For the tens of thousands of people who drive through the intersection at Pyramid Way and McCarran Boulevard, last Monday was likely just another day of driving through road construction in the Reno/Sparks area. Most probably had a delay of a few minutes or less, or they may have avoided the area and taken a different route altogether, or perhaps, even found an alternative time to leave work or home, simply to avoid any delays as the construction project entered the first week.
To many who rely upon this artery to get them from home to work and vice versa, the intersection is simply one more bone of contention citizens have with the government. One impassioned resident anonymously summed up their feelings by stating, “What a waste of taxpayer dollars to make the turns on/from Pyramid easier but keep the same straight through a mess!”
They went on to opine about the safety of the intersection, “Nearly all the crashes have been simple rear-enders, and that’s in the turn lane going South on Pyramid, turning right onto McCarran. Then when they changed the yellow flashing lights to allow cars to turn while oncoming does not stop (at Queens way (sic)) that caused a few major wrecks. Stupid idea!”
However, there are many who are impacted by the project in a more personal way, the residents of the neighborhoods where the houses were razed, full-grown healthy trees were cut down and others have been trimmed so much they scarcely resemble the beautiful shade providers they once were, and where quiet streets have been replaced by racing traffic and construction trucks.
Karen Swope, a resident of the area since 1982, expressed concern as she wondered whether crime would go up in the area during construction and after, “I watched out for the neighbors, and they watched out for me.” Swope, a retired school music teacher pointed to a lock on her front gate as she spoke, and motioned across the street at the now empty lots filled with excavation equipment and a few remaining piles of rubble, previously homes of her friends and neighbors.
Swope conveyed concern as she talked about the increase in traffic going past her house, “I don’t have small children, but that gray house down the street does,” she pointed down the street, as if on cue, two young children on riding toys emerged onto the sidewalk. She appeared nostalgic as she recited the names and pointed out each ghostly lot where her friends lived, and where Jared, the boy she taught in school lived, all of them now just memories.
Reina Rosales does not live with the construction facing her yard and front window daily, the way Karen Swope and many others do, but she found herself in for a big shock the first time she tried to make her way to Raley’s, the grocery store in the southwest corner in the midst of the construction. As Rosales approached the construction site she realized she was blocked from crossing the street and would have to walk several additional blocks, thus, traveling far out of her way.
Rosales, pushing a baby carriage and trying to rein in a child on a scooter as well, claims she walks to the shopping center about three times a week in the summer. When asked if she will continue, she laughed and said, “Oh no! I won’t be walking this at all until the construction is over.”
One week into construction of the more than $70 million project, feelings about it range from “I live right there and it’s no big deal” to others who believe it’s “the worst thing that has ever happened.”