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RTC Commissioners,

Over 35 years of service

Below, you will find your September 2014 RTC Board Update e-News. This electronic newsletter will be distributed monthly the week following your Board meeting. Please contact Michael Moreno or me with any questions you may have. Michael can be reached at (775) 335-1869 or email at mmoreno@rtcwashoe.com.

Lee G. Gibson, AICP, Executive Director
Ph: (775) 348-0400 Fax: (775) 324-3503
E-mail: lgibson@rtcwashoe.com

RTC RECEIVES TIGER FUNDING FOR 4TH STREET/PRATER WAY IMPROVEMENTS

A simulation shows what the 4th Street/Prater Way Corridor will look like after enhancements.
A simulation shows what the 4th Street/Prater Way Corridor will look like after enhancements.

The RTC was notified it will receive $16 million for transportation and transit enhancements for the 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project in Reno and Sparks. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a major role in securing the funding from the US Department of Transportation under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

The RTC 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project will better connect downtown Reno and downtown Sparks and revitalize the 4th Street/Prater Way corridor. The project will extend the RTC RAPID service to the corridor between RTC 4TH STREET STATION and RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA transit terminals. Four new all-electric buses will also be purchased to serve this route. The improved transit service will create ladders of opportunity for the financially disadvantaged, connecting people to employment centers and educational institutions.

This funding is critical in moving the project forward. When it begins, the new transit service will link people to nearly 39-thousand employment opportunities in the area already served by RTC RAPID transit and improve mobility access in the corridor for everyone. We very much appreciate the support from our congressional delegation and Senator Reid’s leadership as well as the support from our community partners.

Congressional leaders lauded the award. “Investing in and further developing Nevada’s infrastructure will create jobs and promote economic growth… which will allow us to update our transportation network,” said Senator Reid.

“Congratulations to the RTC for being the first to bring a taxpayer-funded grant of this kind to Northern Nevada,” stated Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-2). “At a time when our regional economy is poised for big things, these funds will help to grow transit options between Reno and Sparks,” Amodei added.

The project includes features to accommodate all modes of transportation. There will be wider sidewalks for pedestrians, dedicated bike lanes and ADA improvements. The project will support businesses – many of which are taking root in historical buildings. As part of the project, RTC partnered with the University of Nevada, Reno and Nevada Humanities to chronicle the stories of long-time residents of the corridor. Information on the rich history of 4th Street and Prater Way, which contributed to the early growth of the region, may be viewed at: http://RenoHistorical.org.

Planning, preliminary engineering and environmental clearance for the project have been completed. Final design will be completed in December 2015, and construction can begin in early 2016.

More information on the project may be found at: http://4thprater.com.

Letters of Support for the project were received from: US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the City of Reno, the City of Sparks, Washoe County, Washoe County Health District, Nevada Department of Transportation, The Chamber, Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, Northern Nevada Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, University of Nevada, Reno, EDAWN, Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency, Washoe County School District Police Department, Truckee Meadows Tomorrow.

The total cost of the project is $52,570,000. RTC's committed funds total $30,100,000 (57.3%). An application for additional federal funding under the FTA's Small Starts program has also been submitted.

WASHOE SENIOR RIDE (TAXI BUCKS) PROGRAM EXPANDING

Sample of Washoe Senior Ride Coupon
Starting November 1st, people will be able to take advantage of discounted taxi rides as a result of the RTC Board voting to expand the Washoe Senior Ride Program. Under this program, seniors who meet the eligibility criteria may purchase coupons for taxi rides called “taxi bucks.” These coupons help cover the cost of taxi rides, enabling seniors to be mobile and maintain their independence.
Participation in the program previously required an individual is 65 or older. Beginning in November, those 60 and older may participate. The annual household income requirement to buy taxi bucks was less than $40-thousand a year. The Board voted for a new annual household income requirement of less than $45-thousand. The Board is also opening the program to all Washoe County veterans regardless of age who meet the income requirement. Finally, the cost of a booklet of taxi bucks is being lowered from $15 to $10.

Taxi bucks are sold at Washoe County Senior Services. They may also be purchased from RTC by mail. For more information on the program, and for mail order instructions, click here.

SPARKS BOULEVARD CORRIDOR STUDY

A simulation shows what the 4th Street/Prater Way Corridor will look like after enhancements.
The study examines what amenities may be considered for improving mobility, safety and accessibility for everyone.

An open house event is planned for the public to provide comments on the Sparks Boulevard Corridor Study on Thursday, October 2nd. The open house will take place at Reed High School, which is located at 1350 Baring Boulevard in Sparks.

RTC has been studying ways the corridor may accommodate all modes of transportation and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. The study is from Greg Street to Pyramid Way. It will take into account both the SouthEast Connector project and the Pyramid-US 395 Connector. Additionally, the study will utilize information about crash locations and bike and pedestrian activity.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the open house and share their ideas for improving mobility and accessibility for everyone.

Go to http://www.RTCwashoe.com and click on Planning for more information.

RTC MOBILITY TRAVEL TRAINING PROVIDED DURING SENIOR FEST

Members of the public provided their feedback on the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan at an open house event on August 7th at the Washoe County Senior Center.
James Iacovelli of the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living teaches an individual on a scooter how to use a bus ramp safely.

Using transit for the first time can sometimes be intimidating. However, RTC Mobility Travel Training is helping build skills and instill confidence for new transit riders.

During the 19th annual Senior Fest on September 2nd at Reno Town Mall, seniors took advantage of free training sessions. Working with the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, RTC is pairing seniors with mobility travel training instructors. They learned important skills such as: how to load a scooter on a bus, how to use ramps and how to plan a trip on the RTC system. Being able to use transit provides seniors with flexibility and enables them to maintain independence.

Through a long-standing partnership with the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, free mobility travel training is offered by appointment throughout the year to seniors and people who have disabilities. To make an appointment, call (775) 353-3599.

At the event, RTC staff also interacted with members of the public, providing answers to questions and information on the transit system. People toured one of RTC’s new all-electric Proterra buses, and gave feedback about what transit services they would like to see in the future.

KEYSTONE AVENUE OPEN HOUSE

Scott Gibson, RTC engineer, explains aspects of the Keystone Avenue Corridor Study to local high school students who attended the August open house.
Scott Gibson, RTC engineer, explains aspects of the Keystone Avenue Corridor Study to local high school students who attended the August open house.

Recommended improvements for the Keystone Avenue corridor were presented to the public during an open house at Peavine Elementary School on August 21st. The Keystone Avenue Corridor Study examines Keystone from California Avenue to McCarran Boulevard. The study also involves Booth Street from Riverside Drive to California Avenue, and California Avenue from Cherry Lane to Newlands Circle as well as Foster Drive from Booth Street to Keystone Avenue. The study examines how to make the area accommodating for all modes of transportation, including by vehicle, bike and on foot. Recommendations will also help make the area accessible to everyone by bringing it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This was the fourth public outreach event. During this open house, displays were presented in one area for the northern section of the corridor, and in another area for the southern portion of the corridor. At the well-attended meeting, people were also able to talk with RTC staff and provide written feedback. The Reno City Council received a presentation on the Keystone Avenue Corridor Study report on September 24th. The RTC Board will receive the final report at the October 17th board meeting.

For more information on the study, go to: http://RTCwashoe.com and click on Planning.

RIDERSHIP SOARS FOR GREAT RENO BALLOON RACE

RTC RIDE buses took spectators to the colorful show in Rancho San Rafael Park.
RTC RIDE buses took spectators to the colorful show in Rancho San Rafael Park.

Since the 1980s, RTC has been providing express bus service to the Great Reno Balloon Race. This year’s ridership may be the highest in 10 years. The service offered buses every 30 minutes between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 6th and Sunday, September 7th. People were able to catch the express service from Reed High School, RTC 4TH STREET STATION and the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, and get dropped off inside Rancho San Rafael Park. The service was also heavily used by people leaving the park to return to their vehicles.

Combining ridership for the two days, 3,856 rides were taken for the event. This dramatically reduced parking difficulties, contributed to cleaner air and promoted public transportation.

SUN VALLEY BOULEVARD CORRIDOR STUDY OPEN HOUSE

The Sun Valley Boulevard Corridor Study open house was an opportunity for the public to provide comments and prioritize improvements on a map.
The Sun Valley Boulevard Corridor Study open house was an opportunity for the public to provide comments and prioritize improvements for the community.

The public provided feedback on possible transportation improvements for Sun Valley at an open house on September 4th. The event was held at the Sun Valley Community Center. The Sun Valley Boulevard Corridor Study examines Sun Valley Boulevard from Scottsdale Road to Highland Ranch Parkway, as well as the area between Chocolate Drive and Yukon Drive.

The open house follows a design workshop and open house held in June. Based on comments and through working with community stakeholders, RTC developed possible improvements and streetscape alternatives. The September open house was an opportunity for people to review the proposals, give additional comments and discuss the ideas with RTC staff.

Some of the ideas from the public include: improving drainage, better bus stops, new landscaping and adding sidewalks. To view information presented at the public events, and to learn more about the study, go to: http://sunvalleyblvd.com.

RTC STAFF VISITS MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS

Students viewed a simulation of the completed SouthEast Connector project.
Students viewed a simulation of the completed SouthEast Connector project.

RTC staff members had the opportunity to interact with students at Depoali Middle School in south Reno during a project-based learning event on September 25th. RTC SouthEast Connector project manager Garth Oksol and Trip Reduction Specialist Carol Perry answered questions from the students. Garth displayed models of the SouthEast Connector and explained how the project benefits the environment and local wildlife. Carol provided information about the benefits of making green trips, and how this enhances the community. The students learned about the projects and will complete their assignments with the information they received.

TEAMSTERS LOCAL 533 AND MV TRANSPORTATION HAVE NEW CONTRACT

Drivers, mechanics and dispatchers for RTC RIDE have reached a new contractual agreement with their employer, MV Transportation. The three-year agreement ensures no disruption in service for transit riders. Members of Local 533 voted to ratify the agreement in September.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

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