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Your RTC. Our Community.


August 2019

RTC Commissioners, below you will find your August 2019 RTC Board Update eNews. This electronic newsletter is distributed monthly following your board meeting.
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WATCH: This 30-second commercial is running on local media outlets to encourage people to continue to visit Midtown businesses during construction.

Virginia Street Project Construction Update
 

Construction operations on Virginia Street, between Mt. Rose Street/Holcomb Avenue and Plumb Lane, recently switched from the east to the west side of the roadway. Drivers are able to drive southbound only on Virginia Street between Mt. Rose Street/Holcomb Avenue and Regency Way. Two-way traffic is in place on Virginia Street north of Mt. Rose Street/Holcomb Avenue and south of Regency Way.
 
Construction continues on side streets in Midtown, including on E. Taylor Street, Moran Street, Martin Street, Arroyo Street, and Cheney Street. Stewart Street is anticipated to begin in late August, followed by Caliente Street in early September. No two consecutive side streets will be closed to through traffic at the same time.

It’s business as usual in Midtown. Businesses are open and accessible during construction. Please continue to support Midtown businesses during construction.

The Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project will improve safety in the corridor and provide better access, enhanced transit service and mobility for everyone. This includes extending the RAPID Virginia Line from Midtown to UNR. The project represents an $87-million investment in the region.

Project Schedule:
  • Summer through fall 2019 - Work on nine side streets in Midtown and work on Virginia Street from Mt. Rose Street/Holcomb Avenue to Plumb Lane.
  • Winter 2019 through spring 2020 - Work on Virginia Street sidewalks and paving from Mt. Rose Street northward to Center Street.
  • Spring through winter 2020 - Work on Virginia Street sidewalks and paving continuing northward to Liberty Street and the installation of a roundabout at Center Street.
  • Spring 2020 through fall 2020 - University of Nevada, Reno, road work, roundabout and transit stations begin.
The RTC’s project team is working Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. to expedite construction operations. Completion of the entire project is expected to wrap up in winter of 2020, weather permitting.

The project is funded with fuel tax revenue, sales tax revenue and federal funds.

Project Information Office
Due to low foot traffic, the RTC plans to close the project information office on Friday, September 6, 2019. Until then, the project information office is open in Midtown, located in the lot just north of the Z Bar. Office hours are Tuesdays from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Thursdays from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. and by appointment. Even though the office will close, the project team is always available by calling the project hotline at 775-300-1848 or emailing info@VirginiaStreetProject.com. Appointments with the team can also be scheduled.

Parking
Designated Midtown parking will be provided by SNC at the marked parking lot at Forest Street and Tahoe Street behind the Ponderosa Hotel.

Lyft
Get 50% off your Lyft rideshare to Midtown, up to $10 off, using code RAPID in the promo section of the app. The code is valid for trips into the Midtown area originating from anywhere in our community that is outside of the Midtown District. Valid drop-off locations include anywhere on South Virginia Street between Liberty Street and Plumb Lane, and some additional areas along that corridor. See map of valid drop-off locations.

 
Transit
Route 1 and RAPID Virginia Line continue to provide service to the Midtown area. The RTC also just launched the new UNR-Midtown Direct service. See the article below to learn more. To check your route for detours, visit rtcwashoe.com.

More information
For more information about the Virginia Street Project, visit VirginiaStreetProject.com, text VIRGINIA to 797979, sign up for weekly stakeholder updates, watch weekly project update videos, and follow RTC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Learn More at VirginiaStreetProject.com

RTC Launches New, Temporary UNR-Midtown Direct Transit Service

 
The RTC launched a new, temporary route connecting Midtown Reno to the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and Downtown Reno. The new route, called UNR-Midtown Direct, started on Sunday, August 25.

To celebrate the launch of the new service, the RTC is offering FREE rides on the UNR-Midtown Direct through September 8, 2019. After the initial free-ride period, bus fare on the UNR-Midtown Direct will be the same as regular RTC RIDE services.

The UNR-Midtown Direct takes the place of the former RTC SIERRA SPIRIT. The route runs from Plumb Lane near Shoppers Square in the south to 17th Street near UNR in the north. It runs mainly along Virginia Street, Sierra Street, Holcomb Avenue, and Center Street.

The RTC anticipates the route will help even more people visit Midtown during construction.

This route is a temporary route that is expected to last through early 2021, when the RTC plans to launch the extension of the RAPID Virginia Line service from Meadowood Mall through Midtown to UNR as part of the Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project. Construction is expected to wrap up in late 2020.
Plan Your Trip at rtcwashoe.com
Before RTC's improvements (left), the California/Keystone intersection area was not accessible for pedestrians or bicyclists. The new configuration (right) provides critical safety improvements for people who walk, bike, or use a wheelchair.

RTC California/Keystone Improvements Complete

 
The RTC has completed construction to improve the California Avenue/Keystone Avenue intersection. The project improves safety and access for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians at this busy intersection.

In addition to traffic-safety improvements and new bike lanes, the RTC widened sidewalks and added pedestrian ramps at the intersection to improve pedestrian safety and access for everyone in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The stairs connecting California Avenue to Keystone Avenue were also reconstructed as part of the project.

Community response about the improvements has been very positive.

The project represents a $2.5 million investment in our community.
Learn More at rtcwashoe.com

RTC to Hold Affordable Housing Study Community Open House and Meeting


The RTC is conducting an Affordable Housing Study and is seeking the community’s input to identify opportunities for affordable housing near transit routes. The community is invited to attend a meeting on September 12, 2019, from 4 – 6 p.m. (presentation at 5 p.m.) for a discussion of this critical need in our community. The event will be at McKinley Arts & Culture Center, located at 925 Riverside Drive in Reno. Route 16 serves this location.

This meeting is open to all members of the community and a Spanish-language translator will be available. The presentation will also be livestreamed on RTC’s Facebook page.

Affordable housing continues to be an important issue in our region. Our community is rapidly growing and finding affordable housing continues to be a challenge for many residents. Having affordable housing near transit stops helps people access essential services, fosters independence, and enhances quality of life.

Affordable housing and transit go hand in hand. The RTC supports affordable housing near transit because it improves mobility for everyone and boosts transit ridership. This study will help our community accomplish that, as well as help identify solutions.

McKinley Arts & Culture Center is accessible to individuals with disabilities. Requests for auxiliary aids to assist individuals with disabilities should be made with as much advance notice as possible. For those requiring hearing or speech assistance, contact Relay Nevada at (800) 326-6868 (TTY, CCO or HCO). Request for supporting documents and all other requests should be directed to RTC Planning Department at (775) 348-0480.
Learn more at rtcwashoe.com

Don't Drive, Arrive! to Special Events


Don’t Drive, Arrive! to special events in our community this summer. There are plenty of alternatives to driving your car to events, including taking transit, walking, biking, or using rideshare. Don't Drive, Arrive! is a partnership between the RTC, the City of Reno and the City of Sparks.

The RTC continues to build partnerships with local organizations to support regional events to provide transit service to special events and increase transit ridership. The RTC recently provided free transportation for two popular community events, Hot August Nights and Northern Nevada PRIDE.

The RTC is partnering again with the Nugget Casino Resort to provide bus shuttle service for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, and will again offer transit service on the UNR-Midtown Direct to the UNR Wolf Pack home football games.


The RTC is offering free rides on RIDE Route 7 to the Reno Air Races Takeoff Celebration on Saturday, September 7 from 12 (noon) to 6 p.m. Air Races fans can also ride free on Route 7 on Wednesday, September 11 from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Regular fares will be in effect on Thursday, September 12 through Sunday, September 15. Route 7 will detour from its scheduled route to drop off and pick up Air Races fans at the event. Check rtcwashoe.com for route and schedule information.

These free ride opportunities boost transit ridership and help people try transit. These events also help with parking issues at special events, encouraging people to ride the bus instead of drive car.
Plan Your Trip at rtcwashoe.com

Don't Drive, Arrive! to the Rib Cook-Off


The RTC encourages the community to Don’t Drive, Arrive! to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off by taking a free shuttle, walking, biking, using rideshare, carpooling, or using public transportation to get to the event.

