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Your RTC. Our Community.


June 2018

RTC Commissioners, Below you will find your
June 2018 RTC Board Update eNews.
This electronic newsletter is distributed
monthly following your board meeting.
The June 2018 SouthEast Connector flyover video
highlights construction progress to date.

SouthEast Connector Grand Opening Celebrations on June 30 and July 6
 

The SouthEast Connector is currently at 99% completion and we are looking forward to celebrating with the community as we get ready to open the road. The new roadway, which will be dedicated as Veterans Parkway, benefits the region by reducing traffic congestion and creating a more efficient and safe alternative for commuters who travel between south Reno and east Reno/Sparks.

Join us at our pre-grand opening community road preview at the SouthEast Connector with a fun run, bike, and walk event on Saturday, June 30 from 8 a.m. – noon. The event is free and open to the public.
 
People are encouraged to enter the event from the Sparks Boulevard/Greg Street intersection, the official entry point for this event, but all entrances to the road will be open to event-goers, including the Pembroke Drive/Veterans Parkway intersection, the Mira Loma Drive/Veterans Parkway intersection, and the South Meadows Parkway/Veterans Parkway intersection. Community partners with locations near the SouthEast Connector will join the RTC near the Greg Street/Sparks Boulevard entrance.
 
The southbound lanes and the multi-use path will be open to the public for running, biking and walking. The northbound lanes will be reserved for RTC shuttle service only and emergency responders only – no foot traffic will be allowed for safety. The road remains closed to vehicle traffic at this time, but people who want to see the road by vehicle before it opens can use RTC’s shuttle service on its new, all-electric bus.
 
Weather that day is expected to be in the 90s, so the RTC is encouraging people to bring water, dress for warm weather, wear sunscreen and hats or bring an umbrella for shade. The road is 5.5 miles long, and people will be permitted to walk, run or bike as far as they prefer, and can turn around at any point.  Shuttle pick-up stations will be set up along the SouthEast Connector corridor for people who would like a ride back. The RTC encourages people to leave pets at home, given the hot temperatures and hot pavement.
 
RTC shuttle service will run the length of the SouthEast Connector from 8 a.m. - noon, making stops along the way at each intersection so people can get on and off. The shuttle will also stop at parking locations at the Outlets at Legends and at Depoali Middle School.
 
Parking Areas and Park & Walk Locations:
  • The Outlets at Legends (RTC shuttle service). Park in the lots behind Scheel’s near Olive Garden. Shuttle stop will be the existing blue bus stop number 1999 directly across the street from Olive Garden on George Ferris Drive.
  • Depoali Middle School at 9300 Wilbur May Parkway in Reno (RTC shuttle service)
  • Parking lot located adjacent to the southeast corner of the SouthEast Connector at Greg St./Sparks Blvd. intersection, across the street from the Alamo (park & walk) This parking lot closes at noon.
  • Hidden Valley Elementary at 2115 Alphabet Dr. in Reno (park & walk)
  • Rosewood Lakes Golf Course parking lot at 6800 Pembroke Drive (park & walk). This parking lot closes at noon.
  • See parking maps
 
Due to parking limitations, the RTC encourages people to carpool, ride their bikes to the event, and to arrive early when the event opens.

LimeBikes will be available to ride during the event. Just download their app on your smartphone to ride. The first ride is free for new users.
 
The RTC is holding an official grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony on July 6 at 11 a.m. and the SouthEast Connector will open to traffic by 9 p.m. For more information about the events, go to rtcwashoe.com, or visit RTC on Facebook or Twitter.
 
The SouthEast Connector will be called Veterans Parkway when it opens to traffic on July 6. The road is three lanes in each direction and has a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour. It has two new signalized intersections and a multi-use path for recreation. The project represents a $300-million investment in our community and is funded 100 percent by local, voter-approved RTC-5 fuel tax revenues. The project creates connectivity between south Reno and Sparks and also includes environmental, recreational and safety enhancements. The RTC installed 13 new bridges including a pair over the Truckee River, which are now the longest bridges in our community. This bridge will be called the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

The SouthEast Connector is not open just yet and the RTC is asking the public to please respect the construction zone. For everyone's safety, please stay out of the project site as there is active construction occurring.
Learn More at SouthEastConnector.com

RTC Receives Federal Approval for Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project
Notice of Availability of EA/FONSI
 

On Friday, June 15, 2018, the RTC received notification the U.S. Department of Transportation’s  Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) based on their review of the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project. The FONSI document outlines the determinations and findings of the environmental analysis in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The document includes information about the selection of the preferred alternative, analysis of a range of environmental topics, and the response to comments, among other areas of review.  

The Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project will enhance all modes of transportation with improved RAPID bus services extended to the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). This service will better link the UNR campus to Downtown Reno and to Midtown Reno, as well as enhance safety and mobility for everyone. The project will create an improved experience for people by adding bike lanes near UNR, planting trees along the corridor, and constructing wider sidewalks that are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The project represents an $80-million investment for the region.   

Copies of the EA/FONSI document and supporting documentation are now available for public viewing at 1105 Terminal Way, Suite 108, Reno, NV 89502, the Washoe County Downtown Library at 301 S. Center Street, Reno, NV 89501, Reno City Clerk’s Office at 1 E. 1st Street, Reno, NV 89501 (second floor), and at rtcwashoe.com and virginiastreetrapidextension.com. With the issuance of the FONSI, the RTC will proceed to further engineering and design, and begin utility relocations and right-of-way acquisitions.  

We appreciate the FTA’s decision to issue the FONSI to move this project forward. This project represents a substantial improvement of the transit options, pedestrian facilities, and urban environment for Virginia Street. I am confident the RTC will receive the federal funding appropriated to deliver this significant project in the region.

Next month I will provide informaiton about upcoming construction activities anticipated to start in late summer.
Learn More at VirginiaStreetRAPIDExtension.com
 Crews completed at I-80 on- and off- ramps, and under the I-80 overpass.

4th Street/Prater Way BRT Project Update


Crews continue to make progress on the 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project. The project is expected to be complete this fall.

Recently, crews completed work at I-80 on- and off-ramps at 4th Street and Prater Way. Work under the I-80 overpass is also complete.

To help crews complete the project more quickly, eastbound 4th Street is closed from Galletti Way to Montello Street for paving, utility adjustments and striping. That closure will be in place through approximately July 14. Westbound traffic can continue to use 4th Street. During the closure, eastbound drivers will be detoured to 9th Street or Oddie Boulevard. Businesses along that corridor remain open and accessible during construction.

The next phase of the project will be the Sutro Street/4th Street intersection. The RTC will close this intersection for paving for about 13 days, starting on approximately July 16. Traffic will detour to 6th Street and East Commercial Row.

For the latest updates, text 4PRATER to 797979, or visit 4thPrater.com to sign up for email notifications.
Learn More at 4thPrater.com

Villanova Transit Maintenance Facility
Re-dedication Event


The RTC invites the community to join us for the Jerry L. Hall Regional Transit Operations and Maintenance Center re-dedication event on Friday, July 13 at 10:30 a.m. at 2050 Villanova Drive.

The renovated facility has new maintenance bays, raised bus storage doors and extended bus storage. It also has the capability of lifting 60-foot buses on either lift. The building also has improved lighting, which will make the repair and maintenance of buses more efficient and safer.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County was created by the State of Nevada in 1979 under the leadership of Jerry L. Hall, the RTC's first executive director. The new RTC was a consolidation of the Regional Street and Highway Commission, the Regional Transit Commission, and the Washoe County Area Transportation Study Policy Committee. In December of 1992, the Villanova Facility was designated as the Jerry L. Hall Regional Transportation Center in recognition of his 18 years of vision, leadership and exemplary achievement as Executive Director of the RTC.

The renovations the RTC has made at this facility added capacity for our fleet and have paved the way for the RTC to make our fleet more modern and more electric. That serves our transit riders, but it also serves our whole community as electric buses have zero emissions, which contributes to better air quality throughout the Truckee Meadows.

When the facility was first built in 1983, it was not envisioned that buses would become fully electric and taller, so we had to make some changes. Electric and diesel bus maintenance is now faster, safer and easier thanks to the $15-million renovation investment.
Summer camp students learn travel training and independence.

Students with Disabilities Learn Transportation Independence with RTC


The RTC hosted travel training for local students as part of the Community Based Career Exploration Camp. RTC staff taught the students how to take the bus to help them lead independent lives as they transition to life after school.

As part of the travel training event, students learned about how to buy bus tickets, how to plan a bus trip and how to navigate RTC routes throughout our transit system network.

RTC staff also met with the students with disabilities and discussed pedestrian and bicycle safety.

The travel training was part of the week-long Community Based Summer Camp hosted by the RTC, the Washoe County School District Transition Services Department and the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living. Participation in the summer camp was free.

RTC Coach Operator Earns National Recognition


John Moss from Reno, pictured above with his wife and executive management from MV Transportation and the RTC, has been named the national Katherine McClary Operator of the Year honoree. John was selected from approximately 15,000 coach operators across MV Transportation's U.S. operations and recognized as one of the safest transit operators at the company. He has been a coach operator for the RTC since 2006 and has a flawless driving safety record and unparalleled professionalism.

