Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced that the city is contributing $1 million to purchase right-of-way at bus stops operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) to help the RTC in its continued efforts to enhance safety at local transit stops. Funds for right-of-way acquisition come from an appropriation of the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax.
“We are continuing a serious conversation with our community about how we can pull together resources to create a long-term, safer environment for pedestrians, including those who wait at our public bus stops,” Goodman said. “The fact is moving shelters further back from sidewalks or creating bus turnouts increases safety at stops. The challenge is gaining the right-of-way to make these efforts come to fruition and acquiring it is the critical role the city plays.”
In 2008, an independent safety study commissioned by the RTC reported that moving shelters at least 5-feet from the curb greatly enhances pedestrian safety. Since then, the agency has spent $15 million on moving stops to the far side of an intersection, pushing 515 stops and shelters further back from the sidewalks, raising curbs, installing and transitioning stops into 478 bus turnouts and creating pedestrian buffers where possible.
In the last several months, city public works officials have been working together with the RTC to prioritize the acquisitions based on ridership volumes at stop locations combined with high traffic volumes and speeds. The city estimates it can acquire right-of-way for 150-200 bus stops in the city’s jurisdictional boundary. Currently, the RTC operates 1,434 bus stops within the City of Las Vegas and 3,156 active stops throughout southern Nevada.
“I’m very proud of this partnership and the city’s continued commitment to make our community safer,” said City of Las Vegas Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, who is also supporting a “Look Out Kids About” event on Feb. 11 to encourage people to take action to prevent pedestrian related fatalities. The RTC is a partner in the event.
Clark County Commissioner and RTC Chairman Larry Brown echoed that same message.
“Through the years, we’ve made significant strides to enhance the safety of our customers who are waiting at our transit stops, but we’re to a point with many of our stops where we physically don’t have anywhere to go,” said Brown. “With the city’s $1 million contribution and partnership, as well as the growing support of private businesses, we will be able to acquire much needed right-of-way for local transit shelters and stops that will further enhance the safety of our family, friends and visitors.”
Funds for the city’s right-of-way acquisition efforts will be available starting July 1 and the city and RTC anticipate the entire process — from surveying to project completion — to take between one to two years to complete.
Leaders from the private sector have also stepped-up to provide added support in the RTC’s effort.
A local church and US Bank, at its branch on 4320 E. Tropicana Ave., also recently provided right-of-way access to the RTC for bus shelters on their property. Without the access to a 5 feet by 25 feet parcel of land, the equivalent of less than two parking spaces, bus stops at both locations would consist of a sign rather than a carefully placed bus shelter, an amenity transit riders prefer to have at stops.