PHOTO/FRANK X. MULLEN: Virginia Street through downtown Reno is now a one-way going south due to a temporary bicycle lane that opened last month.

Reno’s  “The Future of Virginia Street” survey is live for community members to share their current Virginia Street experience as part of planning the future of the city’s core thoroughfare.

Data collected from the survey will be used to develop a draft vision and set of goals for the future of Virginia Street as part of the Virginia Street Placemaking Study, officials said. The study is being conducted by Gehl, an urban design and research consultancy.  

The survey is available in English and Spanish and will be open for four-six weeks, pending the number of responses received within the first four weeks. 

Officials said community engagement – an essential piece of the placemaking study – will be broken into two phases. The survey marks the beginning of Phase 1, which consists of information gathering and analysis. In Phase 2, individuals will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft vision, provided by Gehl based on Phase 1 research. 

Ultimately, Gehl will create a community-driven plan for street design and programming options, which City staff will present to the Reno City Council for review and approval. The latest updates about the plan may be found online.

The downtown portion of Virginia Street is the site of transportation experiment. Virginia Street is now a southbound one-way street for motor vehicles from the city’s core to Liberty Street. The street’s vehicle travel lanes were reduced to make way for a pop-up bike lane project. Those lanes were created after casino interests suggested bike lanes on that main street and a years-long university-to-Midtown cycle track on Center Street was put on hold.

The survey doesn’t mention the pop-up lanes or bicycle transportation. Instead it has multiple-choice questions about why and how often survey respondents do downtown and what they would like to see there in the future. The questionnaire also has spaces for open-ended comments.

‘Placemaking’ announced last year

In September of 2021, the Reno City Council approved funding to conduct a study to provide a cohesive and regional vision for the future of Virginia Street and downtown Reno. The goal of the placemaking study is to create a vision for a downtown corridor where locals and visitors want to spend their time, according to city officials.

The city selected Gehl to oversee and facilitate the placemaking study “based on their approach to human-centered research and digital data to document the experience of place,” officials said.

The success of the study, they said, relies on community and stakeholder input and feedback. Planners want to understand the goals, aspirations, and challenges the community sees for Virginia Street and how residents envision the future of Downtown. 

The Virginia Street placemaking study process will take approximately 6 months to complete. Upon completion of the study, Gehl will provide a concept design narrative and implementation, phasing, and financing plan for the preferred conceptual street design and programming options. Following that, the plan will be presented to the Reno City Council for review and approval. 

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3 Comments

  1. Get rid of the e-scooters. Those people are complete idiots and are constantly in the way of cars.

  2. A parking lot or parking garage would be necessary in order to sustain business expansion, Somewhere in the heart of midtown. no parking kills alot of potential business.

  3. What has been done to Virginia Street is a joke! The bike lane accomplishes nothing….asking for a car/bike collision. We need to focus on beautifying downtown Reno, not making it a laughing stock. So many businesses are shut down plus the few that remain are a preponderance of pawn shops, liquor stores, and convenience stores. I have lived in Reno since the 60’s. There were exciting shopping experiences such as Gray Reid’s, Penney’s, Woolworth’s, Magnins, Lloyd Gotchy’s, Parker’s Western Wear, and so many other stores and restaurants. Why in the world would anyone want to even go to downtown Reno? Please trash the bike lane, one way street idea and make Virginia Street great again….a place where people would want to visit!

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