The University of Nevada, Reno, recently approved a proposal made by the Truckee Meadows Bicycle Alliance to create a physically separated bicycle track along Center Street between the University and Midtown Reno. This proposal is made to promote safety for cyclists and encourage others to consider commuting to campus by bike.
Students are considering other modes of transportation to campus after president Marc Johnson approved an increase in parking permit fees for the 2018-2019 academic year. Permits such as Yellow parking permits for the residence halls are anticipated to see an increase in prices by 37.5 percent, while reserved silver permits will increase by 43 percent.
“As parking fees increase and parking around campus gets more crowded, growing numbers of UNR students, faculty, and staff are considering cycling as an inexpensive, healthy transportation alternative,” volunteer with the Truckee Meadows Bicycle Alliance, Joanna Trieger said in a post on NSights.
In order for this proposal to move forward, Trieger expressed in her post that members of the Reno City Council have asked TMBA to gauge the appetite for the proposed safe cycle route among the university community, especially students. Therefore, the TMBA set up a survey to determine exactly how many students would benefit from a physically separated bicycle track.
As of Sunday, April 1, the survey garnered 674 responses. According to TMBA Chair John McCann, approximately 12 percent of respondents indicated they usually use a bicycle to get to Downtown and Midtown.
The survey also indicated that 80 percent of respondents would ride their bike more frequently if a physically separated bike lane were installed. Whereas 43 percent of respondents would prefer a green paint bike lane and 24 percent of respondents would ride their bike in a white stripe-only bike lane.
“Our proposal is an important demonstration project which would allow Reno to demonstrate a commitment to progressive and environmentally friendly planning while also providing an opportunity for residents and visitors to demonstrate that cycling is a viable transportation alternative when infrastructure is adequate to remove the ‘lack of safety’ barrier,” McCann said. “This [survey] strongly supports our position that this sort of project would lead to measurably increased use of bicycles for commuting between the university and Midtown.”
Furthermore, the bike riding service Bikeshare will be available to Reno residents starting in May. The service is anticipated to be in select areas of the Truckee Meadows, including the university and surrounding neighborhoods.
“[…] is important to clarify that our proposal does not include the removal of parking from our proposed route. We know that parking is very important businesses and residents given the current transportation paradigm,” McCann said. “While improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure would decrease the need for vehicle parking in the long run, we hope to preserve parking as part of our demonstration project.”
McCann says that several major organizations and businesses have submitted letters of support for TMBA’s proposal.