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RTC Commissioners,

Below, you will find your August 2015 RTC Board Update e-News. This electronic newsletter will be distributed monthly 2 weeks 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

SOUTHEAST CONNECTOR UPDATE

SouthEast Connector YouTube Video screenshot
Pile driving operations are currently underway at a future bridge location at the Yori Drain.

On July 16, 2015, the Upper South East Communities Coalition filed an appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the U.S. Federal District Court for Eastern California’s ruling that denied the Coalition’s request to stop construction through a preliminary injunction. As part of its appeal, the Coalition made a second attempt to obtain an injunction pending the appeal. This too was denied by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The oral argument on the Coalition’s appeal is scheduled to be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco on October 19. Interested readers may find the legal documents at RTCwashoe.com/section-hot-topics.

Work on the SouthEast Connector continues with environmental benefits of the project already evident. So far, 800,000 pounds of trash has been removed from the site – that includes old appliances and abandoned concrete; as much of the debris collected will be recycled. Granite Construction also went above and beyond requirements to successfully relocate aquatic life even though they are not a protected species. Finally, the removal of invasive weeds, such as white top, is already underway as part of the effort to return the project area to a more natural state.

Crews have begun pile driving, which involves putting 650 steel piles into the ground to form the support system for five bridges to be built in Phase 2. The piles are installed about 30 to 460 feet into the ground. During this construction process, the RTC is conducting noise monitoring and will implement additional sound mitigation measures should sound be above beyond acceptable levels. Noise levels will not exceed the equivalent of a lawn mower 100 feet away. The first bridge being worked on is at the Yori Drain.

Box culverts are also being installed to mitigate flooding and ensure the roadway is passable in a major flood, such as the region experienced in 1997. This is providing a critical new access and escape route for Hidden Valley residents and first-responders that did not exist before the project.

For updates on the project, go to southeastconnector.com and sign up.

VIRGINIA STREET BUS RAPID TRANSIT EXTENSION PROJECT

illustration of proposed improvements for Virginia Street based on community input
Based on community input, visualization of a design concept for Virginia Street from Taylor Street to St. Lawrence Avenue.

The RTC has been working hand-in-hand with the community as we design the future of Virginia Street. The Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension project focuses on Virginia Street near the University of Nevada, Reno and through Midtown. The goals of the project include making the University, Downtown Reno and Midtown more connected, extending RAPID transit to the University, bringing the project area into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and supporting all modes of transportation choices.

Community engagement activities include public meetings, door-to-door Midtown business visits, an online public survey, and more than 5,000 mailings to encourage public participation. As a result, the RTC has created designs for Virginia Street based on community input. These designs are being refined based upon guidance by the Reno City Council provided at its July 29 meeting. The Reno City Council indicated it is a priority to retain some level of on-street parking to support local businesses. A Community Open House was held on August 25 at the Discovery Museum to present updated designs that incorporate input from the Reno City Council meeting. The event was well attended by stakeholders, business owners and residents.

The RTC project team will continue to work on the design in partnership with the public. To learn more about the project, go to: virginiastreetrapidextension.com.

KEYSTONE AVENUE IMPROVEMENTS INSTALLED

picture of bike lane added to Keystone Avenue
Neighborhood enhancements now in place at the intersection of Keystone Avenue and Kings Row include new sidewalks, improved crossings and bike lanes.

The RTC has finished a Complete Streets project on Keystone Avenue from University Terrace to Coleman Drive in Reno. The project replaced deteriorating sidewalks, added new bike lanes and reduced vehicle travel lanes from two in each direction to one in each direction. The project enhances safety and provides residents transportation options. New crosswalks were also created near Gear Street and a flashing signal was installed at Kings Row and Keystone Avenue.

Also included in the project was a slurry seal for Keystone Avenue from 7th Street to McCarran Boulevard, which will extend the life of the roadway. Properly maintaining roadways protects our road infrastructure and is substantially less expensive for the tax payers than reconstructing roadways after they have failed.

Construction began on July 27 and concluded August 19. The project is the result of extensive community outreach that guided the Keystone Avenue Corridor Study, which may be accessed by going to RTCwashoe.com and clicking on Planning. The project was developed with guidance from the Reno City Council.

Join us on Wednesday, September 2 at 10:45 am at Keystone Avenue and Kings Row to celebrate the completion of this neighborhood enhancement.

RTC WINS NATIONAL PLANNING AWARD

picture of an RTC ad about RTC receiving the Transportation Planning Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Transportation for 4th Street and Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project

The 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project has been recognized by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation with the biennial 2015 Transportation Planning Excellence Award (TPEA). The project is only one of eight nationally to receive this honor. Among the judging criteria were: public involvement, innovation and effectiveness and potential for long term benefits. This award follows a $16 million federal TIGER grant for the project.

The project, which will begin construction in 2017, will make Downtown Reno more connected with Downtown Sparks. Between RTC 4TH STREET STATION in Reno and RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA in Sparks, sidewalks will be widened and improved to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Bike lanes, new lighting and landscaping will also be added. The project will also mean the addition of four new all electric buses to the RTC fleet to serve the corridor.

