Your RTC. Our Community.

December 2018

RTC Commissioners, Below you will find your
December 2018 RTC Board Update eNews.
This electronic newsletter is distributed
monthly following your board meeting.
U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei and Federal Transit Administration Region IX Acting Regional Administrator Edward Carranza, Jr. proudly cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the 4th Street/Prater Way BRT project and the debut of the RTC RAPID Lincoln Line.

RTC Debuts Lincoln Line Service and Celebrates 4th/Prater Project Completion

The RTC began construction of the 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit project in January 2017 and the project was completed in November 2018, on schedule and under budget. The $58-million investment in our community, funded with federal and local funds, better connects Downtown Reno to Downtown Sparks and provides more access to jobs and education opportunities. The boundaries of the 3.1-mile project extend from RTC 4TH STREET STATION to Prater Way at Pyramid Way.  

This project was significant in bringing improved connectivity and mobility to the region's workforce and its residents. It is with great pride that the completion of the project and the transit improvements we delivered will benefit everyone in the Reno/Sparks area. We are proud of the work we have done, collectively, and the recognition we received from the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2015 with the Transportation Planning Excellence Award for the 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project.

The RTC’s new RAPID Lincoln Line service operates on the 4th Street/Prater Way Corridor with four new Proterra electric buses. Each bus has an increased range of 130 to 180 miles on a single electric charge and provides a smoother and quieter ride for passengers.  The new service celebrates the historic Lincoln Highway and honors the corridor’s rich history through historic images on the bus exteriors, and on the eight new RAPID stations along the corridor.  The Lincoln Highway was established in 1913 and crossed through the cities of Reno and Sparks.  Each bus bears the likeness of President Abraham Lincoln during whose administration Nevada was given statehood on October 31, 1864.  

The project is revitalizing and transforming the corridor, adding wider sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, and energy-efficient LED lighting. The RTC also moved utilities underground, removing poles and barriers for people with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act.
Learn More at
Transforming Virginia Street: Design Concept

Virginia Street Project Update

The RTC and contractor Sierra Nevada Construction (SNC) are a little over halfway done with the first part of construction to upgrade and move utilities underground.

Approximately 40 stakeholders attended the RTC Transforming Virginia Street business meeting on December 6 at The Saint. For those who were unable to attend, this update contains the information that the project team and stakeholders discussed at the meeting.

Construction Update:

Right now, the first part of construction, which focuses on underground utility relocation in the Midtown area, is halfway complete. To keep things moving along on schedule, we currently have six different crews working on various areas of Virginia Street. This has helped us fast track progress on this corridor and lessen the length of time for this part of construction.

We are currently on schedule to complete this part of the construction in March of 2019. When we are done, utility companies will come through the corridor and connect their utilities from March through May 2019. At this time, the corridor will reopen to two-way traffic before the next part of the construction begins in summer of 2019.

The RTC will host a business meeting in late February/early March to discuss the activities that will take place during the next part of construction. We encourage everyone to attend this meeting to learn what the construction impacts will be, the traffic control plan to be implemented, and how to receive up-to-date information about the transformation of Virginia Street during the next approximately 22 months of construction.  
The project team briefly discussed information pertaining to the improvements in the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) area. Construction work within the UNR area is planned to begin after the second part of Midtown construction is underway. Additionally, we are planning to do the majority of work in this area during the summer to minimize impacts to students.

Could Virginia Street Remain One-Way Southbound After Construction?

We have received some questions about the potential of keeping Virginia Street one-way and preserving angled parking in some sections. As you are aware, the development and design of the project spanned several years and included extensive community input. The final design, completed through community consensus, was submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and was approved in June 2018. Federal funding for the project was based on the approved design the RTC submitted to the FTA and construction, based on the approved design, was initiated on September 4, 2018. Changing designs and construction plans at this juncture would create significant impacts to the completion of the project, including increased financial costs, project delays, an additional NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and environmental analysis. We are too far along in the design and construction process to make major changes and at this time, the infrastructure is in place to facilitate future two-way traffic only as envisioned in the final design.  

Furthermore, making changes at this point would create a number of issues that would directly impact taxpayers, along with business owners and residents. For example, changes would mean that current underground utility work would have to stop immediately and that the entire project would have to be shut down and redesigned. The redesign would add an estimated three years to the project lifespan because the project would need to be redesigned and go through additional environmental reviews. A one-way couplet would also create issues for safety and operational movements (backing out into live traffic) as well as challenges to the existing transit service, the RAPID Virginia Line and Route 1, the region’s most heavily used transit service. In addition, the added time would have an impact on business owners which the RTC and SNC have been working diligently to mitigate through efficient traffic control, a strong community outreach program, and a robust business-support program.  

The temporary parking spots installed to mitigate the impacts during construction have provided additional access to businesses in Midtown. But the risks to change the project design at this time are too significant and severe to be implemented. When construction is completed, the RTC, working with the City of Reno and the business stakeholders, will take a look at the parking management and supply issues to develop possible solutions beyond what has already been considered as part of this project. This may include satellite or managed parking areas within the Midtown District.

