KOLO-TV and the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) bring you a weekly news segment focused on transportation in the Truckee Meadows. “The Road Ahead with RTC” airs Tuesdays at 6:20AM during “Good Morning Reno” as well as Wednesdays in the 5:30PM half hour of KOLO 8 News Now at 5 and Thursdays between 11AM and noon during “Midday.” This weekly news segment features experts discussing a wide range of transportation projects, needs and solutions. Following each broadcast, webcasts of each interview will be available here on the web channel for at least one month. For more information about public meetings and RTC events: click here.

The Road Ahead With RTC

September 2, 2014:Sun Valley Corridor Study

The RTC is studying how to make Sun Valley Boulevard more accessible to vehicles, transit, pedestrians and bicyclists. An open house event is planned for Thursday, Sept. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the public to provide feedback and for RTC staff to answer questions. The open house will take place at the Sun Valley Community Center at 115 W. 6th Avenue in Sun Valley.
The study examines Sun Valley Boulevard from Scottsdale Road to Highland Ranch Parkway, and the area between Yukon Drive and Chocolate Drive.
Based on input from members of the public at a previous design workshop and open house, proposed improvements and streetscape alternatives have been developed. The September open house is an opportunity for people to share their opinion on the concepts.
For more information, go to: SunValleyBlvd.com

August 26, 2014:Senior Fest

Health screenings, giveaways and lots of entertainment! The 19th Senior Fest is taking place at the Reno Town Mall on September 2nd from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature free mobility travel training from the RTC. This is an opportunity for seniors to practice boarding a RTC bus – there will also be instructors to help seniors plan trips and answer questions.
Additionally, the event features free health screenings. People can be tested for diabetes and have their blood pressure checked. Flu and Pneumonia shots are also offered. There will be more than 60 booths with information and fun activities.
Senior Fest also includes live musical performances and great food to taste! Don’t miss out!
For more information, go to: Senior Spectrum

August 19, 2014:SEC Phase One Substantial Completion

The first of two phases of the SouthEast Connector project is substantially complete. Phase one is about one mile of the overall 5.5 mile roadway. RTC began construction on phase one in February 2013. Some small finishing touches will continue to take place during the next month. Phase one was finished about six months ahead of schedule.
RTC used an advanced drill shaft equipped with sensors to analyze the soil. This was the first time this technique has been used on a public works project in Nevada, saving the taxpayers about one-million dollars. The project is funded through voter-approved RTC-5.
The SouthEast Connector will provide congestion relief on many local roadways. It’s needed not just to accommodate future growth, but today’s traffic load. The project will also benefit the environment, including through habitat restoration and enabling the region to return to more of a natural floodplain. It does not increase flooding in developed or developable lands.
Phase two is expected to begin in autumn, with the entire roadway completion projected for late 2016 or early 2017. The road will be named Veterans Parkway when it opens. Until full completion, members of the public should remain out of the project site for safety.
For project updates, go to: SouthEast Connector.com

August 12, 2014:Keystone Avenue Open House

RTC has been studying Keystone Avenue and the surrounding area. The study involves Keystone both north and south of I-80. Goals include both finding ways to improve mobility and enhancing safety. Working with the public, RTC has learned more about the challenges for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians, and how to address them.
The public has already provided some ideas such as: lengthening a left turn lane for traffic going onto Kings Row. Proposed improvements near that intersection would also provide better access for bicyclists. RTC is also considering adding a bike lane to Vine Street, which is parallel to Keystone, but doesn’t have as much traffic.
The public is invited to consider recommended improvements, and provide feedback. An open house event is scheduled for Thursday, August 21st at Peavine Elementary School from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 1601 Grandview Avenue in Reno. A brief introduction will take place at 5:15 p.m.
More information on the Keystone Avenue Corridor Study is available on: RTCWashoe.com Click on Planning.

