King of the Road
As Clark County Commissioners keep churning through the development code book, updating, maintaining or eliminating rules and regs in a laborious process known as Retooling Our Code, they’ve finally reached an issue that people who aren’t developers might actually care about.
(That’s a bit harsh. I’m sure there have been some important revisions but I’m having a hard time concentrating today.)
Anyway, where was I headed? Oh yes, the width of residential streets in unincorporated Clark County. The current standard width for urban local access roads is 28 feet, curb to curb. That allows for two 8-foot-wide parking lanes and one 12-foot-wide travel lane (for two-way traffic).
Steve Schulte, transportation manager for Clark County Public Works, said parking lanes are not typically full (because many people park in their garage and driveway) so there’s room for one driver to pull aside and let another driver pass.
Staff recommends the status quo, which was endorsed by Commissioner Marc Boldt at a Feb. 29 work session. Commissioner Steve Stuart wasn’t at the session but has been supportive of the width.
Mielke, however, would like to see new urban local access streets that are 36 feet wide, the same width as the “neighborhood circulator” streets (the streets that transition from arterials to residential). Those streets have 8-foot-wide parking lanes and a 20-foot-wide travel lane that is typically striped. The wider streets are favored by firefighters.
“This is very important to me,” Mielke wrote in a March 5 email in response to Schulte’s work session memorialization.
Mielke doesn’t always come down on the side of firefighters — take private bridges, for instance — and usually favors making development less expensive.
A roomier road means a bigger price tag for developers, more street to maintain at taxpayer expense and more impervious surface adding to the county’s stormwater woes.
Wider streets also tend to encourage drivers to go faster than neighborhood speed limits, Schulte said.
But Mielke does represent residents who drive awfully big trucks.
Will Mielke sway Boldt or Stuart to see things his way? We’ll have to wait for a public hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 24.