Carson planning board focuses on fatalities, road safety

Graph provided by CAMPO showing total crashes in CAMPO areas from 2018 to 2022. Fatalities are represented by the ‘K’ line, and serious injury crashes are represented by the ‘A’ line.

Graph provided by CAMPO showing total crashes in CAMPO areas from 2018 to 2022. Fatalities are represented by the ‘K’ line, and serious injury crashes are represented by the ‘A’ line.

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Thirty-eight is the preliminary number of traffic fatalities on Nevada roads for the month of January, Lacey Tisler of the Nevada Department of Transportation told the Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) during a meeting on Feb. 14.

Fifty-two percent of those deaths were pedestrians she said, including two within the CAMPO area – one in Mound House Jan. 23 and one in north Carson City on Jan. 28. Although the latest figures are preliminary, they show a jump in recent years. There were 333 fatalities statewide in 2020, 385 in 2021 and 416 in 2022, Tisler said. The preliminary 2023 total is 386.

“It’s incredibly alarming, what we’re seeing right now,” she said.

Tisler, NDOT’s chief traffic safety engineer, was speaking to CAMPO during a hearing on safety targets the state sets each year as required by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). CAMPO approved the state’s targets, which Tisler pointed out NDOT didn’t meet in 2022. The ultimate goal is zero fatalities by 2050.

“It’s doable,” Tisler said.

In the CAMPO area, which includes Carson City, northern Douglas County and western Lyon County, transportation officials are developing a Local Road Safety Plan that evaluates problem areas and prioritizes safety measures and projects. The plan is funded by NDOT.

“There’s another element to this plan: the why. Why do we need this plan?” said Carson City Transportation Manager Christ Martinovich. “I would argue that this plan has elements of humanity.”

Martinovich said on-site visits of problem areas in development of the plan occurred Jan. 25, two days after 10-year-old Ella Marquez Conchas was killed in Mound House near the intersection of Highlands Drive and U.S. 50. Three days after the site visits, on Jan. 28, 14-year-old Lexi Rodriguez was killed in the crosswalk at the intersection of North Carson Street and Nye Lane.

“Those are some of the reasons why we’re doing this plan,” said Martinovich.

A draft of the plan is tentatively scheduled to return to CAMPO in April. Data presented Wednesday revealed out of 4,565 car crashes in the CAMPO area from 2018 to 2022, 4,265 occurred on local roads, not on the interstate.

Of the total crashes in the same period, there were 35 fatalities and 82 serious-injury crashes in the CAMPO area.

Ten priority areas have been identified for certain segments of road and intersections. Segments include Saliman Road from Long Street to Fairview Drive; North Carson Street from Long Street to I-580; South Carson Street from U.S. 50 to Stewart Street; South Curry Street from Lake Glen Drive to Curry Circle; and East College Parkway from I-580 to U.S. 50.

Priority intersections include U.S. 395 and U.S. 50/I-580; Goni Road and Old Hot Spring Road; Airport Road and U.S. 50; U.S. 395 and Topsy Lane; and Highlands Drive and U.S. 50.

“The total number of crashes each year, since 2019, has been decreasing; however, the number of serious injuries and fatalities remains constant and still elevated,” said Martinovich.

The presentation also included FHWA-approved safety measures and their effectiveness as measured by crash reduction factors (CRF) expressed as a percentage. For example, intersection illumination has a CRF of 38 percent for nighttime crashes, meaning nighttime crashes at the location could be reduced by 38 percent after lighting is installed.

“In total, the FHWA has 28 counter measures and strategies that are proven to reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries,” Martinovich said.

Next steps in the plan will be to compile a list of such safety projects, prioritize projects and identify funding sources including grants.

Mayor Lori Bagwell, who sits on CAMPO, shared a letter she received from Carson resident Leslie Torres calling for more safety measures at the North Carson and Nye Lane intersection.

“I let her know that whenever we have a critical fatality or accident, we’re always going to review our safety data and to look if there is something we should be programming in the future to take care of this,” Bagwell said.

The mayor emphasized it will take public participation to help identify problem areas.

Donna Inversin of Muscle Powered said the local nonprofit plans on being involved in the process and promoting pedestrian safety information, both in English and in Spanish for the community’s Hispanic population.

For information about Nevada fatalities, visit

In other action:

• The Carson City Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) heard an update on Jump Around Carson, the public bus system used in the capital city. A monitoring report was submitted for the commission’s consideration.

Ridership increased from 144,199 fixed-route trips in fiscal year 2022 to 145,233 fixed-route trips in fiscal year 2023, according to the report.

“Transit ridership nationally plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is beginning to slowly rebound. Nationally, ridership is still below pre-pandemic levels,” reads the report. “The American Public Transportation Association reported an 18.18 percent increase in national public transportation ridership between September 2022 and September 2023. JAC’s ridership has also increased from a pandemic low of 9,540 trips per month to 13,300 trips per month, an increase of 39 percent.”

U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds are primarily used for Jump Around Carson operations, vehicles, maintenance and related projects, including paratransit services for seniors and disabled people. Required local matches range from 10 to 50 percent depending on the funding and use.

JAC does get support from the city’s general fund for local matches. JAC received $504,800 in general fund transfers in fiscal year 2023 and was budgeted at $629,800 in general fund money this fiscal year.

“JAC’s future will be challenged by limited local match funding,” reads the JAC report. “While increases in provided matching funds have benefited the service, future continuation of limited local funding levels may result in future FTA apportionment reductions. FTA revenue is outpacing available local match, which may result in grant funds reverting to FTA for use by other agencies/jurisdictions when funds aren’t utilized within each FTA program’s required timeframes.”

The future of JAC is expected to be an agenda item at a Carson City Board of Supervisors retreat slated for Feb. 29.

Bagwell, who sits on RTC, said she sees empty buses in the community and would like more route-specific data to show where the need is.

Supervisor Lisa Schuette, who also sits on RTC, agreed more data is needed on specific routes and users.

• RTC members approved a $1.53 million contract with Sierra Nevada Construction for the Winnie Lane Reconstruction Project.

The project includes sidewalk, curb ramp and roadway reconstruction of Winnie Lane between North Carson Street and Mountain Street.

Martinovich expects construction to begin this spring.


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