August 5, 2014:SouthEast Connector Update

The first of two phases of the SouthEast Connector project is nearly complete. The first phase is construction of the roadway from Sparks Boulevard and Greg Street to about 800 feet south of Clean Water Way. It involved the construction of two bridges – Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Truckee River and the Clean Water Way Bridge. Phase one was constructed in order to facilitate safe, convenient access over the Truckee River from I-80 to the rest of the project corridor.
Even though phase one is scheduled for completion in August, the roadway will not be open until both phases are finished. Completion of the full 5.5 mile road is anticipated in late 2016 or early 2017. It’s very important people stay out of active construction zones for their own safety.
The SEC project will provide many recreational opportunities when completed. Not only will it relieve traffic congestion, a multi-use path will parallel the entire road. This will allow bicyclists, walkers and runners to safely travel between Sparks and south Reno. People will also be able to connect to other trails in the area.
Additionally, the SEC offers substantial benefits to the environment. Right now water from floods doesn’t spread out over the floodplain. This creates fast-moving water and erosion. The SouthEast Connector helps the floodplain return to more of a natural state, and will address these problems.
For updates on the SEC, and to learn more about the project’s benefits, go to: SouthEast Connector.com

July 29, 2014:Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan

Transportation is important to get people to places they need to go, such as jobs, doctor appointments and grocery stores. The intent of the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan is to bring together human service agencies and transportation providers to deliver efficient, coordinated services to the region’s senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and those who are financially disadvantaged. It helps RTC find ways to best address their needs, and determine which services are the biggest priorities to our community – so RTC can allocate federal funding.
The senior population is expected to grow in Washoe County 70 percent between now and 2035. RTC is expecting a big increase in demand for services, including paratransit – a door-to-door transit service for people who have disabilities. RTC wants to be proactive and be ready for the coming challenges. The plan also helps identify existing gaps in service.
The plan is currently being updated, and input from the public is welcome and needed. Everyone is invited to a meeting at the Washoe County Senior Center August 7th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information on the Coordinated Human Services Transit Plan go to: RTCWashoe.com

July 22, 2014:RTC-5

Voters sent a message that having a strong transportation system is important to them in 2008 when they approved RTC-5. RTC-5 is not a new tax. The measure allows for fuel tax indexing, which means fuel tax is adjusted to keep up with the rate of inflation. In addition to overwhelming voter support, the measure was approved by state lawmakers and the Washoe County Commission – it became effective in 2010.
RTC-5 ensures important transportation projects are built in Washoe County, and purchasing power is not eroded by inflation. RTC-5 will help fund improvements soon at the intersection of Pyramid Way and McCarran Boulevard. It has already helped improve Moana Lane and West Plumb Lane. It’s also funding construction of the SouthEast Connector. In addition to funding RTC projects, it helps municipalities pay for projects to keep roads from deteriorating.
As a direct result of RTC-5, traffic jams have been reduced. It’s also created many construction jobs, and will continue to do so.
Generally, fuel tax revenues are declining as people drive less and vehicles become more fuel efficient.
For more information on improvements happening in Washoe County, go to: RTCWashoe.com and click on Streets and Highways.

July 15, 2014:Mt Rose Highway Improvements

Meg Ragonese, Public Information Officer for the Nevada Department of Transportation, tells us about some big improvements happening on the Mount Rose Highway.
Meg says NDOT is making good progress on a project to improve the Mount Rose Highway, which is also State Route 431. The work includes repaving and creating better roadside drainage from the Mount Rose junction in south Reno all the way to the summit.
NDOT is repaving at the optimum and most cost-effective time before pavement deteriorates too much, and will be adding 18-thousand linear feet of guard rail and safety rumble strips in areas. NDOT is also adding hillside mesh to help prevent rocks from tumbling into the roadway.
People should plan for delays with single lane closures of up to 30 minutes. The project will finish in autumn.
Drivers should pay attention, follow the speed limit and be sure to obey traffic controls.
Be sure to visit RTC WASHOE dot COM and join RTC on Facebook and Twitter.

July 8, 2014:Bike Rack App

RTC has a new app to help people find bike racks.
The app lets bicyclists tell each other where bike racks are located. People who use the app just take a picture of the rack, and those go on a map for other bicyclists to find.
This app also helps with future planning for bike racks.
People can also take pictures of where they think bike racks ought to be located. The information is sent to RTC, which will be able to tell if certain locations get a lot of requests.
The free app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android. Just search for “RTC Bike Rack” to get it on your device. It's already available.

