Project Frequently Asked Questions
South Carson Complete Streets Project
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the project improvements?
The South Carson Complete Streets Project will provide continuous roadway, bicycle, pedestrian, safety, and beautification improvements through Carson City. The project limits are from the intersection of South Carson Street and 5th Street south to approximately the intersection of South Carson Street and Appion Way. Work will generally take place between the existing curb lines. The project includes reduced travel lanes, dedicated bicycle facilities, a shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists, upgraded utilities, landscape and aesthetic improvements, and enhanced business access along South Carson Street.
The corridor is divided into three areas with three different cross sections. These cross sections were developed through a series of public and stakeholder meetings where input was collected. The conceptual designs were approved by the Regional Transportation Commission, including reduction in the number of lanes and construction of a shared use path. Conceptual designs can be viewed here: CarsonProud.com.
2. Will there be any improvements to the frontage road adjacent to South Carson Street?
For the most part, the frontage road will operate similar to how it functions today. The current design includes upgrades to some of the pedestrian ramps along the frontage road in order to comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as some slight modifications to some of the sidewalk areas and driveway aprons. However, significant utility and roadway surfacing improvements along the frontage road are outside the scope of this project.
3. What are the traffic impacts from the reduction in the number of lanes?
The conceptual design was based on an expected 40% reduction in traffic on South Carson Street after the opening of Phase 2B of I-580 (Fairview to US 50) in the summer of 2017. Traffic
modeling has been confirmed by subsequent traffic count data collected after the opening of the freeway, which indicates the reduction in annual average daily traffic is slightly greater than 40% on South Carson Street (43,000 vehicles per day down to 25,000 vehicles per day), as highlighted in the figure below of traffic volume data collected along South Carson Street near Koontz Lane.
The section of the South Carson Street corridor north of Stewart Street has also experienced significant reductions in traffic volumes as a result of
the Carson City Freeway Bypass, resulting in an approximately 33% reduction (30,000 vehicles per day down to 20,000 vehicles per day) following the opening of Phase 2A of I-580 (William to Fairview) in 2009 and an additional 30% reduction (17,500 vehicles per day down to 12,500 vehicles per day) following the opening of Phase 2B of I-580 (Fairview to US 50) in 2017. These reductions are highlighted in the figure below of traffic volume data collected along South Carson Street near 8th Street.
For a more detailed overview of the 2017 Annual Average Traffic Counts collected by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and traffic counts related to the upcoming South Carson Street Complete Streets Project, please review the following documentation presented at the October 13, 2018 Carson City Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) meeting : NDOT Annual Traffic Report.
Traffic analyses performed along the corridor have all indicated that a redesigned South Carson Street would function well at today’s traffic volumes and in future conditions.
At the RTC meeting on June 12, 2019, City staff provided an informational presentation and discussion on traffic impacts and expectations resulting from the South Carson Street Complete Streets Project. Staff presented detailed traffic count information and findings from an independent Traffic Evaluation prepared for Carson City that assessed anticipated traffic impacts that may result from the South Carson Street Complete Streets Project. Design improvements resulting from the report were also presented. Below is the complete RTC staff report, as well as is the traffic evaluation report.
4. There is already significant congestion near the South Carson Street and I-580 interchange during the weekday peak PM hour (5 PM to 6 PM). Will this project increase congestion at the interchange?
The City controls the South Carson Street right-of-way north of Appion Way and NDOT controls right-of-way south of Appion Way, including the US 50/I-580 interchange. The South Carson Complete Streets Project improvements are proposed within Carson City controlled right-of-way, therefore will not result in any improvements or lane re-configurations south of Appion Way in NDOT right-of-way. Full lane reductions will not occur until north of Snyder Avenue, approximately 1,000 feet north of the interchange. Based on past traffic analyses and the current design, the City does not anticipate any adverse impacts to traffic at the I-580/US 50 interchange as a result of the South Carson Complete Streets Project. However, the City is currently working with NDOT on optimizing signal timing through the entire corridor to help move traffic more efficiently in the current condition, as well as after the construction of the project.
