Fourth Street bike lanes were a big win for Reno cyclists.
Fourth Street bike lanes were a big win for Reno cyclists.

The start of the next phase of the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway—a three-mile path in Verdi—marks the last of several 2012 local bike lane projects. The Fourth Street bike thoroughfare was approved (“Changing lanes,” June 21), “green lanes” (often used synonymously with “bike lanes”) were installed on Moana Lane, and local cyclists are hopeful that projects slated for 2013, including reconstructions of Neil Road and Terminal Way, West Plumb Lane and Sutro Street, will provide more alternative routes throughout the city.

But it’s not enough yet, says Jeremy Buchmann, founder of BikeReno.net. Buchmann started BikeReno.net in 2008, inspired after BikePortland.org, a popular website about bicycling efforts in Portland, Ore. Buchmann, an avid cyclist and a computer software engineer, wanted to fill a niche by following bike policy and projects.

“2012 was a decent year, but also disappointing in several ways,” says Buchmann. “The horribly unsafe section of Plumas Street was finally addressed—although not without some friction—and we got a new cycletrack on Nichols [Boulevard] in Sparks. On the downside, the promised bike path on southeast McCarran [Boulevard] has been delayed even though the road widening was completed—they were supposed to be completed at the same time—and the Moana [Lane] bike lanes make you feel like you’re riding a bike on a freeway. And there’s still no cohesion to the bike-related projects. There’s a new half-mile of bike lane here, another half-mile over there, but no effort to connect anything and create meaningful routes, which means that the new half-mile of bike lane is useless.”

He notes that “cycling in Reno isn’t too bad. I can do it year-round, and there are a lot of opportunities for different styles of riding—recreational, commuting, mountain.”

Buchmann says that Reno can follow examples set by other Western cities, including San Francisco and Portland, to encourage biking as a feasible alternative to driving.

“While riding in San Francisco recently, there were times when I was riding in a small peloton of commuting cyclists,” he says. “It was liberating.”

He also says that it’s good for business because a good bike infrastructure attracts people willing to invest in the local economy.

“Occasionally, I receive emails from people who are interested in moving here for a job or whatever else, and want to know how bike-friendly Reno is,” says Buchmann. “One of the things I wish I could get across to decision-makers is that bike [and] pedestrian infrastructure is an investment, not a burden. And it’s not just an investment in transportation for a few, it’s an investment in talent. … These are the people who research the quality of life in prospective cities and care about what a city is doing to make itself more livable. These are the people we want and need, and they don’t want to live in a city where they’re afraid to walk or bike anywhere.”

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