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Your RTC. Our Community.


January 2019

RTC Commissioners, Below you will find your
January 2019 RTC Board Update eNews.
This electronic newsletter is distributed
monthly following your board meeting.
Ride along with RTC Project Manager Jeff Wilbrecht and see how easy it is to navigate Midtown during construction.

Virginia Street Project Update
 

The RTC and our contractor, Sierra Nevada Construction (SNC), are about 75% of the way done with the first part of construction to upgrade and move utilities underground. 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 to 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.

Fit "N" February Transforming Virginia Street Live Healthy Celebration:

Eating healthy, working out and focusing on health and wellness isn't just for January! Keep your healthy streak going and support Midtown businesses in the process.

Simply share your healthy Midtown experience on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #VirginiaStreetProject to be eligible to receive healthy giveaways from Midtown businesses, including gym memberships, yoga classes, athletic apparel, wellness gift cards, food and beverage gift cards, and more! Make sure your post and photo are publicly visible to be eligible.

This event is representative of the types of activities the RTC is doing to support Midtown businesses during construction. Another event we are supporting is the Saturday Super Sale at Sticks Center in Midtown on February 2 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Want to shop the sale? See the press release for more details.

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 may be 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. A redesign would add an estimated three years to the project lifespan because the redesigned project would need to go through additional environmental reviews. A one-way couplet with diagonal parking would also create issues for safety and operational movements (backing out into live traffic can be dangerous) as well as challenges to the existing transit service, the RAPID Virginia Line and Route 1, the region’s most heavily used transit service. Additionally, 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 traffic control 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 will include outreach to Midtown patrons of parking options and marketing to promote the increased walkability in the corridor. 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.

More information:

For more information about the Virginia Street Project, visit VirginiaStreetProject.com, text VIRGINIA to 797979, or follow RTC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We are #MidtownProud! Our #VirginiaStreetProject team hosted a Transforming Virginia Street Good Morning Customer Appreciation Event at Jelly Donut on January 22. Attendees received free coffee and donuts.
Learn More at VirginiaStreetProject.com

RTC Program of Projects
 

The RTC follows a performance-based, data-driven planning process and plans its upcoming projects to meet the goals and objectives set by the RTC Board. The RTC Board approved the Fiscal Year 2020 Program of Projects (POP) at its January meeting.

There are six new projects and five annual projects proposed for the Program of Projects. The new projects are shown on the map above and marked with a star.

New Projects:
  • Forest Street Bike Facility
  • Lemmon Drive
  • Spaghetti Bowl
  • Sparks Boulevard
  • Sierra Street Improvements
  • West 4th Street
Programs:
  • 2020 Preventative Maintenance
  • 2020 Roadway Reconstruction Projects
  • Traffic Engineering Spot 9 Intersection Improvements
  • Traffic Management Program
  • ADA ACCESS Transit/Pedestrian Connectivity
RTC fuel tax revenues are the most significant source of funding for projects in the POP.
Learn more about the POP

Cycle Track Coming to Center Street
 

At its January 18 meeting, the RTC Board approved for staff to move forward with a two-way cycle track on Center Street and a southbound bicycle lane on Sierra Street.

The RTC looked at a  number of different options to bring new bicycle facilities to this area of Reno. The options were evaluated for feasibility based on the available space within the roadway, the level of traffic stress for cyclists, cost estimates, existing and forecast traffic volumes, parking impacts, maintenance factors, and connectivity.

The project will address the need for dedicated bicycle facilities connecting the University of Nevada, Reno with the Midtown Reno area.

Construction of the Sierra Street bike lane is tentatively scheduled for spring of 2021 and construction of the Center Street Cycle Track is set for spring 2022 to avoid conflicts with work on the Virginia Street Project.

RTC Starts South Meadows Study
 

The  RTC is working to identify ways to improve mobility in the South Meadows area because we know that area is a fast-growing part of our community. At this time, we are working to identify potential improvements for everyone, including drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit passengers.  Future improvements could include things like reducing traffic congestion, traffic-calming measures and school-zone safety improvements.

We will be looking at a number of different factors as we move forward. We will analyze traffic patterns and transit use, look at land-use data and zoning information and analyze pedestrian and bicycle movements. When we’re done with the study, the results will help us prioritize improvements.

Safety is our top priority, so we will also look at any crashes that have occurred in that area to see how we can improve safety for everyone. Studies have shown that making our community roadways safer for pedestrians makes them safer for all road users. Crash-data analysis will be very important to us as we progress through our study.

We are in the initial stages of our study, but as we continue through the process, we will be looking for input from our community. The RTC will schedule a community-wide public meeting in early March. Be sure to check our website and our social media to get involved and share your comments and ideas.

RTC Proposes Microtransit Pilot Program


The RTC recently held two community open houses to introduce its proposed microtransit pilot program as we begin to develop a transit service change that could be implemented this spring. If approved by the RTC Board, microtransit service would begin in Sparks area. The proposed service change also includes adjustments to RTC RIDE routes 25 and 26 in Sparks.

Microtransit is an on-demand, van-based ride service that allows passengers to request rides on their smartphones or tablets using an app, or by a computer, or by calling FlexRIDE dispatch directly.  The van would pick the passenger up at his or her closest curbside location within the service area, and drop the passenger off at the closest curbside to his or her destination within the service area, and vice versa.

The RTC’s potential pilot program in Sparks would be used in the northeast downtown areas currently served by RTC RIDE routes 25 and 26. To accommodate new microtransit, Route 25 would end at the Prater Way/McCarran Boulevard intersection and Route 26 would be discontinued.  The area east of Iron Horse Shopping Center would then be serviced by microtransit instead.

This on-demand ride service model has been successfully implemented in other cities nationwide and passengers report that it is convenient and easy to use. Rides may be requested the same day that service is needed, making the service similar to ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, but significantly less expensive. The cost to ride this new service would be the same as RTC’s existing transit fares.

The RTC analyzes its transit operations to maximize resources and efficiency to provide quality customer service to riders. This involves tracking ridership data and allocating buses and other resources to more productive routes for efficiency, and operating within financial constraints.

The RTC will present the proposed transit service changes and the public input they receive to the RTC Board in March. The RTC Board will then give direction and approval.

RTC Releases Bicycle, Pedestrian and Wheelchair Annual Report

 
The RTC released its Bicycle, Pedestrian and Wheelchair Annual Report in January. The RTC collects this data to document the number of people walking, using wheelchairs or mobility scooters, or riding bicycles on regional roads. The program has been in effect since September 2013 and documents the proportion of trips that are made using alternative modes and changes in alternative mode use over time.

The key findings include:
  • The September 2018 count recorded the largest pedestrian volumes to date. A total of 9,727 pedestrians were observed during the September count cycle for an annual total of 19,861 pedestrians observed in 2018. Long-term trends indicate that pedestrian activity has been increasing since the beginning of the count program in 2013.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian use is consistently higher where sidewalks and bike lanes are provided:
    • Pedestrian mode share is 0.72% with no sidewalks and 5.76% with sidewalks
    • Bicycle mode share is 0.69% with no bike lanes and 1.61% with bike lanes.
  • The RTC continues to track progress toward the performance measures in the Regional Transportation Plan.
    • 12.4% alternative mode share in the transit service area.
    • 21.6% alternative mode share on Virginia Street.
    • 27.3% alternative mode share on 4th Street/Prater Way.
Read the Report at rtcwashoe.com

RTC Continues Distribution of Federal Mobility Grants for Seniors and People with Disabilities


The RTC is continuing the distribution of grant funding to improve mobility for local seniors and individuals with disabilities. The RTC Board approved $688,863 in grant funding in June for five local agencies. The funding was effective starting October 1, 2018. The RTC administers the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Section 5310 Funding Program for the Reno-Sparks area.

Funding was available to external entities and agencies 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.

Federal mobility grants help our community provide additional transportation options for individuals in the region.

The following grants were approved:
  •  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 at rtcwashoe.com

RTC Thanks NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon, P.E. for His Service

 
The RTC would like to thank retiring NDOT Director and RTC Board Ex-Officio Rudy Malfabon, for his 31 years of service to our state and our community. We wish Rudy a long, healthy and happy retirement as he begins this new chapter of his life.

Rudy began his career at NDOT in 1984, advancing to become a resident engineer responsible for construction oversight of  many NDOT transportation projects. In 1998, he accepted the position of state construction engineer for the Washington State Department of Transportation. He was then recruited by Jacobs Engineering in Las Vegas in 2000, where he worked for three years as manager of Jacobs’ construction management services in Nevada. After being away from NDOT for nearly five years, Rudy returned on July 7, 2003, when he was appointed to the position of deputy director for Southern Nevada, a position approved by the Nevada Legislature in mid-2003 to provide a director’s office presence in Las Vegas.

Rudy has served as an ex-officio member of the RTC board since September 2012. During Rudy's tenure on the RTC Board, we established a stronger partnership with the Nevada Department of Transportation to identify and develop solutions for our growing region. Together, we have successfully delivered projects to improve state-managed roads and freeways within the region.

As NDOT director he has further enhanced communication, coordination and customer service with local agency partners, elected officials, contractors and the general public, and prioritized transportation funding needs, projects and activities across the state. He was responsible for an annual operating budget of more than $800 million and close to 1,750 employees.

Bicyle and Pedestrian Safety Program Funding Available Through Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board

 
The Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board (NBPAB) is offering funding opportunities to Nevada government and non-profit organizations for bicycle and pedestrian safety and education programs.

Nevada county, city and township governments, Nevada schools and educational institutions and Nevada-based non-profit organizations can apply for up to $2,000 in funding for the following types of programs:
  • Initiation, promotion and support of bicycle and pedestrian safety and education programs in Nevada
  • Financial support of the planning and construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Nevada.
  • Grants for community-based bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs in Nevada
  • Bicycle and pedestrian safety outreach
Sample eligible projects and programs include funding for bicycle and pedestrian educational materials and construction projects, as well as development of bicycle and pedestrian mobility and safety plans.

Proposals will be reviewed based largely on program objectives and merit and must be submitted by March 1, 2019, by an authorized official of the applying organization. Funding available for each award may vary to allow for the selection of one or more applicants. Prior to receiving funds, applicants must be a registered vendor with the Nevada State Controller’s Office (http://controller.nv.gov/). Projects and programs must typically complete within one year of receiving an official notice to proceed letter.

Application and more information is available at bicyclenevada.com or by contacting NDOT Bicycle and Education Coordinator Albert Jacquez at (775) 888-7943.

The Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board was created by the Nevada Legislature to advise state agencies on policies, programs and facilities, as well as promote programs and facilities for the safe use of bicycles and pedestrians in the state. The board consists of 14 members appointed by the Governor. More information is available at (775) 888-7433 (RIDE) or by clicking on the Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board link at bicyclenevada.com.        
Learn more at NevadaDOT.com

Upcoming Events and Meetings

February 12
RTC ADA Transition Plan Stakeholders Meeting
1105 Terminal Way in Reno
February 18
Presidents Day Holiday - Transit on Regular 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 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 © 2019 RTC, All rights reserved.


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