Traffic study says bike path in front of Reno casinos would snarl traffic for blocks 

By: - February 25, 2022 5:45 am

Caesars owned casinos on Virginia Street use fake windows to try to make the blocks of inactivity more visually appealing. (Courtesy photos by Ayden Lawrence, Truckee Meadows Bicycle Alliance volunteer)

A study commissioned by RTC Washoe indicates traffic would be backed up for blocks if the City of Reno proceeds with an option to construct a bike path on Virginia Street.  

In November, the Current reported a previous $140,000 taxpayer-funded study of three alternatives, including Virginia Street, settled on Center Street as the best route. But a law firm representing casino hotels on Virginia Street flexed their muscle and sought a do-over “placemaker study.”   

reno bike path virginia street“Under existing traffic volumes, vehicle delay and queuing would significantly increase in the Virginia Street corridor,” says the report compiled by Headway Transportation, a traffic engineering firm commissioned by the RTC to study the Virginia Street option. Traffic simulation “indicates that, during peak travel times, northbound queuing from Maple Street would likely extend south beyond 5th Street.”

The report says it does not include an analysis of special event traffic or future traffic volumes when vehicular and pedestrian traffic may be higher and operations may be worse than discussed in this report.” It goes on to say some traffic may shift to other roads “if travel lanes are removed from Virginia Street.”

Attorney Michael Pagni of the law firm McDonald Carano, who represents Caesars Entertainment and other properties on Virginia Street, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

“We might be the only city in the nation without a bike path through downtown,” says Ky Plaskon of the Truckee Meadow Bike Alliance, noting planning for the original bike path location  on Center Street was already underway and is 30% complete. “As a reminder, the Reno City Council and RTC have delayed the Center Street Bike Path waiting for the Placemaking study it approved 6 months ago.” 

Plaskon says the $13 million dollar Center Street bike path proposal would “economically boost the entire downtown, make it safer and fill a massive need. They are subsidizing the studying of street improvements to benefit one casino company while denying economic development to the Center Street businesses.”

The Bike Alliance intends to meet Friday and send 200 letters to Center Street businesses informing them of the delays. 

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.