The RTC and SNC, in partnership with the community, are all committed to creating a more vibrant, accessible and safer Midtown District and the approved design will accomplish this.

What’s Next?

The work you’ve been seeing out on Virginia Street has been mostly underground. That will change when we start the next part of construction in summer of 2019. After the utility work by the utility companies is done, a new traffic control plan will be in place. While the traffic control plans are still under review, one-way traffic will be required within the work zone when construction begins again this summer.

At this time, the preliminary work plan includes beginning construction at Plumb Lane and working north. Crews will also work on side streets throughout the corridor. Construction operations will occur on one side of Virginia Street (east or west) and then switch. The construction schedule will be similar to the first part of the project, with brief construction breaks at the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holidays.

During this next part of construction, you’ll start to see the changes in the video above begin to come to life with new, wider sidewalks, landscaping, new lighting, and major safety improvements. We will have multiple crews working at the same time, just like in the first part of the project, to help speed things along and impact businesses for as little time as possible. This part of the construction is expected to wrap up in 2020.

We will continue to communicate extensively with businesses regarding construction operations and to maintain access. Work in front of businesses, such as concrete grading and pouring, will be coordinated with each business.

There are some major improvements coming to this corridor and we appreciate everyone’s patience during the construction process.

Business-Patronage Program:

We’ve had a lot of success attracting people to Midtown during construction with our business-patronage program and we appreciate and enjoy everyone’s participation. The project team will continue to support Midtown businesses with a robust outreach and business-patronage program, including special events.

We’re currently running the 12 Merry Days of Midtown promotion, where we’re encouraging everyone to share how much fun they’re having in Midtown on social media using the hashtag #VirginiaStreetProject. People who post using that hashtag on days during the promotion are eligible to receive a $25 gift card to a theme-of-the-day Midtown business of their choice. People who post with that hashtag are also eligible to receive $1,000 in Midtown gift cards at our holiday party at Craft Wine & Beer on Friday, December 21.

Our project team has hosted other events throughout construction, including monthly Midtown construction lunches, the Tastes & Treats of South Virginia Plaza, the Midtown Block Party and more!

We have more exciting events and promotions coming up! If you’d like to get involved or your business needs support, please reach out to our team. We are here to help you through this process. You can email us at or call us at 775-300-1848.

Thank you for participating in this process and we will continue to keep you updated on our progress. We will host another stakeholder meeting prior to the next part of construction.

Project information is also available on our website

Please share this information with your Midtown neighbors and encourage people to sign up for project updates on our website, or text VIRGINIA to 797979 for project updates.
More than 40 stakeholders attended RTC's Midtown business owners meeting on December 6 at The Saint.
We are #MidtownProud! Our #VirginiaStreetProject team delivered cookies and spread holiday cheer to Professional Services businesses in Midtown on Day 4 of the 12 Merry Days of Midtown.
Learn More at

RTC Provides New Year's Eve FREE Safe RIDE on all Transit Services


The RTC is marking 34 years of helping people celebrate responsibly. The New Year’s Eve FREE Safe RIDE program brings together community partners to cover the cost of providing free transit service. Scheduled RTC transit services will be free on New Year’s Eve starting at 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

The goal of providing this FREE service is to make it easy for people to get to their celebration destinations, to work, or to get home when celebrating on New Year’s Eve. If alcohol is part of your holiday, please make sure you plan a safe ride home: designate a sober driver, use a taxi, take the bus, call a designated driver service or use rideshare. Riding the bus is a safe alternative to getting behind the wheel or trying to walk home while impaired. Let’s look out for each other on New Year’s Eve and don’t kill a dream.

We encourage everyone to ring in 2019 safely and responsibly and we are proud to provide this service that gives residents and visitors a safe transportation alternative. At the RTC, we’re looking forward to another exciting year of transit and transportation projects and programs that make a difference in our community.

Keep in mind, not all locations are served by transit, so it’s recommended that everyone check route and schedule information at to plan their trip.

The RTC would not be able to offer this service without the support of our generous sponsors, including Renown Health, Lamar Advertising, Club Cal Neva, Wood Rodgers, Morrey Distributing, the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitor's Authority (RSCVA), REMSA, Reno Firefighters Local 731, KOLO 8 News Now, and Cumulus Radio, including News Talk 780 KOH, 95.5 The Vibe, Wild 102.9, and K-Bull 98.1.

RTC Asks for Community Input on the Oddie/Wells Project at Community Meeting


The RTC held a community meeting for people to learn more about the Oddie Boulevard and Wells Avenue design project on November 29.

The RTC is seeking community input as staff begins the design concepts for the corridor. The project will provide improved sidewalks, bike facilities, and traffic operations. We want to hear your ideas and comments on the project corridor to develop potential design concepts.

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can watch the presentation video on our Facebook page.

Comments will be accepted online at or at
Learn More at

RTC Thanks Community for Support During Stuff A Bus Holiday Food Drive

With the help of our generous community, the RTC was able to Stuff A Bus with food for people in need this holiday season. RTC staff spent December 5 and 6 collecting food at Sam's Club on Kietzke Lane, and food barrels were also placed at RTC's transit stations.