Throughout his tenure at the RTC, he has received 15 customer commendations and has not had a single complaint in more than five years. John will be recognized at an RTC Board meeting on July 20 for his remarkable achievement and receive the appreciation of the RTC for his exceptional customer service and safety record.
Learn More about John's Award

RTC Director of Planning Joins AMPO Board


I am pleased to announce that RTC Director of Planning Amy Cummings has been elected to the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) Board of Directors. Amy also serves as a member of the AMPO Policy Committee.

AMPO is the transportation advocate for metropolitan regions and is committed to enhancing Metropolitan Planning Organizations' (MPO) abilities to improve metropolitan transportation systems.

Amy's leadership in planning activities for the RTC and during her professional career have earned the recognition of her peers across the industry and regionally. Her appointment to the AMPO Board of Directors recognizes her achievements.

In October 2017, the RTC received the 2017 Outstanding Overall Achievement for a Transportation Management Association - Metropolitan Planning Organization Honorable Mention Award.

RTC Board Approves Grant Funding for Enhanced Mobility of Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities


The RTC Board approved $688,863 in grant funding for five local agencies to improve mobility for local seniors and individuals with disabilities. The RTC administers the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Section 5310 Funding Program for the Reno-Sparks area.
 
Funding was available for projects that support the goals and strategic objectives in the RTC-developed Coordinated Human Services Public Transportation Plan (CTP). These goals represent a regional strategy to increase personal mobility and travel options for people with special-transportation needs in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County, specifically seniors and individuals with disabilities.
 
The following grants have been approved for funding, effective October 1, 2018:
  • Senior Outreach Services (SOS) - $63,779
    • Direct-service volunteer outreach program assisting home-bound seniors without support systems with their transportation needs.
  • Washoe County Human Services Agency (WCHSA) - $115,274
    • Expansion of WCHSA's free transportation services to urbanized areas of Washoe County and areas of the North Valleys that are not accessible to the senior and disabled population.
  • Sierra Nevada Transportation Coalition (SNTC) Bucks Program/N4 Accessible Rides Program - $226,686
    • Expansion of the SNTC Bucks Program by providing $40 in Lyft or Uber rides for $10. Participants can purchase up to $160 in rides for $40 per month, as subsidized by the program.
  • Senior Companion Program (SIS) - $101,737
    • Provides transportation social support for seniors 60 years and older who are living independently and have limited access to outside resources.
  • Access to Healthcare Network (AHN) - Non-Emergency Medical Related Transportation $181,387
    • Provides non-emergency medical transportation for low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities.
 
The funding is awarded and distributed over a two-year cycle.
Learn More

Bike Share Q&A
 

You may have noticed lime-green bikes popping up around our community! If you haven't had the chance to try LimeBike yet, here's what you should know:

How does it work?
  • Download the LimeBike app to your phone, locate a bike on the map and unlock it. There’s also a QR code on the bike that users can scan to unlock it.
  • When you’re done, just park responsibly out of the public right-of-way and lock the back wheel.
  • For those without a smartphone, just visit limebike.com for startup assistance.
How much does it cost?
  • General public: $1.00 per 30 minutes
  • Students/Seniors: 50 cents per 30 minutes
  • Scooters/eBikes - $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute to ride
Where should I park my bike when I'm done riding?
  • Park on the sidewalk pavement, out of the public right-of-way, not on the grass.
  • Park the bike upright, not on the ground.
  • Do park in designated bike-parking locations, such as a bike rack. If you ride to UNR, you are required to park your bike in a bike rack.
  • Do not block pedestrian and wheelchair path access, driveways, stairways, crosswalks or loading zones.  
  • Be sure to keep transit stops clear and park adjacent to the bus stop, not where people get on and off.
  • Park bicycles adjacent to bus stops or on street corners.
What if a bike is somewhere it shouldn’t be?
  • Please report it to LimeBike using their app, or the phone number on the bike. You can also call 1-888-LIME-345 or text 1-888-546-3345
  • LimeBike has local employees who monitor the bikes using GPS technology. They’ll move or redistribute the bikes to appropriate spots as needed.
Won’t people vandalize the bikes?
  • It’s not as common as you may think. In other communities with bike share, vandalism and theft occur at a rate of less than one percent.
  • LimeBike has built-in sensors that track bikes that may have fallen or are on the ground. The sensors notify LimeBike’s staff, who dispatch their team to respond.
What happens in the winter?
  • People still ride bikes in winter and bikes will be available year-round.
  • Bikes do need additional maintenance in the winter which will be LimeBike’s responsibility.
Do people need to wear helmets to ride LimeBikes?
  • There is no law that requires people wear helmets in Nevada, but it is always recommended. However, LimeBike requires customers be 18 years old to use their service.
  • Kids ages 13-17 are permitted to use LimeBikes if they have parental permission and wear a helmet. You can read more about LimeBike’s requirements on their website.
  • LimeBike would like to partner with local bike shops to encourage people to purchase a helmet and bike accessories. Please support local bike shops.
When, where, and how many LimeBikes will be located for release?
  • LimeBike started deployment in Reno-Sparks the weekend of May 12 with approximately 200 bikes. As LimeBike keeps hiring, they will increase the number of bikes. The focus will be in downtown and Midtown in the City of Reno, as well as commercial areas in the City of Sparks, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the University of Nevada, Reno.
Will there be LimeBike specific parking areas identified?
  • Not at this time, but there is the possibility of adding some signage in the future. LimeBike and partners will revisit after tracking some preliminary data of where bikes are mostly being used. It is suggested that users park bikes near and on existing bike racks. LimeBike is working on geolocating hotspots to add to the app to suggest areas of parking to users. LimeBike also educates users how to park bikes on social media and on the app.
Learn More at LimeBike.com

