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RTC Commissioners,

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


Seniors on a bus

Thanks to funding through section 5310 of MAP-21, seniors in the community will have transportation to non-emergency medical appointments.  The RTC Board recently approved an agreement worth about $300,000 with Access to Health Care for the purchase of vehicles to take seniors to doctor and other medical appointments.  Funding was also approved for a transportation helpline, which could be established within the next few weeks, to help seniors connect with transportation options.  The helpline will also have information on other services that are important to seniors in the community.  These important projects are taking shape after an extensive public outreach process to hear from citizens and stakeholders about the needs of seniors, individuals with disabilities and other disadvantaged populations.  This process resulted in an updated Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan (CTP), which is guiding funding to projects and programs that meet the needs of the community.  Other agencies/programs funded through the CTP are: The Sierra Nevada Transportation Coalition, CitiCare, Sanford Center for Aging Senior Outreach Services and the Senior Companion Transportation Program by Senior in Services.


Construction of the SouthEast Connector project continues as crews begin work south of Pembroke Drive. On October 28th, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued the Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR), for Washoe County and City of Reno. The CLOMR relates to revisions in the area’s Flood Insurance Rate maps and affirms the SouthEast Connector project does not change the flood insurance requirements for residents in the area.  Engineering of the SouthEast Connector causes no net rise in flood water and in some cases, reduces flood waters near homes.

The CLOMR was needed to proceed with construction work within City of Reno limits. Now, work within the Rosewood Lakes Golf Course will soon be underway. Activities residents will notice include: bridge foundation construction, extensive earth-moving and ongoing installation of environmental controls, such as silt fences, straw waddles, and turbidity curtains. These environmental controls are installed to protect the surrounding environment from and during construction. An additional 50 jobs will be generated during this next stage of construction with that number increasing to 150 direct construction jobs in the coming months.

Protecting and enhancing the natural environment is one of the key goals of the project. Throughout construction of the new roadway, the RTC is working hand-in-hand with wildlife officials, cultural resource experts, and dust control and storm water runoff officials as it relates to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit and other permits required for the project.

Features of the project include: a 5.5 mile roadway linking Sparks to south Reno; a paved multi-use path that will parallel the road; removal of trash and debris; converting seven acres of unhealthy wetlands into an 80 acre self-sustaining wetland complex; and sequestering soil with the high levels of mercury under the new roadway.  The RTC’s plan for historic mercury left over from the Comstock mining days is estimated to permanently remove 22,000 pounds of mercury from being exposed to the environment.  It is evident the SouthEast Connector benefits the environment. The project is on schedule to be completed in late 2017.

For information about the CLOMR contact Washoe County at (775) 328-2055 or City of Reno at (775) 334-2350.

In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco denied the Upper Southeast Communities Coalition’s request to issue an emergency injunction to stop construction of the SEC. This follows a motion of denial for preliminary injunction, issued in June by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California which the coalition appealed to the Ninth Circuit.  On October 19th, judges for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments from attorneys for the Upper SouthEast Communities Coalition (plaintiff/appellant), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (defendants/appellees), and RTC (intervenor/appellee) regarding the district court’s denial of the motion. 

The RTC is confident in the engineering, design and environmental work that went into developing the project.  Multiple alignments were considered for the roadway – ultimately the best alignment was selected that had the least impact to residential homes, commercial enterprises and the environment.  The public provided input at nearly 200 public meetings throughout the development and design of the project. 

Construction of the SouthEast Connector continues.  Currently, crews are continuing construction of box culverts, which ensure the road will be passable during a major flood such as the region experienced in 1997.  Piles are also being driven into the ground to form the supports of five bridges included in the final phase of the project.  Already, 4,000 tons of invasive weeds (whitetop) and soil containing seeds and roots has been removed from the project site.  The removal of whitetop will continue throughout the project. 

We await the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

For project info and to sign up to receive weekly updates go to http://southeastconnector.com.


People cross Virginia Street

The Virginia Street BRT Extension Project will result in shortened crossing distances and improved safety for everyone.

The RTC’s exciting plans to enhance RAPID bus service on Virginia Street are moving ahead with input from the community and the Reno City Council.  The Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project will improve all modes of transportation on this vibrant street at the heart of Reno.  The project will also bring the project area into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and better link the University of Nevada, Reno to Downtown Reno and Midtown.  The Reno City Council and the RTC Board approved a design concept that includes the extension of RAPID transit to the University, bus-only lanes and bike lanes in the University area, and construction of five new RAPID stations to serve the University and three RAPID station upgrades in Midtown.  The project will also add street trees and wider sidewalks.  The RTC will be holding future public workshops as the project moves closer to final design, anticipated by spring 2016.  This will give the public the opportunity to work together with the RTC and provide input on the aesthetic elements and details of the project. More information: http://virginiastreetrapidextension.com


Kids Walk to School at Libby Booth
Students walk to Libby Booth Elementary School in Reno on Oct. 7

Kids carried signs and celebrated a special walk to school on October 7.  RTC staff members joined representatives from the Washoe County School District and Washoe County School Police to mark International Walk to School Day.  This annual event teaches kids valuable street safety skills and the importance of exercise and being active.  The event, which is marked yearly across the globe, was organized locally by the Safe Routes to School Program. 

This program is funded by the RTC and teaches kids at local schools about safety and exercise year-round.  Officer MJ McCloud from Washoe County School District Police visits schools teaching safety skills and good health habits while conducting fun activities. Since the 1960s when 89 percent of kids walked to school, obesity rates have climbed.  Today only 35 percent of students walk to school.  To learn more about Safe Routes to School, go to: http://www.safekidswc.com.

Pyramid Sound Walls Rendering
A rendering shows new privacy screens, expanded roadway capacity, safer crossing and the preservation of trees at the intersection of Pyramid Way and McCarran Boulevard.

The RTC is clearing the way for a much needed capacity project at Pyramid Way and McCarran Boulevard.  Roughly half the structures acquired through the public right-of-way process have been demolished.  The RTC has now approved the contract for demolition of the remaining structures, and construction work on the intersection itself is projected to begin in March.

During peak hours, this high-crash intersection typically has significant traffic backup and vehicles wait through multiple progressions of the traffic signal before being able to pass through the intersection.  The RTC’s project will add an additional through lane in each direction on Pyramid Way, add dedicated turning lanes and create a multi-use path.  The RTC continues working with the community, and has safety and security measures in place to prevent vandalism, trespassing and illegal dumping.  The project is anticipated to be complete in 2018.  To learn more, visit http://pyramidmccarran.com.


The Nevada State Legislature made pedestrian safety a focus during the last session.  The legislature passed several key bills that became effective October 1.  SB 144 has made it illegal to make a U-turn in a school zone when the school speed limit is in effect and children are present.  Passing in active school zones and school crossing zones is also now against the law.  SB 144 also gave local governments more flexibility in designating pedestrian safety zones.  SB 245 increased the maximum term of punishment for people who leave the scene of an accident resulting in death or injury. Download an info graphic from the City of Reno about the new traffic laws and other important laws now effective.


upcoming events

October 30 Nevada Day Observed (RTC Administrative Offices Closed)
Happy Nevada Day
November 4 Citizens Multimodal Advisory Committee
November 20 RTC Board Meeting


Your RTC. Our Community.