Editorial: at least bike paths are an issue

The folks who are worried Carson City's freeway might be built without bike paths and pedestrian trails are getting some deserved attention from state and city officials.

As we've said before, residents will long regret it if the bypass is built as a barrier the length of Carson City without planning for both paths and landscaping.

As much as we want the freeway, we also want it to be done right.

"It's not appropriate to have a rain forest from one end to the other," said Supervisor Jon Plank. "But it's no more appropriate to have bare dirt from one end to the other, either."

That dirt-and-asphalt image is the one feared by groups such as Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides and Muscle Powered, who are lobbying hard for a bypass that's not just for cars and trucks.

On Tuesday, Nevada Department of Transportation officials gave some solid indications they are thinking hard of ways to build a bike path into their plans. The hardest part remains how much it will cost, and who will pay for it.

Neverthless, we applaud NDOT for recognizing that the issue is on the table. Our loudest applause is for GROW and the others, including some at City Hall, who have insisted that it be on the table.

As NDOT looks at ways to cut costs from an initial $7.5 million, Muscle Powered has offered a plan estimated at $2 million. Still, it's $2 million nobody has.

So Marv Teixeira, a member of the city's Regional Transportation Commission, has broached the possibility of extending the nickel gas tax that is helping to pay for the freeway itself. It's certainly an idea worth exploring, because two or three years of gas tax in 2012 might be enough to pay for the paths we want.

It's not settled yet, obviously. But we're encouraged that the ideas are flowing.


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