5. Will the final design include roundabouts?
Yes. There will be a new roundabout at S. Carson Street and S. Stewart Street. Roundabouts are a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) proven safety countermeasure with marked safety benefits. Design engineers believe that a roundabout at Stewart Street will improve safety and traffic operations and help delineate the project from a faster, signalized corridor south of Stewart Street to a calmer, gateway to downtown north of Stewart Street. The roundabout will also serve as an inviting downtown gateway connecting to Nevada’s state capital and provide an ideal location to implement landscaping, art and signage to improve aesthetics along the corridor. Lastly, a roundabout at Stewart Street will provide an opportunity for future connectivity to Curry Street, which is an important part of the City’s long term transportation plan to provide more connection points along the South Carson Street corridor with South Curry Street.
6. What are the benefits of roundabouts?
Roundabouts can provide lasting benefits and value in many ways. They are often safer, more efficient, less costly and more aesthetically appealing than conventional intersection designs. Additionally, roundabouts complement other transportation objectives – including Complete Streets and multimodal networks – without compromising the ability to keep all users (pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles) moving efficiently through the corridor. From a safety perspective, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety identified roundabouts as a proven safety countermeasure because of their ability to substantially reduce the types of crashes that result in injury or loss of life and improve safety for all users, including pedestrians and bicycles. Most significantly, the FHWA Office of Safety reports that roundabouts REDUCE the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by approximately 80% when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections. The design consultant engineer for the South Carson Complete Streets Project determined, using methodology from FHWA to quantify savings realized from safety enhancements, that the Stewart Street Roundabout will reduce crashes by 50%, resulting in an overall societal savings of nearly $3 million over a 20-year period. Beyond safety improvements, roundabouts are essentially maintenance free from an operational standpoint, resulting in much less operations and maintenance costs over their lifetime than traditional signalized intersections.
Like any new or unfamiliar feature, it is essential that people understand how roundabouts work. Although well designed signage and striping is critical to providing a safe and easily navigable roundabout, the City plans to provide extra outreach and education over the next year on how to properly use a roundabout for all users and on all roundabout types.
7. What are the proposed speed limits?
The design team is still evaluating speed limits through the corridor. However, the currently proposed speed limits are as follows:
• Remain 45+ mph south of Clearview Avenue
• Reduce to 35 mph between Clearview Avenue and Stewart Street
• Reduce to 25 mph north of Stewart Street
8. Will there be additional pedestrian crossings along South Carson Street included with the project?
Yes, the current design includes two illuminated pedestrian crossings along the corridor in addition to perpetuating the existing crossings along the project limits. These crossings will likely be located at mid-block locations that allow for a refuge island in the center left turn lane area for pedestrians where they can pause and activate the rapid flashing beacon for the second half of the crossing. The crossing locations are subject to change as the design progresses, but the plan is to provide one additional pedestrian crossing between Sonoma Street and Koontz Lane and one between Rhodes Street and Colorado Street. These locations were chosen based on engineering analysis and feedback gathered from the public at the public meeting held on December 11, 2018.
9. How will this project benefit cyclists and pedestrians?
The primary purpose of this project is to provide a Complete Street. What are Complete Streets? Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access and comfortable accommodation for all users of all ages and abilities; including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists of all types. As an added benefit, Complete Streets support economic development and enhance the visual experience for users. In addition to accommodating motorists on the roadway, Complete Streets focuses on the needs of travelers outside that group, including younger or older people, those with disabilities, and those who travel by transit, bicycle, or on foot, and who have oftentimes been overlooked in the transportation planning process. Complete Streets is about safety and efficiency as well. Complete Streets provides a better quality of life, often through measurable environmental benefits, and can spur economic development.
