Midtown, Council say RTC has poor communication

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Midtown merchants expected the Virginia Street renovation project to impact them as construction made access difficult, keeping customers away, but a consistent complaint has been a lack of communication from the Regional Transportation Commission staff.

They've been saying they aren't being listened to and aren't being kept informed about scheduling and design elements that affect them.

"That is completely accurate," says Haley Mosley, owner of Two Chicks restaurant. "Especially concerning parking. That has been our number one concern from the beginning and at this moment they're still saying they'll address it later."

Late Wednesday afternoon, as the RTC appeared before the City Council for an update on the project, they learned some council members sometimes have the same complaints.

"I'm offended," said Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus,"that Mr. (RTC Executive Director Lee) Gibson tells me that he will not give me an audience with himself and his staff on a project in my ward that he have advocated for six years unless I have my minders present."

"I think we can all agree that we need to communicate in -I hate to use the word--in a more robust fashion," Gibson said later.

So, he suggested weekly or bi-weekly meetings in Midtown between the RTC, the merchants and city officials.

That could lead to a reset in a relationship which appears to be in need of one, but problems remain and the most disruptive phase of the project--the actual rebuilding of the street--is still ahead.

"I'm hopeful," said Kasey Christensen, the owner of SUP restaurant. "It's really great to have City Council on our side in really fighting for what we feel is a really important change for our street, not just a public transportation project, but we think of it as making our street better and making the city better."