in the number of street trees and reconsideration of their spacing; 3) direction to RTC to bring back large displays of the entire project that will highlight the continuity of the bicycle lanes and how traffic will flow; 4) an analysis of lowering the speed limit without adversely affecting traffic or causing other safety issues; 5) working with the Great Streets Coalition; and 6) doing all of
these things within a reasonable amount of time that will allow RTC to stay within the federal grant application time frames.

Mr. Gibson summarized by saying that RTC should work to keep some level of
on-street parking, work to minimize conflicts, look at the speed issues, look to capture and utilize off-street sites for parking as well as looking at side-street parking opportunities, and attempt to put it all together in drawings that seek to demonstrate that we can have effective access for businesses, maximize pedestrian opportunities, and handle the parking question. We need to reiterate that we have reached out and talked to developers who own off-street lots, and they have plans to put buildings on those sites. There is a set number today, but there will likely be an increase in the demand for parking over time because Midtown is a regional asset that will continue to grow. We will do our engineering work, flesh out Option B, examine the cost/benefit of off-street parking sites, and report back.

Council Member Brekhus asked if a bike lane or lanes were included in the motion, and Council Member Jardon stated that they were not included in the motion.  Council Member Bobzien discussed his preference for exploring the opportunity of removing additional parking and finding side-street parking opportunities now.
Council Member Jardon said that Option B reduces on-street parking by 50%, which is the compromise the Midtown merchants prefer.  Motion carried with Council Members Bobzien and Brekhus voting nay.

There are a number things wrong with the discussion and with what was voted on and I'll point out just a few.

OPTION B isn't really an RTC design to start with and was originally designed by the originators of the Great Streets Coalition at my kitchen table.  It was only to be implemented in the section north of Vasser St. where bike lanes are hard to fit.

It was added by the Great Streets Group as a compromise option to both cyclists and business owners... loosing ~30 % of the on street parking (Naoma Jardon is once again wrong on facts stating a 50 % reduction) in exchange for wider sidewalks, street trees, benches, and a 15-20 mph speed limit with Sharrows in the lanes and pocket turn lanes. RTC modified option B and dropped the reduced speed limits and extended this design (in place of bike lanes) much farther south.

Item 4 (from highlighting above)... lowering traffic speed limits NEVER causes safety issues!?...it always helps for vehicles, bikes, or just pedestrians!  And since when is slowing traffic down in a business district that whats people to stop and shop a bad thing?

Item 5 (from highlighting above)... RTC hasn't interacted with Great Streets for design ideas since that time....or BPAC for that matter.

Mr. Gibson (Head of RTC) states there will be an increase in demand for parking in the future (with the implied note we should address it now).  WORST statement by Lee in a while!  If this were true all new roads in Reno every city should be build as 4 lanes with center turn lanes (veritable highways) to accommodate "future" traffic growth (which in reality isn't really occurring).  The real facts are that RTC (and cities all over the country) have been reducing traffic lanes through road diets (complete streets) and they carry traffic just as effectively or better than before, and make our neighborhoods and cities more walkable, bikeable, and enjoyable!

Anyway...that's just a few of my pet peeves.

Here's my guess on how the vote for "Option B" will fall...
(No = Vote for a true Complete Street, Yes = Vote against a true Complete Street)

Mayor Scheive:  Yes
Bozien:  No
Brekhus: No
Buerr: Yes
Delgado: Yes
Mckenzie: Yes
Jardon: Yes

So really, no change since the meeting in July despite months of work, a series of public meetings that showed the people who use Midtown want bike lanes, business developers who ask for bike lanes, and repeated documentation that parking is currently only a perceived problem in Midtown.

Its unfortunate, but due to a few business owners (not even building owners in most cases) who have council members ears....we'll end up with a missed opportunity to build a truly Great Street to live with for the next 50 years.

If you still want to try to force their hands....please make an effort to get to the council meeting and put in your two cents!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Fantastic!

I've probably take this same picture while riding down 1st Street about 10 times.  It never gets old....cruising into downtown on the way to work.  Perfect fall weather, nice bike lane, low traffic.  Doesn't get much better than this.  My alternative is get in my truck and head down 80 through the Spaghetti Bowl to 395 and fighting traffic on Mill St..... 

How would anyone choose to do that when you can get a little exercise, catch a cup of coffee at Hub Coffee and just enjoy the morning!?  If this sounds even close to good...you might want try fall bike commuting!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bikes and Coffee....Yep, its a Thing!

RenOpen Streets is Oct. 17th!!!

I know that this has been posted by Reno-Rambler and others already....but I'd be remiss if it didn't repost it!  The event is Oct. 17th from 10 am to 3 pm.  Details here.  So come on down and run, ride, stroll, play some frisbee, hula hoop, roller blade, or just hang out and hit up some of the great businesses and restaurants! 

OMG...I Rode a Bike!

Wow....it's been a while since I've had a bike in the office (only a couple times in the last 2 weeks).  Which yeah, means I've been driving to work.  The reason of course is that my shoulder has continued to bother me since I lost my game of Bike vs. Car.  It's even more depressing because as you can see the bike is stripped down to it's cyclocross mode and the shoulder appears to be making any racing only a grumpy afterthought.

However, things do seem to be improving....and it's not like I haven't been getting out on the bike for a few trips to midtown breweries lately.  And the bike is sitting in front of me as I write!  So let this be my official rant on getting back on the bike, for what ever reason has been stopping you!!!

Here's my list of reasons we should all be riding:

The weather is cooling off perfectly.
395 construction is wrapping up...so traffic is lighter on surface streets.
Its just fun (something I forgot a little bit while driving).
Driving in rush hour sucks....it really does take me longer to drive than ride!
You feel better all day long.
You'll be healthier!
Etc, etc, etc!!!

So grab the bike and get back out there!