Specifically, this project will include a Class I bikeway, also known as a multi-use paths or shared-use path. Class I facilities are one of the safest bicycle facilities possible for bicyclists and pedestrians. The multi-use path for the South Carson Complete Streets Project is separated from the roadway by a landscaping buffer, thus providing additional protection for pedestrians and cyclists. The project multi-use path will connect with the current NDOT multi-use path located south of Appion Way to provide connectivity to the broader system. Additionally, this project will provide bike lanes adjacent to the roadway for much of the project length. At the conclusion of this project, South Carson Street, combined with parallel bicycle facilities along Center Drive/Silver Sage Drive/Roop Street, will provide excellent pedestrian and cyclist opportunities for many different types of users and levels of experience.
10. When will construction begin and end?
The project team has started the engineering design and construction is anticipated to begin near the end of 2019. Project completion is estimated in 2021. Carson City is working with Sierra Nevada Construction (SNC) for preconstruction services including design review, cost estimating, stakeholder and public involvement and scheduling.
11. What are the traffic impacts during construction?
• Utility installations will be the first phase of construction and may include sidewalk closures, lane closures and minor detours.
• Roadway improvements will require lane closures and minor detours. The project team anticipates constructing one side of the roadway at a time. One travel lane in each direction will be maintained to the maximum extent possible.
12. How will the construction be phased to avoid impacts to businesses and special events?
The project team, including the contractor, will begin to plan out construction phasing and traffic control after the 60% design milestone. The project team met with many of the businesses during October 2018 to discuss concerns in regards to traffic control and planned special events. Much of the feedback gathered will be incorporated into the construction plan as the project moves forward with the goal of minimizing impacts to businesses as much as possible during construction.
13. What is the project cost and how is it being funded?
The total project construction cost is estimated to be approximately $19 million. The project will be funded from a number of sources, including State funds, utility funds, redevelopment funds, grants, sales tax money, as well as $7.6 million from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. The highly, competitive TIGER grant was awarded to Carson City in the spring of 2018 by the United States Department of Transportation, which described the project as an important investment in Carson City’s infrastructure with a focus to improve pedestrian safety and mobility in the area, and enhance commercial and business access.
14. What utility improvements and impacts are expected?
Utilities along the project corridor will be upgraded during construction. The project team is working closely with all utilities and partner agencies including, NV Energy, AT&T, Charter, Verizon, Southwest Gas, and NDOT. Additionally, critical storm drain, sewer and water infrastructure upgrades will be performed as part of this project. Construction operations will be combined whenever possible to minimize traffic impacts and reduce road closures. In the event of an outage or service disruption, customers will receive a written notice at least 72 hours in advance and personal contact/notification at least 48 hours prior to service disruption.
15. Will the public have any other opportunities to provide input on the design?
Yes. Although the conceptual design and typical street cross sections have been approved by the Regional Transportation Commission, the City will be seeking public input during the design process for elements including sidewalk paving treatments, landscaping, furnishings, public art, street lighting and other specific design elements. City staff will work with individual property owners and businesses to identify specific needs. The project team will also host community meetings throughout the design process for the public to view project plans and information. The meeting times and locations will be advertised through CarsonProud.com, e-notifications and text notices.
16. How can I support businesses within the project corridor during construction?
Carson City and the project team encourage the community to support all businesses during construction. The Contractor, Sierra Nevada Construction (SNC), has volunteered to provide an incentive program to help bolster support by issuing weekly SNC-funded gift cards to local businesses. Sign up to receive project updates at: CarsonProud.com
Registration automatically results in an opportunity to receive a $25 gift card, courtesy of SNC, to a participating business of your choice.
One gift card will be distributed every week during construction.
17. How can I get involved and stay informed?
Tom Grundy, PE
You can sign up for e-notifications by visiting CarsonProud.com or enroll in text notifications by texting Carson Proud at 31996. Notifications will include project updates, construction news, and events. Follow Carson Proud on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. A number of stakeholder and other public meetings will be announced through CarsonProud.com, e-notifications and text notices.
18. Who can I contact for more information?
Please contact Tom Grundy, Project Manager at 775.283.7081. You can also go online to: CarsonProud.com. To send an email to project team, use firstname.lastname@example.org.