July 1, 2014:Truckee River Trail Reopening

Garth Oksol, RTC project manager, explains a path is reopening.
Part of the Truckee River Trail in Sparks was closed in early 2013 to allow for construction of the Southeast Connector. This was the portion from Cottonwood Park to Larkin Circle. Now, construction is far enough along to reopen it.
The location of the trail is a little different at one point. RTC brought the trail under the new Veterans Memorial Bridge, which gives bicyclists and pedestrians a great opportunity to see the progress made on the Southeast Connector.
There’s also new lighting under the bridge and near the trail’s connection with Greg Street – that helps enhance safety.
RTC is also reopening a path along Sparks Boulevard. This will help people get to both the Legends and Sparks Marina.
Be sure to visit RTC WASHOE dot COM and join RTC on Facebook and Twitter.

June 24, 2014:Blue Ribbon Committee

RTC is forming a Blue Ribbon Committee to examine unmet transit needs. Public Affairs Administrator Michael Moreno says the Blue Ribbon Committee for transit is made up of influential business and community leaders. They’ll be coming up with ideas on how to implement the region’s vision for transit, which is not funded at this time. The vision for transit identifies unmet transit needs here in the community – and it was developed by the public as part of RTC’s 2035 Regional Transportation Plan. People also told us they want more transit at the Transit Connections 2013 summit held recently. The Blue Ribbon Committee will meet monthly. By early next year, the committee will make recommendations to the RTC Board of Commissioners on how to achieve the region’s vision for transit.
Be sure to visit RTC WASHOE dot COM and join RTC on Facebook and Twitter.

June 17, 2014:Sun Valley Corridor Study

Roger Hanson, RTC project manager, addresses the future of the Sun Valley Boulevard Corridor.
Roger says RTC is looking at ways to improve transportation options for all users of Sun Valley Blvd whether it be by auto, bus, bicycle or on foot. In February, RTC shared with the community a look at existing conditions, and received their comments.
Now, RTC wants to sit down with Sun Valley residents in a workshop to help design the improvements they want to see. Residents can then tell RTC about their preferred design at an open house later that week.
Sun Valley residents are invited to Hobey’s casino, from 6 in the evening until 8. The design workshop is June 23rd. The open house is on June 26th.
Go to: Sun Valley B-l-v-d dot com to learn more, and for your opportunity to weigh in.
You can also visit RTC WASHOE dot COM and join RTC on Facebook.

June 10, 2014:Dump the Pump

RTC Public Information Officer Joe Harrington tells us about the 9th Annual Dump the Pump Day, Thursday, June 19th. RTC is offering free rides on its transit services. It’s an event sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association to encourage the public to leave the car at home and ride transit instead to help the environment.
With gas prices rising, dumping the pump saves on fuel costs. It also spares your vehicle from wear and tear. On average, people can save almost $10,000 per year by using transit. Riding the bus also gives you some extra time to or from work when you can check e-mails, do some reading or text legally.
You can take part by riding the bus, bicycling, walking or even carpooling. Call 348-RIDE or visit rtcwashoe.com for routes and schedules to plan your trip. There are also incentives for participating by recording your “green trips” at rtcwashoe.greenride.com.

June 3, 2014:Positively 4th Street

The RTC recently completed a study on how to improve transportation for everyone along the 4th Street / Prater Way corridor along with a history project of the corridor.
Local historian Alicia Barber says RTC wants to improve this corridor to make transportation more convenient and safe for everyone. RTC has been talking with a lot of people in this area. And as a result of those conversations RTC is planning improvements, like designated bike lanes, wider sidewalks and more transit options.
She says 4th Street includes what’s left of a railway depot that was constructed in 1910. It’s just one of the historic locations people can check out as part of the 4th Street/Prater Way History Project. Just download the free mobile app Reno Historical or visit the website, renohistorical.com, to see the history.
(www.positively4thstreet.org)
A3: On June 14th, the Positively 4th Street event will be take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. This street fair will also feature historical bike, walking and bus tours. The bus tour will even be given on a RTC retro-style bus.