Through improved transit this project will help residents of the corridor connect to jobs and educational opportunities, providing access to roughly 7,000 jobs in the 4th Street/Prater Way Corridor, and 39,000 jobs in the Virginia Street Corridor, which is served by the RTC’s existing RAPID line. Connecting to the University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College Meadowood Campus will be more convenient and efficient. The project will improve mobility for all modes of transportation and enhance safety for everyone. Learn more at 4thprater.com

In addition, the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan Pocket Booklet received an Honorable Mention. Following the completion of the 2035 RTP in April 2013, the RTC developed the accompanying “RTC Pocket Booklet” as a strategy to better communicate and share information about the RTC with the public. The Pocket Booklet is an innovative, readable, and condensed version of the RTP. RTC’s development of the Pocket Booklet helped it reach a broader audience by making the policies and programs addressed in the RTP easier to understand at a glance.

YOUTHS LEARN TO TAKE THE BUS THROUGH
MOBILITY TRAVEL TRAINING

picture of young riders with mild to severe types of disabilities participating in the Summer Exploration program on board RTC RIDE
Summer Exploration Program participants on board RTC RIDE.

Through a long-standing partnership with the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living (NNCIL), the RTC is helping more people in our community be mobile. From July to September as part of the Summer Exploration Program, NNCIL takes groups of youths with mild to severe types of disabilities to various locations using RTC RIDE.

In addition, NNCIL recently hosted the Community Based Career Exploration Summer Camp in collaboration with the RTC. Students were given a public transit orientation and learned about public safety and how to use the Bus Book.

NNCIL provides mobility travel training throughout the year to people who have disabilities and to seniors. The goals of the program are to teach the skills individuals need to be independent and mobile, and to instill confidence. To learn more, or schedule a session, contact NNCIL at (775) 353-3599.

EXPRESS SERVICE TO GREAT BALLOON RACE

picture of RTC RIDE bus at Rancho San Rafael Regionl Park with large balloons in the skyline above park trees
An RTC RIDE bus picks up passengers at the Great Reno Balloon Race at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park.

Since the 1980s, the RTC has been providing express bus service to the Great Reno Balloon Race. The service operates every 30 minutes between 4 am and 10 am on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13. People can catch the express service from: Reed High School, RTC 4TH STREET STATION and the Reno-Sparks Convention Center Parking Lot C, and get dropped off inside Rancho San Rafael Park. Last year, combined ridership for the two days of the event reached nearly 4000 rides. This service dramatically reduced parking difficulties, contributed to cleaner air and promoted public transportation. The last bus departs the balloon races at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park at 10 am. The roundtrip fare for adults is $5 and $2.50 for seniors, youths and individuals with disabilities.

RTC BEGINS DEVELOPMENT OF COMPLETE
STREETS MASTER PLAN

picture of two cyclists riding on a bike lane separated by a median called a cycle track
Cyclists enjoy the safety and convenience of a cycle track, a Complete Street element, at Victorian Avenue in Sparks.

The RTC will hold a Technical Advisory Committee kickoff meeting on September 3 to begin developing a Complete Streets Master Plan. Complete Streets improve safety and mobility for all types of transportation, including transit, walking, biking and driving.

Recent Complete Street projects included Mayberry Drive, Sutro Street, Arlington Street and Keystone Avenue. Crashes were reduced 46 percent on Mayberry after the Complete Streets plan was implemented. The treatment also reduces the severity of crashes. Additionally, since we began building Complete Streets in 2004, 160.5 bike lane miles have been installed adding to the bicycle connectivity in the region. There will be extensive opportunities for the public to share ideas and comments, including community planning workshops to be held on September 29 and October 13 at 5 pm (locations to be determined). The Complete Streets Master Plan will identify potential future locations for Complete Street projects in the Truckee Meadows.

The Technical Advisory Committee is comprised of representatives from: the City of Reno, the City of Sparks, Washoe County, UNR, NDOT, Washoe County Health District, Reno Access Advisory Committee, Safe Routes to School, Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, Sierra Nevada Transportation Coalition, law enforcement and the Federal Highway Administration.

TRAVEL DEMAND CHARACTERISTICS STUDY UNDERWAY

Residents and transit riders are being surveyed to collect important information about how often roads and bus routes are utilized. This information is very important for us to plan future transportation projects and meet the needs of our community. Surveyors will be asking bus riders questions related to how much they use transit and where they are going. In addition to surveying bus riders, some residents will receive information in the mail asking them to record their daily vehicle trips.

While we always welcome comments from the public, including by e-mail and at our public meetings, only a statistically valid sample will receive the survey. This is to control the sample size and make sure the data is accurate. We want to thank everyone selected for participating.

RENO CITY COUNCILMEMBER PAUL MCKENZIE
JOINS RTC BOARD

picture of Reno City Councilmember Paul McKenzie
Reno City Councilmember Paul McKenzie appointed to the RTC Board.
The RTC welcomes Reno City Councilmember Paul McKenzie to the RTC Board. Elected in November 2014, Councilmember McKenzie served as an alternate member of the RTC Board and has been active in transportation issues. We extend our thanks and appreciation to departing commissioner, Mayor Hillary Schieve, for her service on the RTC Board of Commissioners.

upcoming events

SEPTEMBER

9/2 Keystone Avenue Improvements Neighborhood Celebration
9/3 Complete Streets Master Plan Technical Advisory Committee Kickoff Meeting

9/8 Mobility Training at Senior Fest Reno Town Mall
9/12-13 Express Service to Great Reno Balloon Race
9/18 RTC Board Meeting

9/29 Complete Streets Master Plan Community Planning Workshop

 

OCTOBER

10/13 Complete Streets Master Plan Community Planning Workshop

 

     
Your RTC. Our Community.