Free shuttle service is available from these locations:
  • Sparks Christian Fellowship – 510 Greenbrae Drive, Sparks
    • Wednesday, August 28 to Sunday, September 1
      Shuttles available 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
    • Monday, September 2
      Shuttles available 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Reno Sparks Livestock Events Center – 1350 N. Wells Avenue in Reno.
    • Wednesday, August 28 to Sunday, September 1
      Shuttles available 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
    • Monday, September 2
      Shuttles available 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Shuttle service is provided through a partnership with the Nugget Casino Resort, All West Coachlines and the RTC.

Don’t Drive, Arrive! to special events in our community this summer. There are plenty of alternatives to driving your car to events, including taking transit, walking, biking, or using rideshare. Don't Drive, Arrive! is a partnership between the RTC, the City of Reno and the City of Sparks.

New FlexRIDE Service to Launch in November


Advances in technology are allowing RTC RIDE to launch a new method of transportation known as microtransit that will be called FlexRIDE. FlexRIDE is an on-demand service using technology similar to that of services like Uber or Lyft to call for a ride.  The RTC Board approved a six-month pilot project that will begin in early November.

Passengers can request a ride by using smartphone or tablet with an app, a phone to call a dispatcher, or by using a computer to access a website. The call can occur within 30 minutes of their desired travel time and passengers can expect their ride to arrive within 8 to 15 minutes. Passengers traveling within the FlexRIDE service area in Sparks will have curb-to-curb service and can expect shorter ride times than when taking RTC RIDE. FlexRIDE will come to the curbside closest to your location to pick you up.

People looking to travel outside of the service area can transfer to RTC RIDE or RTC ACCESS services at Iron Horse Shopping Center or at RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA.  FlexRIDE will serve the areas currently served by Routes 25 and 26, as well as some nearby areas in the north and east downtown Sparks. The fare will be the same as the standard RTC RIDE fares.

Routes 25 and 26 are being combined and shortened to accommodate FlexRIDE. Route 25 will continue to operate from RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA up 15th Street to Prater, east to Howard, south on Howard, west on Lincoln, north on McCarran, to Prater, then west to 15th Street back to CENTENNIAL PLAZA. An additional service is planned to extend Route 25 for one round trip each to Reed High School before and after school.

RTC will implement the microtransit pilot program as part of the scheduled November 2, 2019, service change.  Watch for more information about this exciting new service in future editions of the eNews.

Keolis Performance Update


July 2019, Keolis' first month of operation, had a 2.5% overall increase in RIDE ridership system-wide, versus July 2018. This is the RTC's first ridership increase in 13 months. In addition, the on-time performance improved to 92.6% this July, versus 90% for July 2018.

Keolis has also delivered more than 99.99% of scheduled service for the month. This is a huge increase and has contributed to the overall increase in system-wide ridership.

Vision Zero Truckee Meadows Update


The Vision Zero Truckee Meadows task force is moving forward with a plan to have the region nationally recognized as a Vision Zero community. To achieve this goal, the task force has been presenting about the program to local jurisdictions and groups to garner support for its Action Plan and goal of zero fatalities by 2030, including:
  • The RTC's Technical Advisory Committee on July 10
  • The RTC's Citizens Multimodal Advisory Committee on July 10
  • The RTC Board on July 19 (Resolution adopted)
  • Safe Kids Coalition of Washoe County on July 23
  • State of Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board on July 25
  • The Reno City Council on July 31 (Resolution adopted)
  • The Washoe County Board of Health, scheduled for August 22
  • The Sparks City Council on August 26
  • The Washoe County Commission, scheduled for September 10
For more information about Vision Zero, or to report near-miss crashes, visit VisionZeroTruckeeMeadows.com. A near miss today can be a crash tomorrow, so it is important to send us as much information as you can about a near-miss crash using the website. Be sure to tell us the location of the near-miss crash, whether a car, bicycle or pedestrian was involved, the time of day, any noted distractions or visibility barriers, and anything else you think is important to note. This information will help the task force make positive changes in our community.
Learn more at VisionZeroTruckeeMeadows.com

Regional Transportation Improvement Program Comment Period Begins August 30


The RTC, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Reno/Sparks urbanized area, pursuant to federal law (23 USC 134), hereby provides the citizens of this metropolitan area an opportunity to review and comment on the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020-2024 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP). The RTIP was developed in accordance with the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This update is advancing several projects that were in the design phase forward to the construction phase.