May 27, 2014:Preventive Maintenance

RTC engineer Scott Gibson says RTC’s preventive maintenance program covers about 200 lane miles of pavement each year. A highlight this year is West 4th Street, which the RTC is doing in cooperation with NDOT, to provide bike lanes on this cycling route. Other projects can be found on rtcwashoe.com.
Gibson says these thin surface treatments – slurry seals and micro surfacings – literally slow down the aging process of the roadways in our high desert climate. Regular maintenance extends the life of a roadway, protecting our investment and reducing costs for reconstruction in the future. They also provide a blank palette to restripe the road to improve safety and provide space for other users such as pedestrians and bicyclists.
There is a weekly schedule online; visit rtcwashoe.com and look for Preventive Maintenance under the streets and highways/road projects section.

May 13, 2014:Sand Harbor Weekend Transit Service

Roger Hanson, RTC Senior Transit Planner, says weekend bus service begins Memorial Day Weekend and lasts through Labor Day. Fares will be $5 for adults and $2.50 for seniors, youth and people with disabilities. The fare includes entry into the park, too.
Reno pickup and drop-off locations are at the RTC transfer station at Meadowood Mall and at the Summit Mall in the south parking lot.
The service is made possible with federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration. More details and schedule information are available at rtcwashoe.com; click on Hot Topics.

Apr. 22, 2014:Plumb Lane Project

The RTC has finished its work on Plumb Lane and is celebrating this neighborhood enhancement project. It had been underway since last summer and RTC has just completed the striping and landscaping. This portion of Plumb Lane between Ferris and McCarran has a new road, new sidewalks, a new multi-use path and new water lines and drainage facilities.
RTC wants to thank all the residents and commuters of the corridor for their patience, support and participation to bring this neighborhood enhancement project to completion.
For information about RTC projects and programs visit RTCWASHOE.com and join it on Facebook and Twitter.

Apr. 15, 2014:RTC Ridership

March 10th, the American Public Transportation Association announced Americans took 10.7 billion transit trips last year… the highest in 57 years! The RTC says with our economy improving, our area is seeing increases in ridership. Overall, we saw a 1% increase in 2013 with some routes having higher increases.
The RAPID service has anywhere from a 12 to 14% increase. TMCC pass rides are up 20% over last year. TMC is working to make transit more convenient with RAPID service to UNR and starting this summer, weekend service to Sand Harbor. With 8.10 million rides this past year, our community is using public transportation to get to work, school and other great places.
Transit service on Virginia Street supports over 45k jobs along the corridor. For every $1 invested in public transportation approximately $4 is generated in economic returns.

Apr. 8, 2014:RTC Electric Buses

The RTC is expanding its fleet, with four brand-new battery-electric buses, made possible with a federal grant from the Federal Transit Administration. These buses are designed to provide savings the RTC can invest back into its transit program, with lower fuel and maintenance costs.
Savings are designed to be anywhere from $300k to $600k in maintenance costs and over $430k in fuel costs for each electric bus over the life of each vehicle. And with ZERO EMISSIONS, the RTC is working to protect our air quality.
Throughout the day while each bus is in service, it pulls into the 4th Street Station and charges within 5-10 minutes using the FastFill Charging Station while passengers load and unload.

Mar. 18, 2014:RTC Ride Service Change Proposals

Two proposals for changes are coming: summer weekend service from Meadowood Mall to Sand Harbor at Lake Tahoe and rerouting the RTC SIERRA SPIRIT south of the Truckee River to Liberty Street.
The public suggested the Tahoe route during the update of the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan. We’re creating new transit opportunities for the region using federal funds for a 3-year demonstration project.
The RTC Board will review these proposals and make a decision. We will notify the public through our media partners, our website and on Facebook.
For more information, visit rtcwashoe.com.

Mar. 4, 2014:RTC Vandalism

RTC buses have recently been the target of vandalism. RTC Director of Public Transportation David Jickling talks to us says to report vandalism or RTC property, call 348-RIDE.

Jan. 21, 2014:Pyramid-McCarran Intersection Project

Update on the Pyramid McCarran Intersection Improvement Project.

Last month, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Record of Decision on the Environmental Impact Statement. Following 8 years of work, this action provides federal authorization and funding to advance the project into the final design and construction phase. This project is an estimated $70 million dollar investment for the community.

The RTC has been acquiring properties from willing sellers under early acquisition and hardship programs authorized by NDOT and the Federal Highway Administration. This decision now allows the RTC to move forward with acquisition of the remaining properties. The RTC will host community meetings in the future to keep the public informed about the project.

Construction activities are expected to begin in the summer of 2015 with final completion in 2017.

For information about the Pyramid McCarran Intersection Improvement project, visit the project website at pyramidmccarran.com or rtcwashoe.com.

Jan.14, 2014:Getting Involved With RTC

There are many ways the public can participate with the RTC to voice their comments and ideas about projects and programs. Spokesman Michael Moreno says:

The RTC encourages public participation for all the work we do. We have advisory committees comprised of citizen volunteers who give us input on our projects and programs and give recommendations to our board. These meetings, including the RTC Board meeting, are held monthly; schedules are available through our website calendar. All these meetings are open to the public.
People can get involved by subscribing to MyRTC for project info and updates through our website; attending community meetings for our projects, but most importantly, sharing ideas, comments and concerns about our projects through all these venues.
This past November we started our Facebook and Twitter sites. Like us on Facebook by searching Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County or @RTCWashoe on Twitter.

Visit rtcwashoe.com.

Oct. 29, 2013:Value of Transit

The Value of Transit is an initiative to broaden awareness about the benefits transit provides our community... from boosting our economy to making connections to supporting tourism and improving our health. The RTC is investing in this effort so everyone has a better understanding about our community’s public transportation system and how we can improve it. Visit rtcwashoe.com and look further on how transit enriches our lives, our environment and our future.

Oct. 15, 2013:Keep it Clean/Know the Code

The Washoe County Health District’s Keep It Clean: Know The Code Program informs Washoe County residents of the status of our air quality November through February, and lets them know if it’s safe and permissible to use their fireplaces or woodstoves. This information is provided daily on our website, ourcleanair.com. In the Truckee Meadows, wood burning accounts for nearly 50 percent of wintertime fine particulate pollution. The Green, Yellow, Red Burn Code program helps reduce harmful emissions that come from wood burning. This helps to keep air pollution levels from reaching levels that have adverse affects on peoples’ health, and to prevent further pollution emissions when air pollution has reached high levels. Transportation is another large source of air pollution. Riding the bus, a bike, or car pooling can help reduce air pollution, especially during this time of year. All of our individual changes add up to keeping the air clean.

Oct. 8, 2013:Safe on Red

Safe on Red is a campaign that was prompted by the passage of Assembly Bill 117. A law that allows motorcycles, bicyclists, tri-mobiles and scooters to legally turn left or proceed through a red light after two complete cycles – but only after safely yielding to pedestrians and other traffic. With the type of sensing traffic signals we have in Nevada, these types of vehicles were not able to trigger a signal change because their bikes do not have the metal surface area to activate a green light. They would sit in intersections and the light would never change for them. Under the new law, they can now legally move through the intersection on red but only after safely yielding to pedestrians and other traffic. The most important thing to know is that safety is the biggest priority. Safe on Red is a program now underway through November. Information about the new law is available at many bicycle and motorcycle shops and at safeonred.com.

Sept 24, 2013:SouthEast Connector

Phase 1 of the SouthEast Connector project has been underway for many months now. The Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Truckee River is beginning to take shape. Placement of steel girders which will support the bridge deck is now underway. Travel lanes are now open at the intersection of Sparks Boulevard and Greg Street. The through lanes at Sparks Blvd. and turn lanes at Greg which will access the SouthEast Connector at its northern end will remain closed until construction of the new road is complete. Phase 1 is 40% complete and on target for a spring 2014 completion.
The RTC recently submitted its Section 404 and 401 permit for phase 2 to the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps just concluded its public comment period to receive input from the community about the project. We anticipate receiving the Corps’ decision by the end of the year. If approved, construction will begin in 2014. The viewers can review and download the permit at SouthEast Connector DOT com.
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