The community came out to support the event, helping RTC fill 10 food barrels and all of the seats on the RTC's new electric RAPID Lincoln Line bus with non-perishable food donations.

The donations were delivered to KTVN's Share Your Christmas food-donation drive on Friday, December 7. The donations were given to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada at the conclusion of the event.

Thank you to everyone who donated to help make the holiday season a little merrier for those in need.

RTC Receives 2018 Gold Standard Mass Transit Award from the TSA

The RTC was recognized by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the RTC Board Meeting on December 7. The RTC received the 2018 Gold Standard Mass Transit Award. The award recognizes the RTC's ongoing efforts to provide a safe transit experience for its passengers.

The Gold Standard Award is the top recognition the TSA bestows to a transit agency for achieving the highest scores on its BASE review which evaluates 17 categories of security and emergency preparedness action items identified as fundamentals for a sound transit security program. Establishing a national standard for individual transit system security programs, the review includes topics such as an agency’s security plan, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts, and background check programs.

The RTC is honored to be recognized at the national level for the commitment and hard work this achievement requires.

RTC Receives Green Recognition

The RTC is proud to announce that it has received a certificate of recognition for the Green C Self-Certification Program from the American Consumer Council.

The goal of Green C Self-Certification is to encourage and recognize green practices among small businesses and organizations operating in the United States and promote Corporate Social Responsibility that preserves and enhances our planet.
Learn More About RTC's Sustainability Efforts at

RTC Receives Federal Approval for Pyramid/U.S. 395 Connection Project

The RTC is excited to announce that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has signed the Record of Decision for the Pyramid Highway/U.S. 395 Connection. The notice of Intent to Study was sent out in spring of 2007 and the project overcame many challenges, including significant schedule impacts resulting from changes in traffic modeling due, in part, to the recession.

This approval identifies arterial alternative three as the preferred alternative. This alternative includes the ridge alignment, south crossing of Sun Valley and a new interchange west of Sun Valley Boulevard.

By late 2018/early 2019, FHWA will issue a Notice of Limitations in the Federal Register, outlining limitations on claims for judicial review on FHWA's decision, unless filed within 150 days of notice.

Project design is expected to begin in 2019. Construction is anticipated to occur in the 2022-2026 time frame.
Learn More at

RTC Welcomes Reno Councilman Oscar Delgado

City of Reno Councilman Oscar Delgado has been appointed to serve on the RTC Board of Commissioners. He succeeds Reno Councilman Paul McKenzie who served on the board since 2015. We welcome Commissioner Delgado to the RTC Board.

A native Nevadan, Oscar was elected to office to represent Reno's Ward 3 in 2012 and was re-elected for a second term in 2016. Ward 3 extends over northeast, central and southeast Reno. The ward includes neighborhoods east of the University of Nevada, Reno, Wells Avenue, Mira Loma, and stretches south to parts of Damonte Ranch.

Commissioner Delgado joins RTC Chair Ron Smith (Sparks), RTC Vice Chair Bob Lucey (Washoe County), Commissioner Neoma Jardon (Reno), and Commissioner Vaughn Hartung (Washoe County).

NDOT Completes Major Construction As Part of I-580/U.S. 395 Resurfacing Near Spaghetti Bowl

The Nevada Department of Transportation has substantially completed a project to replace aging roadway surface on Interstate 580 and U.S. 395 near the Reno spaghetti bowl.

Large-scale lane and ramp closures and speed limit reductions on I-580 and U.S. 395 between Second Street and north McCarran Boulevard have ended, but drivers should anticipate intermittent, short-duration lane closures for minor finishing work over the coming weeks.

As part of construction, which began in May, crews replaced more than 4,000 cubic yards of aging concrete with 15,000 tons of new asphalt and sealed the equivalent of seven miles of minor cracking on segments of I-580 and U.S. 395 between Second Street and north McCarran Boulevard. The concrete was nearly 45 years old in certain areas. Sixteen bridge decks were also resurfaced and 2,200 linear feet of concrete barrier rail replaced for a safer and smoother drive.

The approximately $8 million in interim improvements by contractor Road and Highway Builders will provide for a safer and smoother drive as NDOT fast-tracks plans for future major spaghetti bowl renovations and improvements to U.S. 395 in the North Valleys. As many as 160,000 motorists travel on U.S. 395 through the spaghetti bowl daily.
Learn more at

Upcoming Events and Meetings

December 6 - 21
12 Merry Days of Midtown
Support Midtown businesses during the holiday season and post on social media using #VirginiaStreetProject to be eligible to receive gift cards.
December 21
12 Merry Days of Midtown
Transforming Virginia Street Holiday Party at Craft Beer & Wine 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
December 25
Christmas Holiday - Transit on Sunday Schedule and RTC Administrative Offices Closed
December 31
New Year's Eve FREE Safe RIDE
January 1
New Year's Day Holiday - Transit on Sunday Schedule and RTC Administrative Offices Closed
Please contact Michael Moreno or me with any questions you may have.
Michael can be reached at (775) 335-1869 or email at
Archived editions are available at:

Lee G. Gibson, AICP, Executive Director
Ph: (775) 348-0400 Fax: (775) 324-3503
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