Reno VA Hospital Holds Community Meeting To Discuss Potential Ki - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reno VA Hospital Holds Community Meeting To Discuss Potential Kirman Avenue Closure

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The VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System in Reno is trying to keep its patients safer by closing off a portion of a major street.

“Kirman Avenue bisects our campus and as our facility grows and the neighborhood has grown, it's become a little dangerous for our veterans and for the community to be coming back and forth here,” says Arlee Fisher, the Reno VA Hospital's Facility Planner.

The VA is getting an abandonment proposal together for the City of Reno to possibly close a portion of Kirman Avenue.

"As part of our planning efforts, we took a look at the entrance of the hospital to Kirman Street," said Lisa Howard, Acting Director for the Reno VA Hospital. "We're looking at options for traffic flow and pedestrian flow."

The VA currently wants to take Kirman Avenue, between Belli Drive and Balzar Circle, and permanently close it to connect their campus to their parking area. They are also looking at how to re-divert traffic. Some of the options would be from Kirman to Taylor Street, out to Wells Avenue. Meanwhile, the other side of Taylor would lead out to Kietzke Lane.

However, at a community meeting Thursday night, many people were against closing Kirman.

"People could be hurt," said Debbie Smith, a resident and business owner in the area. "People would be confused about the driving conditions."

There was also a big discussion about how difficult it already is to find parking for both patients and residents.

"When people are looking for parking spaces, they're not looking for balls rolling out in the streets and kids chasing it," Smith said.

The VA was open to suggestions from overpasses and underpasses to traffic control devices on Kirman. Albert Weise, Jr. was also against closing Kirman. So instead, he suggested putting in a bike lane and making the sidewalks bigger for pedestrians.

"The people getting on and off the city buses, and the veterans that have to ride their wheelchairs on the street because there's not enough room on some of the sidewalks."

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) group emphasizes safety, and supports the proposal, as long as there is a compromise between all parties involved.

"So that we can get more safety provisions in some way, shape or form put in place on Kirman," said Caleb Harris, Legislative Officer for the DAV. "At the same time, we don't want to impact the community and the surrounding neighborhood in a negative way."

After a few more meetings with residents, the VA will make a final draft of their proposal, and hope to have that done by October.

"Tonight was all about getting community input," Howard said. "That is what we will incorporate, tonight's meeting, next month's meeting, and to our formal proposal, which may or may not include closing the street."

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