RTC wants input on light rail, buses on Maryland Parkway

Is light rail the future of Maryland Parkway? Or is another less permanent option the key to the area’s transportation needs?

These are the questions being asked of residents by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

Aside from light rail, a bus rapid transit system — a system featuring dedicated bus lanes, that could be used as turn lanes when buses are not present — or enhancing the current bus route 109, are being considered for Maryland Parkway.

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.

RTC estimates more than 9,000 bus riders and 35,000 vehicles travel on Maryland Parkway daily.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

The RTC is accepting resident suggestions for what the transportation option for the future of the key corridor is through March 7.

“As a community, we need to identify enhanced multi-modal options that will support our valley’s growth, reinvest in our neighborhoods, and allow us to move large amounts of people reliably and efficiently,” said Tina Quigley, RTC general manager in an email. “Maryland Parkway is a prime example of a corridor ripe for this investment, but first we need our community’s feedback on what they want the future of transportation to look like in the corridor.”

The route has a sizable economic scope since Maryland Parkway is a crucial corridor linking high-activity centers like McCarran International Airport, UNLV, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center and the Boulevard Mall, as well as residential and commercial areas. An extension is planned to reach into the Medical District and the UNLV School of Medicine of Charleston Boulevard near downtown.

An environmental impact study must occur before any project can begin, but work could start as early as 2022, the RTC said.

RTC plans to host several events to gauge resident feedback in the coming weeks.

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

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