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RTC Commissioners,

Below, you will find your February 2015 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

4TH STREET/PRATER WAY BUS STATION DESIGNS

Three station design concepts were presented for public comment on March 3rd at RTC 4TH STREET STATION.

The RTC is welcoming the public’s comments on three design concepts for the 4th Street/Prater Way corridor. Eight new stations are planned with four on each side of the corridor at the intersections of Sutro Street, Galletti Way, El Rancho Drive, and 15th Street. More than 160 people attended two open house events on Tuesday, March 3rd at RTC 4TH STREET STATION to learn about the project and choose their preferred design concept. Online polling is still available to the public at http://4thPrater.com to tell us their transit station style preference and comments.

The 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID transit project will involve adding bike lanes, wider sidewalks and enhanced transit. Four new electric buses will be purchased to serve this key route between Reno and Sparks. The project has been awarded a $16 million TIGER grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) – this is the largest single award in the RTC’s history.

Additionally, President Obama included $6.4 million in his budget for this project under the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts program, the first to be awarded in northern Nevada. The funds still need the approval of Congress.

Included in the project is also a comprehensive effort to share the unique history of 4th Street and Prater Way, which were once part of the famous Lincoln Highway. Historical displays have been added at RTC 4TH STREET STATION and RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA. The new transit stations may also feature a historical theme. Additionally, a web site offers a multimedia experience and personal stories of times past. The web site was developed in partnership with Nevada Humanities and may be accessed here: http://4thprater.onlinenevada.org/

RTC MAKES PROGRESS ON SOUTHEAST MCCARRAN BOULEVARD WIDENING PROJECT

Crews work near the McCarran Boulevard bridge over the Truckee River.

The RTC is making progress on an important project to accommodate growth and improve safety in the region. Southeast McCarran Boulevard is being widened from Greg Street to Longley Lane. The first phase of the project widened McCarran Boulevard from Mira Loma Drive to Longley Lane. The second and final phase, which is happening now, will complete the widening from Mira Loma Drive to Greg Street. Components of a pedestrian bridge will be arriving soon. Once assembled, the bridge will be set in place over the Truckee River utilizing a crane by contractor Q&D Construction. The bridge is anticipated to be set into place in the coming weeks. The bridge will eventually connect to a multi-use path that will parallel McCarran from Greg Street to Longley Lane.

In March, roadway work will begin and vehicle travel lanes will be reduced to one in each direction. Drivers should plan for short delays – especially during peak commute times. Later in the month, construction of sound walls will begin. Nearby residents will be notified several times well in advance of work taking place. The RTC also created an interactive map for residents to determine approximately when sound walls will be constructed near their properties. Click here to view the map.

The project is scheduled for completion late this year. It is a $31 million investment in our community funded with fuel tax.

WORK TO BEGIN ON THE COMPLETE STREETS MASTER PLAN

In 2014 the RTC completed new sidewalks along Plumas Street from near the tennis courts to Morningside Drive completing a Complete Street design which began in 2012.

The RTC Board voted to develop a Complete Streets Master Plan. Complete Streets are roadways designed to promote safety and mobility for all types of transportation, and for people of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets include separate spaces for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The study will include a long range plan for future complete street treatments in the region including a comprehensive analysis of multimodal safety issues relating to Complete Street designs. It will also assess the impact to traffic capacity and operations of the roadway network as a result of Complete Streets.

Community input will be a key component of the plan and many opportunities will be available for members of the public to participate. Under the direction of Amy Cummings, Director of Planning, RTC staff are in the process of developing the public participation plan. I will announce the details next month.

MAKING CONNECTIONS WITH THE VIRGINIA STREET MIDTOWN & RAPID EXTENSION TO UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO PROJECT

A rendering shows a future transit station near the University of Nevada, Reno.

Preliminary design and environmental activities have started on Virginia Street. This Project addresses critical transportation needs including improving transit connectivity, efficiency, and reliability through connecting RTC RAPID to the University. When completed, the project will accomplish improving safety for all modes, correcting ADA sidewalk deficiencies, and improving traffic operations. No sidewalks exist in many sections of the corridor, and in other areas sidewalks are in poor condition, which forms a barrier to transit stop access. The corridor contains numerous vacant or underutilized buildings and lots. Improved transit service and walkability will encourage implementation of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and redevelopment district goals to make Reno a University Town.

Field crews have been performing field surveys, investigating existing utilities and accessing pavement condition.

As part of the project’s public outreach plan, a Community Working Group (CWG) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) are being established. The first CWG meeting has been scheduled to be held on Monday, March 23rd at 3:00 p.m. in the RTC Board Room. The CWG is comprised of a cross-section of groups, individuals, associations, and businesses that have a vested interest in the Virginia Street corridor and will be involved throughout the project. The TAC will include resource agency representatives including City of Reno, UNR, and NDOT, among others.

The project is being developed through the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts program. Construction is scheduled for late summer 2017.

DEMOLITION BEGINS NEAR PYRAMID AND MCCARRAN

Demolition of purchased properties began on February 3rd on Gault Way in Sparks in preparation of construction for the Pyramid/McCarran intersection improvements scheduled for late spring 2015.

Demolition of homes near the Pyramid Way and McCarran Boulevard intersection is now underway as the RTC prepares to begin a major intersection improvement project. Each day roughly 60,000 vehicles travel through the intersection. The project will reduce traffic jams, make multi-modal improvements and enhance safety.

One new lane in each direction will be added to Pyramid Way. Dedicated turning lanes will also be added to both Pyramid and McCarran. The project will add new sidewalks for pedestrians and a paved multi-use path that will parallel Pyramid on the eastern side. Providing separate spaces for vehicles and pedestrians has been shown to enhance safety.

This project involves the right-of-way acquisition of 67 homes, three commercial properties and a church. Working with the residents, the RTC has relocated nearly all residents to new homes without cost to them.

The RTC partnered with local first-responders to provide training opportunities in five vacant houses prior to demolition. SWAT operations are taking place, and firefighters are practicing critical rescue skills. After demolition is completed in late spring, work will begin on the intersection.

This is a $70 million investment funded through Congestion Mitigation Air Quality federal funds and fuel tax. The project is expected to be completed in 2017. For regular updates on the project, go to http://pyramidmccarran.com.

RTC BOARD APPROVES COORDINATED HUMAN SERVICES PUBLIC TRANSIT PLAN (CTP)

Stakeholders representing human services organizations discuss programs and projects eligible for funding at a meeting in November 2014.

The RTC board voted to approve the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan, which guides federal funds to important projects for seniors, the disability community and the economically disadvantaged. Through an extensive public outreach process, and working closely with stakeholders, projects were prioritized for Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 funding.

The top project priority for stakeholders is the creation of a one-stop call center. The Sierra Nevada Transportation Help Line will be a dedicated phone line to help the underprivileged connect with transportation services. There will also be screening and referral for social and human services.

The stakeholders feel it’s important to fund non-emergency medical related transportation. The service will be operated by Access to Health Network, and the project includes acquiring new wheelchair-accessible mini-vans. The service will help people reach doctor appointments, pharmacies and outpatient treatment at hospitals in addition to other destinations.

Among the other programs receiving funding are: the Sierra Nevada Transportation Coalition, Senior Companion Program and CitiCare. For information about the CTP, click here.

NEVADA STATE LEGISLATURE LEARNS ABOUT OUR TRANSPORTATION ISSUES

Amy Cummings, RTC Director of Planning speaks with Senator Scott Hammond, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee at a legislative breakfast in Carson City.

The Nevada State Legislature is now in session and the RTC has had opportunities to discuss transportation issues on two occasions. On February 10th, I was joined by NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon and RTC of Southern Nevada general manager Tina Quigley in presenting our respective agency overview to the Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees. I shared with them information about our major projects, initiatives and challenges we face to deliver transportation systems in Washoe County.

On February 18th during an legislative breakfast open house, MPO representatives from across the state showcased their projects, services and programs to legislators and legislative staff. The gathering provided an opportunity to talk informally with Nevada lawmakers about transportation issues in our communities.

We also informed lawmakers on efforts to serve seniors and people with disabilities. With the growing senior population in the region, the RTC continues to experience a greater demand for services.

The RTC provided lawmakers with printed materials that give an overview of all of the agency’s projects, services and programs to use as a reference during the 2015 legislative session.

THE CHAMBER'S DIRECTIONS 2015

Directions 2015 Youtube Video

The RTC staff presented information and answered questions on transportation issues at The Chamber’s Directions 2015 economic conference. This year the theme was: Engines of Change. As the region continues to grow, RTC’s road projects become more and more crucial to keeping people moving. Additionally, transit ridership continues to grow along with the community. There were 663,553 rides taken on the system in December alone, contributing to an annual ridership of 8.2 million. Free Two-Ride passes were distributed to attendees to encourage them to try transit, perhaps for first time.

The annual regional economic forum provides us the opportunity to meet with business and community leaders and discuss how the RTC is helping keep the economic momentum going. It’s estimated the RTC’s projects and services employ hundreds of people in the community contributing to the region’s economic prosperity. Additionally, transit and improved roadways are connecting people to employment every day creating ladders of opportunity.

USGBC HONORS RTC FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION

RTC Facilities and Fleet Manager David Carr accepts the honor on behalf of the RTC.

The U.S. Green Building Council honored the RTC for its commitment to sustainability with the introduction of four new fully-electric buses into its fleet. The RTC received the USGBC Nevada Community Organization Award, which was presented at USGBC’s Leadership Awards Lunch on February 19.

Facilities and Fleet Manager David Carr accepted the award on behalf of the RTC. In bestowing the award, USGBC cited the RTC’s acquisition of four fully-electric no emissions buses. The Proterra buses are the first on the roads in Nevada, and the RTC has plans to purchase four more for the 4th Street/Prater Way corridor project.

USGBC Nevada Chapter board member Lee Harris stated, “We determined that your ‘above and beyond’ efforts are demonstrative of persistent hard work, sincerity and dedication to green building and sustainability for the community.” The USGBC previously awarded the RTC for its RTC RAPID stations in 2012.

The electric buses were put into service in April 2014 and currently serve the downtown circulator RTC SIERRA SPIRIT route.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP: YOUR RTC. OUR COMMUNITY.

Your RTC staff at RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA.

The foundation for the projects and services we deliver is built on public participation and partnership. This community partnership is fundamental in engaging the public and establishing open and transparent communications to listen to their ideas, suggestions and concerns for the projects and services we administer.

Building on our tagline, “This is Your RTC.” we want to better emphasize the community partnership. Our new messaging reflects this, “Your RTC. Our Community.” We aim to deliver two messages: that the public’s role in helping us build our community’s transportation systems is critical; and that agency staff, as members of the community ourselves, have a shared interest to make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family.

As the region’s transit authority, road builder and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the RTC is providing public transportation, improving roads and planning for the future. We do this in partnership with you and the citizens of Washoe County. The new theme underscores all these efforts thorough our partnership and shared commitment.

In future e-News editions, I will introduce you to our departments and staff giving you an overview of the work we do that enriches the economic prosperity and the quality of life in the Truckee Meadows. Your RTC. Our Community.

March 12
March 17
March 19
March 20
March 24-25
 
This is Your RTC.