The FFY 2020-2024 RTIP is a five-year program of street and highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects for Washoe County. The RTIP represents a prioritized program directed at meeting Washoe County's growing transportation needs, while improving the region's safety, air quality, transportation efficiency, and mobility. The RTIP is required by federal regulation and serves as a useful tool in planning and programming transportation system improvements.

A copy of the FFY 2020-2024 RTIP is available for viewing and comment during regular business hours at the RTC Planning Offices at 1105 Terminal Way, Suite 211, Reno and on the RTC website for a 21-day period starting on August 30, 2019, and ending on September 19, 2019.  A public hearing (to be noticed separately) will be held by the RTC Board following the public comment period.  Citizen comments will be forwarded to the RTC Board.  This document is subject to change through the public comment period.  Any changes will be discussed in the public hearing before the RTC Board and will be made available for public review at the above locations.

Citizens can send comments on these proposed documents during the 21-day review period to the following address by mail, telephone, facsimile or electronically:

RTC Planning Offices
1105 Terminal Way, Suite 211, Reno, Nevada 89502
775.335.1918
775.348.0450 FAX
ddoenges@rtcwashoe.com

NDOT Completes Pedestrian Safety Improvements on Second Street and Kietzke Lane


The Nevada Department of Transportation has substantially completed pedestrian and safety improvements to Second Street and Kietzke Lane in Reno.

The two separate projects began in March. The lane and sidewalk closures in place for construction since then have been removed, although brief lane closures will intermittently take place for minor finishing work over coming weeks.

Flashing pedestrian crossing signals, curb and sidewalk extensions, as well as enhanced crosswalks, pedestrian ramps and other improvements were installed on Second Street between Keystone Avenue and Kietzke Lane. The roadway corridor travels from western Reno through downtown and commercial and residential areas before reaching the Renown Medical Center campus. In one day, nearly 4,000 pedestrian crossings were logged at five crosswalks in the corridor.

Kietzke Lane was also resurfaced and restriped, with slightly realigned travel lanes to allow for designated bicycle lanes on both sides of the roadway. Sidewalks and other accessibility and safety improvements were also made, including a pedestrian-activated flashing crossing sign at Prosperity Street and Kietzke Lane.

Jointly, the projects represent an approximately $5 million investment in pedestrian and traffic safety.

Annually, NDOT dedicates approximately $10 million in state highway funds to pedestrian safety improvements. Additionally, NDOT dedicates approximately $21 million annually in federal highway safety funds to roadway safety projects and programs.
Learn more at NevadaDOT.com

Upcoming Events and Meetings

August 25 - September 8
Free Service on the new UNR-Midtown Direct through Sept. 8
August 28 - September 2
Don't Drive! Arrive to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off
Shuttle Service Available from the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center and Sparks Christian Fellowship
August 30
Don't Drive, Arrive! to the Wolf Pack Game on UNR-Midtown Direct
September 2
Labor Day Holiday
RTC Administrative Offices Closed; Transit on Sunday Schedule
September 7
Don't Drive, Arrive! To City of Reno's Inaugural Air Races Takeoff Celebration
Take Route 7 FREE from noon-6 p.m.
September 11
Don't Drive, Arrive! to the Reno Air Races
Take Route 7 FREE from 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
September 11-15
Don't Drive, Arrive! to the Reno Air Races on Route 7
Regular fares apply.
September 12
RTC Affordable Housing Study Meeting
4-6 p.m. at McKinley Arts & Culture Center (925 Riverside Drive in Reno)
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
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