RTC Holds Open House on Keystone Avenue Corridor - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

RTC Holds Open House on Keystone Avenue Corridor

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After receiving public input, the Regional Transportation Commission has new proposals for improving one of Reno's busier roads. They have spent the last year gathering ideas on how to improve the Keystone Avenue Corridor, which runs from Coleman Drive down to California Avenue.

Thursday night, there was an open house at the McKinley Arts and Culture Center on Riverside Drive to discuss new design concepts with the public based on feedback from past meetings.

"I grew up off of Kings Row," said Scott Hall with the Nevada Bicycle Coalition. "So, I've been riding Keystone for 40 years."

People who live or use the corridor have some invested interest in the project, which looks to improve the overall safety and to make it more accessible for people with disabilities.

"Safety is our number one concern here," said Amy Cummings, RTC's Director of Planning. "This is a highly-used corridor. So, we want to make sure we have a design that reduces crashes as much as possible. We also want to make sure it's walkable, safe to walk and bike on."

People had a chance to give their opinions on the different design concepts like proposed bike routes along Keystone and Vine Street and ways to improve the Keystone/California Avenue intersection.

"We're looking at how to make (the intersection) operate more efficiently," Cummings said. "Make it a little easier for people to navigate. Right now, it's a confusing configuration."

RTC developed five different designs for that intersection. Each one will be more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly.

-Alternative A would make minor improvements like adding wider sidewalks and bike lanes to SOME parts along the road, and it would have the lowest cost. Like B, it would also connect "complete street" (allows safer access for automobiles, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit through cutting down travel lanes and adding bike lanes and wider sidewalks) sections of California Avenue. 
-Alternative B would add a roundabout to eliminate the Keystone connection to Foster Drive. Also, like C, D and E, would add new sidewalks and bike lanes to ALL parts of the road. 
-Alternative C would add a signalized intersection that would provide pedestrian protection at Booth Street.
-Alternative D would add a roundabout at Keystone/Booth and would eliminate the Keystone connection to California Avenue.
-Alternative E would have a modification to the existing design to accommodate larger vehicles and full pedestrian and bike movements.

Reno High students like Katie Gardner and Christina Harrison would like to see a roundabout added near the school.

"Traffic is horrible trying to get to and from school," Gardner said. "So, I think that would definitely help."

"Going to lunch, we just clog up Keystone, so that (roundabout) would keep things flowing," Harrison said.

"And, provide a way safely for the Reno High students to get up to California and out to Mayberry," Hall said.

A large part of Keystone has four lanes of traffic, which some say makes it hard for bicyclists and pedestrians to use. So, officials are looking to see whether people want to continue to share the road with them or make it a complete street.

"Bike lane, parking, turn lane in the middle, access," said David Fenimore, who lives near and rides his bicycle along the corridor. "Pedestrians feels safer because they're separated from the vehicular traffic. The bicyclists feel safer."

From here, RTC is continuing to take public comment on the design concepts. You can find more information and give your thoughts at http://www.rtcwashoe.com/section-planning.

Officials say the next steps are to review those comments, and then narrow and determine what the most preferred alternatives are. They will then do an analysis on those preferred alternatives, and then draft a corridor study report. RTC told us the earliest we could see any changes is in 2016 or 2017.

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