Amid major population growth, Washoe RTC starts work on 2050 transit plan
SPARKS, Nev. — In 2018, vehicles traveled across Washoe County roadways more than 3.9 billion miles, according to the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County.
With that number sure to increase as greater Reno-Sparks’ grows, RTC Washoe is blueprinting future needs with its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan.
The plan, RTC says, will address safety, mobility and connectivity issues stemming from projections that Reno-Sparks’ population will increase by more than 100,000 residents over the next decade, according to the Northern Nevada Economic Planning Indicators Committee.
Building upon the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan adopted in 2017, RTC says the new community-based plan will be developed through a “robust outreach process” and conducted in collaboration with businesses, partner agencies and public input.
RTC kicked off that process Feb. 26 with a community meeting focused on the Sparks industrial district, where traffic congestion is a major concern, said Amy Cummings, interim executive director of RTC Washoe.
“We’re experiencing so much population and employment growth right now in our community,” Cummings said. “(Business owners) want to make sure that people still have the ability to get to their business conveniently.”
Dan Doenges, interim director of planning at RTC Washoe, said safety is also a concern for the city’s major warehousing/manufacturing area, where many businesses operate during non-traditional hours and trucks shuttle in and out like clockwork.
“A lot of employees that might be more transient dependent or might bike or walk to work, they’re having to contend with that continuous truck traffic in the area,” he said. “So, getting employees there safely and also making it more visible since you have that high truck volume traffic in the area.”
According to RTC, the 2050 2050 plan is on an 18-month schedule for development and approval. The commission anticipates the draft ready for review in the fall and the plan completed by or before May 2021.
Several issue-based workshops and roundtables will address the following: transportation safety; youth transportation issues; economic development; transit vision; downtown Reno circulation; and North Valleys roadway network expansion.
RTC says it does not have confirmed dates or locations for future meetings, other than that several will occur over the next few months.
In the meantime, Cummings encourages business owners and citizens to take the RTP survey at rtp2050.metroquest.com.
“It’s a great way for people to give us input on their vision, goals and priorities for transportation needs,” she added.
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.