Thursday, March 28, 2013

What does the Southeast Connector have to do with Lockwood?

Rendering from RTC web site of the new bridge for the Southeast Connector Project.

It runs north and south. It will bring considerable traffic to and from the area of Sparks now getting hot. A new shopping and entertainment center houses a plethora of high end outlets and recreational opportunities: Legends of Sparks. Problem is that its "way over there" to the rest of the area...until this road goes in. It brings the shopping center minutes away from the heavily populated South Reno neighborhoods, making Legends only a few minutes from most everywhere in the valley. 

It is called the Southeast Connector; more for its location than its direction. This morning, Channel 2's Early News show stressed the Open Meeting was tonight. Time would run from 4:30 to 7:00 pm.

I got there about 4:20, oxygen bottle in hand. I didn't plan well. In just a very few minutes, I realized that the planners had seen the value in extension of the current bike path (now The River Trail).
A very Spartan design, very minimal, and looking somewhat inconvenient for the recreating public. It takes long transition routes. But it is there! Cars 1, Bikes 0. Hikers and campers were not specifically mentioned. Nor was a launch area for tubers, canoes and the like. Parking? [Yes, there is the money thing. It is a priorities argument.]

I sat down about 5, expecting the show to get underway (shortly). Forty minutes later, I ran out of oxygen. My last small tank was in the red zone. I had barely enough to get to my van and hook up. I only had the big bottle I brought just in case. I thought I could just take deep breaths and manage. I was wrong. I was feeling weakness and began to get a headache. I decided to leave. It was nearly 6, and people were still milling around, no action onstage. If according to plan, it was to end in an hour. These things always run long. I was done. It was just to ambitious to think I would last and be able to add my two cents. Bad planning, but there wil be other meetings. I am on the mail list, I think.

I did take the handout info with me. It has URLs for further info: , and . I read everything. It comes off as a done deal, even though certain permits and real estate commitments are "still in process." Having already drilled through what I found beforehand, I began to wonder about this public relations event. We are interested folk and urged to contact Michael Moreno, RTC Public Information Officer, at for the latest. I may do that just for fun.

Wish I had stayed for the full tilt boogie. From the tone of the handout, general attitude of the attendees, and host project personnel, the real challenge is on the other end of this major road project (Phase 2). The River Trail is a low priority item to these folks. After all, there are golf courses real estate developments, government revenue, and lots of insider movement yet to come. The audience was full of guys in Levis that looked lost without their tape measure, plenty of older folk taking in their own interests, many who seemed to be obliged to attend, but not me.
There is an effort to get The River Trail to extend out to Lockwood, eventually to link Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. I join with my neighbors that like this idea and want to help see it realized. But first it must join Sparks with Lockwood. The River Trail web site has the trail climbing the cliffs on the north side of the freeway. Hope not, since there is already a road that runs from the water treatment plant on the river to very near the new Lockwood Trailhead Park. The River Trail web site has that Storey County is dragging its feet, property owners are being difficult, and expenses involved are too great. .

Once in Lockwood, after RUNNING IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE (up Peri Ranch Road), The River Trail will trunk with the run (now already in) from Mustang to Patrick (Reno-Tahoe Industrial Park).  

RTC designers went with a design for their trail, where the new Southeast Connection bridges over the Truckee River, that looks like an afterthought. Emphasis is on utility rather than economic potential. It is as though all involved missed how California grew along the freeways. So much potential. There will be races, people. International races. And not just at the new off road track. Those vehicles will no doubt be banned; as will other of road vehicles  But not granddad's golf cart! Or an upgrade to it.

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