Transit center to be constructed on UNLV campus


Construction is under way on a $3.4 million multi-modal transit center on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus , 4505 S. Maryland Parkway.

The project, funded mostly by the Federal Transit Administration and partly by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, is slated for a late August completion, according to RTC officials.

“As a university, we are committed to working with our regional partners to expand mass transit in a town that needs it,” UNLV president Neal Smatresk said in an email. “Using us as a hub is a recognition of the large volume of people who move in and out of our campus everyday.”

The southern portion of Paradise, especially along the Maryland Parkway corridor, is an area that the RTC has been looking to improve as far as mobility for some time, according to RTC general manager Tina Quigley.

“This is only the first step toward expanding in the UNLV area,” Quigley said. “Maryland Parkway is one of the city’s busiest corridors, and UNLV is an integral component of it.”

A quarter of the population living along the Maryland Parkway corridor does not own a vehicle, making mass transit even more important, according to a study conducted by the RTC.

The commission is also planning to expand express routes out of the campus hub, including one to the Bonneville Transit Center, 101 E. Bonneville Ave.

“It’s all about connectivity,” Quigley said. “Connecting people to the university, downtown, the Strip, hospitals and retail is our main concern.”

Gerry Bomotti, senior vice president of finance and business for UNLV , said the initial outdoor facilities are just the first phase of the university’s master plan for the southeast portion of the campus.

“This really allows us to start building transit ridership and add another level of convenience on campus,” he said.

Bomotti indicated that future phases, still in the design phase, could include a route through the south end of campus — University Avenue is slated to connect to the road running immediately north of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and to Harmon Avenue — along with amenities, such as bike lockers and showers.

The transit center is part of the university’s ongoing UNLV Now project, a proposed plan to create a 150-acre mixed-use development on campus, including a 60,000-seat domed stadium, retail shops, restaurants and student and faculty residences.

The plan has seen recent setbacks after the university dropped its initial partner, Majestic Realty Co., and its owner Ed Roski’s commitment of $360 million.

“(The transit center) has been incorporated into the master plan, and if we get a new stadium, will clearly be useful in moving crowds on and off campus,” Smatresk said.

The first phase is fully funded with more than $2.8 million from the federal government and nearly $700,000 from the RTC.

“I don’t anticipate any major immediate changes in the university as a result of this hub,” Smatresk said. “But as we become increasingly residential, I expect that ridership of university students will grow and will make Las Vegas and Clark County more accessible — particularly for out-of-state and foreign students.”

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Nolan Lister at nlister@viewnews.com or 702-383-0492.

 

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