RTC hears public feedback on 3 options for Maryland Parkway’s future

With transportation officials ready to decide if light rail is in Maryland Parkway’s future, residents sounded off on their concerns for the important Las Vegas corridor.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada hosted the first of five public hearings Wednesday for the three proposed options for the busy corridor: light rail, a bus rapid transit system featuring dedicated bus lanes that could be used as turn lanes when buses are not present, or enhancing the current bus route 109.

“I thought this was a fantastic meeting, it was a packed house,” said David Swallow, senior director of engineering and technology for the commission. “They identified their concerns and they asked very pointed questions. You can tell they took the time to study this project ahead of coming here.”

After the public hearing period ends March 7, the feedback will be compiled and summarized and taken to the RTC board as early as its April 11 meeting, Swallow said. After the preferred mode is chosen, the RTC will submit the choice to the Federal Transit Administration this summer and then seek funding for the project.

Construction on the desired project is tentatively planned to begin in 2022, with the project taking up to 2.5 years to complete, depending on the mode chosen.

The project would link McCarran International Airport, UNLV, several hospitals and medical centers and retail and commercial developments. Its 8.7-mile route would stretch along Maryland Parkway to Carson Avenue in downtown Las Vegas, to Casino Center to the Bonneville Transit Center, then loop around the Medical District and back, according to the RTC.

The area along the route has 90,000 residents and sees 35,000 vehicles and 9,000 transit riders daily. There are 25 transit connections along the route, including the nine busiest in the Las Vegas Valley.

Titus takes an interest

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., represents District 1 in the Las Vegas Valley, which includes the area where the project is slated to occur.

“What happens to Maryland Parkway is very important to me and my constituents and the economy of the entire valley,” Titus said at Wednesday’s public meeting.

The three options, which all would include pedestrian and bicycle facilities, vary widely in possible costs. The light rail plan could cost as much as $750 million while the bus rapid-transit plan could cost up to $335 million and the upgrading of route 109 is estimated to cost about $29 million, according to the RTC.

Of the three options, Titus hasn’t definitively decided which she believes is best, but one sticks out to her over the others.

“I haven’t supported an option, but I’m very supportive of light rail,” Titus said. “I just want to be sure that there’s public input, we have the resources needed and that it’s street smart, and accommodates all different kinds of users.”

Attendees of the meeting raised a variety of concerns, including security worries of the possible light rail, construction disruption and the usefulness of a light rail system, among others.

Questions about funding

Several in attendance asked about funding for the project. Although the funding for whichever option is chosen has not been identified, Swallow assured residents it’ll be figured out, likely without raising taxes.

“We do have local funds already appropriated (Fuel Revenue Indexing) to the project, but we want to go compete for funds at the federal level,” he said. “We think this is a very strong project and we want to compete for those funds.”

Federal funds could account for up to half of the project’s cost, with some federal funding already earmarked for Maryland Parkway and other amounts possible through competitive grant programs, Swallow said.

Two of the options — bus rapid transit and light rail — include dedicated lanes that would serve as defacto right turn lanes for other motorists commuting the stretch.

Eliminating a regular traffic lane on an already busy road has several residents in the area worried.

Joyce Duvall, who’s lived off Maryland Parkway near Sunrise Hospital her entire life, said more studies are needed on the effect the project might have on other streets in the area, especially regarding the dedicated lane.

Duvall said the large amount of residents in the area who don’t use public transportation and opt to use personal vehicles would be hindered by the dedicated lanes.

“Having nearly been hit by buses pulling out without looking creates a problem,” said Duvall, who hasn’t decided which option she supports. “If people use the right lane to pass traffic by, not that its legal but you will see people do that, because there’s no place else to go. It’s the reality of this town.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter

Local Videos
Butterflies At The Springs Preserve
The butterfly habitat is now open at the Springs Preserve. Learn about butterflies and take in the peaceful surroundings. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Conservatory's spring display has a Japanese theme
The Bellagio's conservatory is hosting around 65,000 flowers, to form a Japanese theme this spring. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs closes (Caroline Brehman/Kimber Laux)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas officially closed its gates Sunday, March 17, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Honoring a fallen North Las Vegas Police officer at his namesake school
The 20th Annual Raul P. Elizondo Honor Day celebrates the fallen North Las Vegas Police officer's legacy at his namesake school. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Windy day in Las Vegas Valley
The Review-Journal's camera on the under-construction Las Vegas Stadium the was buffered by high winds on Wednesday, March 14, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
March gloom falls on Las Vegas
After a rainy overnight, gloomy skies hover over Las Vegas Tuesday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
John Katsilometes gets his head shaved at St. Baldrick's
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes gets his head shaved by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman during St. Baldrick's Foundation shave-a-thon on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York in Las Vegas Friday, March 8, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Blue Angels take flight over Las Vegas Strip
The Blue Angels’ U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron flew their signature Delta formation over a part of the Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport and east Las Vegas and were scheduled to fly over Hoover Dam. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Gross World Records
A group of about 20 children gathered around a TV at Sahara West Library on Feb. 27 for a history lesson on the most disgusting world records.
Graduation for Renewing HOPE program
The Renewing HOPE program graduation for homeless who spend nine months in Catholic Charities program. Graduates are preparing to enter the workforce. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Car crashes into Starbucks near Las Vegas Strip
Lt. William Matchko of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police gives details about a car crashing into a Starbucks at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, near the Las Vegas Strip, on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Car crashed into PT’s Gold
A 60-year-old man who police believe was impaired drove into a PT’s Gold at Silverado Ranch and Decatur boulevards Thursday night, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. William Matchko said. The driver was hospitalized and is expected to survive. A man inside the bar was hit by debris but drove himself to the hospital, Matchko said. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (part 1)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (pullout)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids Read Books To Dogs At The Animal Foundation In Las Vegas
Kids from local Las Vegas elementary schools took part, Thursday, in a program at the Animal Foundation, where they read books to dogs. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pioneer Trail highlights historic locations in West Las Vegas
The Pioneer Trail, a 16-site route of historically significant locations in Las Vegas, starts at the Springs Preserve and snakes east until it reaches above the brim of downtown. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutefsya
Vegas Warm Weather Hits Las Vegas Valley
Between Feb. 20-21, parts of the Las Vegas Valley were hit with 7.5" of snow. Less than a week later, it was sunny with temperatures in the 70s. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest at the VA Hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II Army veteran, was arrested in November after he caused a ruckus at the VA Hospital in North Las Vegas and stole his driver's car keys. He was arraigned on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, and the charges will be dropped after 60 days. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Claytee White talks about Black History Month
An interview with Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reflecting on the Moulin Rouge and a segregated Vegas
Former employees of the Moulin Rouge, the first integrated hotel-casino in Nevada, talk about what it was like in the brief six months the casino was open. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices
Home prices rose in every ZIP code in the Las Vegas Valley in 2018 for the second year in a row, according to SalesTraq. Prices grew fastest in older, more centrally located areas. But prices were highest in the suburbs. The top three ZIP codes for price growth were 89119 (29.8%), 89146 (25%) and 89030 (24.6%). The top three ZIP codes for median sales prices were 89138 ($464,500), 89135 ($420,500) and 89052 ($370,000).
Wagonwheel Drive overpass reopens after ice closure
Overpass at Wagonwheel Drive reopens after ice on the onramp caused the ramp to be shut down, Feb. 22, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Keeping warm at the city of Las Vegas’ homeless courtyard
With help from the city of Las Vegas, a Salvation Army shelter stays open during the day Thursday and Friday, offering a safe place for the homeless to find respite from freezing temperatures and snow. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sloppy, Slushy Road Conditions Lead to Slow Traffic
Traffic slowed to a crawl on Jones are near Russell as conditions worsened Thursday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Winter storm blankets west side of Las Vegas Valley
On Wednesday evening through early Thursday a winter storm dumped more than 7 1/2 inches of snow on some parts of the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas snow day for children
Las Vegas kids play in the snow that fell on Feb. 21, 2019. (Belinda Englman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow closes Red Rock Canyon, residents enjoy rare snowfall
The greater Las Vegas area was hit with snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2019. This video shows the areas surrounding Red Rock Canyon and the Summerlin community. Video by: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas kids attend school in the snow
Las Vegas children attend school during a rare snowstorm on Feb. 21, 2019. Staton Elementary School and other CCSD schools remained open. (Glenn Cook/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People enjoying the snow in Summerlin
Fox Hill Park in Summerlin was busy Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2019, with people enjoying the rare snow that fell overnight. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP advises motorists to take caution during Las Vegas snowstorm
NHP advised motorists to take caution during the snowstorm in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing