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.

The Road Ahead With RTC

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.

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.
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