Urban renewal and accesibility improvements are interrelated activities—unless you live in Reno…Sadly.

April 5th, 2014, 9pm

It was 11.7°C with few clouds. The breeze was light.

The multi-family building boom around the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) could be a great opportunity to enhance the lives of all Reno residents—those around the campus and those forced to commute to northern Nevada’s largest employer. The infrastructure sourounding the campus is ripe for modernization. Functionally approaching the end of its operational lifespan it’s being pushed beyond design capacity.

Additionally, the area has been subject to very poor or nonexistent urban planning for more than 50 years. It has inadequate traffic flow patterns; poor, non-existent or dangerous streetscapes and a paucity of quality grocery outlets. Essentially, the University sourroundings are mostly unplaned and blighted. Sadly for Reno, city leaders think urban planning is simply the bulldozing of sagebrush at the city’s periphery for suburban expansion.

From a sustainable city perspective, encouraging a density increase is a great way to reduce the traffic impact of the UNR campus. It is better to encourage an increase in density around UNR than build more freeways, widen on-off ramps and build more parking lots. It is far wiser to encourage a walk-to-work ethos than buy ridiculously expensive electric busses, fund silly ride-share programs or buy carpool commuting vans.

Sadly, stop-gap and superficial mitigation is what Reno does.

Spending millions on utilitity upgrades while ripping up North Virginia St, Valley Road, Wells, for sewer lines, then returning those streetscapes to their previously inadequate state.

Millions are being expended to allow a few big corporations to build their closed apartment complexes—the neighborhood be damned!

Why not bury the morass of power lines and poles so people can actually walk down the sidewalks. Why not bring the sidewalks up to modern standards (code) so people with children, those with limited vision or mobility to transit safely? Return those full-sized sidewalks that were stolen or shrunk to nothing back in era of automobile bullies? Install nubs to allow safer bus boarding? Why not pinch the intersections so pedestrians can safely cross the roads, while cars don’t need to stop on the pedestrian crossing to see oncoming traffic? How about more properly designed pedestrian crossing points along the railway spur?

Reno, it’s time to recognize we need to provide reduced tax rates for urban renewal within the McCarran circle. Urban renewal funded through adequate billing for the true cost of peripheral surburban sprawl—plus a rural destruction fine. We need to ensure infrastructure and utility upgrades forced on us by those massive corporate multi-family projects are done in conjunction with streetscape renovations and other neighborhood enhancements.

Anne Marie, David Wade and Conor said thanks.

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