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RTC finalizing long-term, Las Vegas valleywide mobility plan

Updated February 9, 2020 - 6:10 pm

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s comprehensive Las Vegas Valley-wide mobility plan is nearing its final stop.

The final recommendations of RTC’s On Board plan, derived from a series of public meetings and surveys over the last two-plus years, will be presented in March, according to Craig Raborn, director of metropolitan planning for the RTC.

Based on eight key strategies, the plan includes projects for both short and long-term improvement in Southern Nevada.

“Right now we have 2.2 to 2.3 million people that live in the region and the number of visitors continues to grow; population continues to grow by about 50,000 every year,” Raborn told the Clark County Commission last week. “That puts pressure on the transportation system, so it’s really important that we take this forward-looking, this 20-years-out kind of look at all of the things we think the region needs to have for mobility for the future.”

The On Board study looks at everything that deals with mobility, including traditional transit improvements, high-capacity transit options, pedestrian and bicycle improvements, and emerging technologies.

The RTC identified these broad eight strategies that it will look to implement over the next 20 years.

Building a high-capacity transit system

Options include bus rapid transit lines and light rail on around 200 miles worth of routes, Raborn said.

One of those routes is a bus rapid transit line being developed for the Maryland Parkway corridor after the RTC decided against a light rail option there.

Other areas identified in the On Board program for possible short-term high-capacity transit options include stretches of Las Vegas Boulevard — not including between Tropicana and downtown Las Vegas — Charleston Boulevard between Nellis Boulevard and Downtown Summerlin, and a line that would include Boulder Highway, Flamingo Road and Decatur Boulevard.

Long-term high-capacity possibilities include Eastern Avenue, Craig Road and Sahara Avenue.

Expand service to maximize access to housing, jobs

The overall goal of this portion is to increase service areas, especially around portions of the valley that are undergoing steady growth. One such area is the Henderson West area, the stretch of Henderson along St. Rose Parkway where the Raiders headquarters and training facility, Amazon and other high-profile projects are in the works.

“We need to make sure we’re looking at our large-scale employers, particularly in west Henderson,” said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft. “I have some huge employers in my district that both are here and that we’re continuing trying to recruit around the Raiders practice facility. There’s not public transit that way.”

Make travel options safer, more secure

With a string of incidents occurring on RTC buses recently, safety of the passengers using public transportation has come into the spotlight.

Raborn said this means making safety- and security-related improvements that will make alternative mobility options more appealing to riders.

“These can be projects or programs such as adding on-bus security, increasing the presence of call boxes at high-risk locations,” Raborn said. “The goal is if you make those alternatives safer and more appealing, it makes it more likely that someone will choose to take those alternative modes.”

Make short trips easier

RTC will look to make options such as biking or walking more attractive for shorter trips. This will be looked at as a way to get people to travel to a transit stop or even a trip to the neighborhood convenience store.

The complete streets program, which includes sidewalks and better-marked crosswalks, also falls into this portion of the On Board plan. The streets program is aimed at making areas safe for all users, no matter what mode of travel they choose.

Expand dedicated service for seniors, others

RTC is looking to improve the quality of transportation for specific populations, including people with disabilities, seniors and veterans. Service for seniors would be doubled with this phase, and, assuming funding is available, RTC’s paratransit service would be expanded to cover the entire Las Vegas Valley, Raborn said.

Improve connections to major destinations

With Las Vegas featuring a number of major destinations and more coming online in the next few years, how eventgoers get to and from those destinations is also a key focus

“This would improve service to the airport, as well as special event venues and major jobs destinations,” Raborn said.

The plan could include express shuttles and event-specific shuttles, Raborn said.

Provide reliable transit for Strip and downtown employees

With about one-third of the valley’s jobs falling along the Strip and downtown Las Vegas, RTC is looking at how to improve transit to those high-employment areas.

The goal would be to provide mobility options that are reliable, quick and convenient for those employees.

The proposed enhancements include incorporating shuttles to back-of-house entrances to resorts to allow employees to get in and out of work easier, avoiding the general population and traffic that brings.

Leverage technology to improve mobility and sustainability

With new technologies coming on board, RTC will monitor what is working and what is not.

Better fare payment and information sharing for transit routes, upgrading their vehicle fleets to clean energy and others.

Before the RTC finalizes and presents the On Board plan, it will hold community meetings Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the National Atomic Testing Museum at 755 E. Flamingo Road.

Residents can also take the survey at onboardsnv.com during a 90-day comment period that closes March 31.

“We’re going out and getting feedback on what the public thinks of what these strategies represent,” Raborn said.

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