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” and Thursdays between 11AM and noon during “Midday.” This weekly news segment will feature 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.
The Road Ahead With RTC
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.
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.
Aug 13, 2013:CitiCare
CitiCare is a not-for-profit organization that raises money to provide door-to-door transportation for disabled persons who cannot qualify for taxpayer-supported transportation.
The RTC provides door-to-door transportation, via RTC Access, for people with disabilities who cannot drive themselves or ride the bus independently. But RTC’s financial resources can only provide this service for people who live within a ¾ mile of a bus line within the ADA zone. CitiCare pays nearly 80% of the cost of rides for the areas outside of the ADA zone, so people won’t be stranded in their own homes. CitiCare and RTC, have worked together to make it possible for any eligible disabled rider, calling from anywhere in Washoe County, to get a door-to-door ride to a destination. We’re very proud CitiCare can help out this way.
Visit our website at citicarenv.org to learn about our mission and how to donate to our efforts.
Aug 6, 2013:Roadway Safety
There have been more than 150 deaths on Nevada roads this year. Across the state, NDOT, the RTC and many others build roads to be as safe as possible. It’s part of the state’s Zero Fatalities traffic safety goal. But ultimately, traffic safety relies on everyone on the road.
Many people have probably seen the state’s Zero Fatalities traffic safety campaign, just like the billboard behind us. The campaign reminds us all to be pedestrian safe, don’t drive impaired, buckle up, stop on red and focus on the road.
When we think of ourselves and our family, the only acceptable goal is Zero Fatalities. And these are some important ways to help us all get home safely at the end of every day.
July 16, 2013:RTC 2013 Preventive Maintenance Program
This is a significant program that covers about 200 lane miles of pavement each year. RTC will be doing about 50 individual streets. The biggest road this year is Vista Blvd. in Sparks but we’ve also done large segments of Red Rock Road and will be doing roads in Incline Village for Washoe County, Plumb and Moana lanes in the city of Reno.
These thin surface treatments – slurry seals and micro-surfacings - we call them Oil-of-Olay for streets, literally slow down the aging process of the roadways in our high desert climate. A regular reoccurring program of preventive maintenance can double the life of a roadway and these treatments are a fraction of the cost of a conventional rehabilitation or reconstruction. They also provide a blank palette for us to restripe the roadway to improve safety and provide space for other users like bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users.
Every week we post an updated schedule showing where we hope to be working over the next two weeks. Go to www.rtcwashoe.com and look for Preventive Maintenance under Projects under the street and highways tab.
July 9, 2013:RTC Virginia Street Corridor Study
This study will help shape the vision of the Virginia Street Corridor for improvements from Mt. Rose Highway north past UNR to North McCarran Blvd.
Working with the City of Reno, we’re seeking input from the community to determine the types of improvements the community would like to see to make it safer and more accessible for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and motorists to promote economic prosperity
RTC will be hosting community events to discuss the study and hear comments, ideas and concerns regarding the corridor. We’re currently conducting a survey which is available online at rtcwashoe.com or at businesses located along the corridor.
July 2, 2013:RTC Initiates Regional Federal Framework
RTC is working with local entities like UNR, the RSCVA and EDAWN to coordinate our messaging and federal relations activities to Congress. We want to demonstrate the linkage between transportation, tourism and economic development and the success our agencies have had in making joint investments such as the RAPID service on Virginia Street and the benefits of the RTC-5 fuel tax for our regional road network.
We’re reaching out to our congressional delegation as well as leadership members of the House and Senate that serve on committees for transportation, highways, transit, tourism and appropriations.
This is an opportunity for us to let the nation know how we are moving forward with major roadway and transit investments that will support a world class infrastructure system in Washoe County, leveraging our key location between California and the eastern part of the nation. We hope this will provide more opportunities to bring increased federal funding to the region.
April 2, 2013:Traffic Signal Timing
Although the cities of Reno and Sparks, and Washoe County operate the traffic signals, one of the main reasons the RTC exists is regional mobility. Traffic signals play a big part in regional mobility. Bad signal timing can cause unnecessary delay and pollution, and waste gas. So we want to make sure the signals work well. But there are nearly 400 hundred traffic signals, and just a handful of people who work on them. The RTC provides resources that the local agencies just don’t have. In the past, we’ve used some of our federal funds to hire consultants to come in and help, and now our own staff is working on the program with assistance from Dr. Zong Tian at the university.
If our streets were all one-way streets, it would be a lot easier. But we can’t just time the signals in one direction. People going the other direction would also like to have it green when they arrive. And drivers on the side street too. The signal also has to give enough time for pedestrians and bicycles to cross the street safely, so we can’t always change the signal as fast as we’d like. And emergency vehicles can change signal timing to get safely through the signal. So there are lot of factors to balance, we end up making compromises to get things to work out reasonably well.
We think that commuters know best how the signals are supposed to work. So if something is out of whack, we’d like them to let us know at our Signals Hotline – 335-7623, or 335-ROAD. We route the messages to the agency that takes care of that signal. So we’re hoping through crowd-sourcing, the technicians will find out about problems much sooner.
March 5, 2013:RTC 2035 Regional Transportation Plan
We’re approaching the end of the planning process for the 2035 RTP. We’ve been gathering input from the community and local, state and federal agencies during the past 18 months. We will have an open house to present the draft RTP document to the public to receive feedback on March 14th at the Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno.
The RTP is an investment in our quality of life. Transportation promotes livability and economic development. This plan helps to define our priorities and the vision for our community to provide and improve regional connections, transportation choices and safety.
There is strong support for increased transit service throughout the region. The challenge we have is to provide that service with the limited financial resources we have available, today and in the future. The 2035 RTP will help guide how we meet these needs and demands… for transit and regional road projects.
February 26, 2013:Nevada Disabilities Conference
Family Ties is collaborating with the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and the State Health Division, among others, to address the needs of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing healthcare and other specialized services. The conference is open to people with disabilities, the professionals who work on their behalf, and their families and caregivers.
Four days of state-of the-art information on improving the health and lives of children and adults with special healthcare needs including developmental disabilities and other conditions. Registration is now open to the public.
February 12, 2013:I-11 Intermountain West Corridor Study
The Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation are working together on the two-year Interstate 11 (I-11) and Intermountain West Corridor Study. Congress recognized the importance of the portion of the Corridor between Phoenix and Las Vegas and designated it as future I-11 in the recent transportation authorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The study includes detailed corridor planning of a possible high priority interstate link between Phoenix and Las Vegas, and high-level visioning for potentially extending the corridor north to Canada and south to Mexico.
January 2, 2013:What Does NDOT Have Planned for Nevada?
NDOT conducts studies to identify needs, collect data, initiate and fund projects, working with other agencies such as the RTC. NDOT is responsible for planning all modes of transportation throughout the state, including rail, aviation, bike and pedestrian and transit in addition to roadways.
Sept 28, 2012: Citicare Relies on Donations to Help Those in Need
Donna Kollman, president of the non-profit Citicare, explains how the public can help provide transportation to those in need. These donations offer the gift of independence to many Washoe County residents who would otherwise not be able to travel to medical appointments, work, grocery stores and churches -- activities that others take for granted. Citicare helps RTC ACCESS provide mobility and freedom to the elderly and people with disabilities.