Talk With The Transit Planner
 

Transit passengers and the general public have the opportunity to talk with RTC's Transit Planner Michael Dulude once a month at a special event designed to engage the community and increase transparency. The event gives people the chance to voice their concerns, get route and transit solutions and give feedback about RTC's services. People can also give suggestions about ways to improve service on specific routes.

The Talk With The Transit Planner events take place monthly on different days, times and transit locations to ensure a diverse group of people have the chance to interact with the transit planner.

These events also help Michael do his job because he is able to be out in the community listening to and talking with people who use transit regularly. This information helps inform RTC's transit-planning decisions.

In an effort to involve as many people as possible, Michael also holds monthly Talk With The Transit Planner events for MV Transportation's coach operators. Talking with the bus drivers about what they are seeing and hearing on their routes helps to include the drivers in the transit-planning process.

The next Talk With The Transit Planner event is scheduled for June 29 from 10 a.m.- 11 a.m. at RTC 4TH STREET STATION. For future dates, follow RTC Washoe on social media.

NDOT Improves U.S. 395 Ramps in North Valleys Area

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is improving ramps to southbound U.S. 395 in the North Valleys by installing enhanced driver-information systems that will help keep drivers safer and more informed of road conditions on U.S. 395 from the spaghetti bowl north to the Nevada-California state line. The systems will be activated over the coming months after integration and testing.

Improvements on select ramps include:

  • Ramp Meters - Ramp meters were recently installed on U.S. 395 ramps at Oddie Boulevard, North McCarran Boulevard, Clearacre Lane and Lemmon Drive. Ramp meters are traffic signals placed at the top of certain freeway on-ramps to help reduce congestion and enhance safety by more evenly metering the flow of traffic merging onto freeways.
  • Wrong Way Driver Detection Systems – NDOT currently places Wrong Way signs on all freeway ramps to notify drivers errantly trying to enter the freeway in the wrong direction. Additional flashing warning signals and detection systems were added to U.S. 395 on-ramps in the North Valleys as a highly-visible and additional indication to help stop drivers from entering the wrong way; ultimately enhancing freeway safety.
  • Travel Time Signs - Roadside travel time signs provide current travel times for drivers to reach key locations such as off-ramps. By knowing the travel time, drivers can make informed decisions, such as if they wish to take another route to most efficiently reach their destination.
  • Traffic Cameras - By providing nearly up-to-the-second views of travel conditions, traffic cameras help drivers to make travel decisions, such as which route they will take and what time they will leave, before departing for their destination. They also help drivers be prepared for any potential weather conditions prior to driving.

Additional electronic freeway signs and roadway-weather reporting stations have been installed as well.

Periodic future lane, ramp and roadway shoulder closures will take place on U.S. 395 from the spaghetti bowl north to the Nevada-California state line through late summer as the improvements are made.

Further state transportation information is available at NevadaDOT.com or by dialing (775) 888-7000.

Learn More at NevadaDOT.com

Upcoming Events and Meetings

July 13
Jerry L. Hall Regional Transit Operations and Maintenance Center
Re-dedication Event
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
Archived editions are available at: rtcwashoe.com.

Lee G. Gibson, AICP, Executive Director
Ph: (775) 348-0400 Fax: (775) 324-3503
E-mail: lgibson@rtcwashoe.com
Copyright © 2018 RTC, All rights reserved.


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