US 50 study, Ash Canyon Road plan headed to transportation boards

A map from the U.S. 50 East Carson Complete Streets Study showing density of vehicle crashes in the subject area from April 2018 to September 2023.

A map from the U.S. 50 East Carson Complete Streets Study showing density of vehicle crashes in the subject area from April 2018 to September 2023.

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The Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, followed by the Regional Transportation Commission, will meet Wednesday to review studies and plans that span the eastern corridor of town, all the way into Mound House, to a section of Ash Canyon Road on the west side.

The CAMPO meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. in the community center, 851 E. William St., and is followed by the RTC meeting.

CAMPO will consider approving phase 1 of the U.S. 50 East Carson Complete Streets Study. The study area lies between the I-580 interchange in east Carson and Highlands Drive in Mound House, a section of roadway owned and operated by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Complete Streets is a holistic model for transportation planning that calls for pedestrian safety improvements and multimodal pathways, such as found on South Carson Street or the improvements currently underway on East William Street.

Phase 1 was funded by NDOT. The study compiled crash statistics in the area from April 2018 to September 2023, finding 533 total crashes and six fatalities. The report says NDOT concluded the fatal crash rate in the area is 117 precent above the state average for similar roadways.

“As noted in the table above (through Sept. 2023), five of the six fatalities that occurred were pedestrians,” reads the study. “All but one of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in the late evening or early morning hours when it was dark and where there was little to no roadway lighting. In addition, all but one of the crashes occurred in the travel lane with the exception of one occurring in a marked crosswalk at Airport Road. Drugs or alcohol were a factor in four of the pedestrian fatalities.”

Traffic congestion is a problem for the area as well. The study includes annual average daily traffic counts (AADT) from NDOT estimates. Counts from 2022 “ranged from 22,200 to 31,500 vehicles within the study area.”

“The worst movements at these intersections indicate PM congestion in the eastbound direction, likely caused by commuter traffic returning to residences in Lyon County,” reads the study.

Land use and how people use the corridor for living and work were also examined.

“For the portion of Mound House within the study area, the land use designations are Employment on the north side of U.S. 50, and Suburban Residential on the south side. This land use pattern forces residents to cross U.S. 50 to reach employment destinations and services,” according to the study.

Approximately 940 responses to a public survey were included in the study. The two biggest problems identified by the public were crashes/traffic safety issues (41 percent) and traffic congestion/reliability (44 percent). Most respondents said they use the corridor at least daily. Work (29 percent) and shopping (25 percent) were the two biggest reasons for commuting.

Proposed improvements listed in the study entail visibility striping along the highway to enhancing safety at intersections, such as a pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB) at Highlands Drive, where a young pedestrian was struck and killed Jan. 23.

“Most of the project recommendations in this report are near-term in nature and do not require major capital investment,” the study says. “Planning level cost estimates were applied to each of the project types. It is estimated that approximately $13.9 million would be needed to implement all of the recommended improvements. However, CAMPO and NDOT could take a phased approach to implement the ‘low hanging fruit’ first which would require the least amount of coordinated investment, such as signage and striping improvements. Areas where existing utilities and infrastructure exist (such as an existing power source for PHB) should also be considered for early implementation.

“This study was envisioned as a two-phase approach, with the first phase focusing primarily on safety and operations improvements. Phase 2 of the study, which is not the subject of this report, will expand upon multimodal components and include cultural, historic, landscape, aesthetic, freight, and environmental considerations.”

The full study is available online:

Convening after CAMPO, RTC members will mull over multiple items. One big-ticket item is a Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) grant application for a new trailhead and reconstruction of Ash Canyon Road from Winne Lane to west of the Wellington subdivision, according to a staff report. The $6.36 million project would consist of storm water improvements and multimodal features.

“The project is a joint effort with the Carson City Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Department (because of the connection to federal lands,” reads a staff report. “The Ash Canyon area is the focal point for singletrack trail recreation on the west side of Carson City and it hosts many miles of regionally popular trails. Currently, there is no developed trailhead in the Ash Canyon area, and only one developed trailhead on the west side of Carson City, the Kings Canyon Trailhead.”

The report additionally states: “A developed Ash Canyon Trailhead with standard amenities like a vault toilet and ADA accessible parking spaces is often requested by recreationists in Carson City. A developed Ash Canyon Trailhead would address sanitation issues that are found at existing locations, as well as reduce concerns from residents on Foothill Drive about parking near their property and driveways.”

The city is requesting $5.95 million in federal grant funding, with a local match of $410,000 including $150,000 from the Regional Transportation Fund, $200,000 from the Stormwater Drainage Fund and $60,000 from the Quality of Life Fund.

If the application is approved by the Board of Supervisors and the grant awarded, the project would be constructed in 2027 or 2028.

In other action:

• RTC members will review the Carson City 2024 Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way.

“To comply with Title II of the ADA, Carson City is required to have and maintain a Transition Plan to document how it will make gradual progress toward development of a full, self-evaluated inventory of barriers within pedestrian facilities located in the public right of way,” reads a staff report. “Since the 2015 Transition Plan, Carson City has developed an inventory of existing sidewalks, existing curb ramps, missing curb ramps, and signalized intersections and crosswalks.”

The report states that inventory currently consists of 298 linear miles of sidewalk, 4,282 existing curb ramps, 628 missing curb ramps, 76 signalized intersections and 26 signalized crosswalks.

“The 2024 Transition Plan has expanded the inventory from those listed above to include other types of barriers, such as areas where access narrows to less than 36 inches; support structures (e.g. sign posts, cabinet, or poles) placed in the middle of a pathway; non-ADA compliant curb ramps; discontinuities in the sidewalk, including deteriorated surfaces, excessively cracked, or vertically offset panels that impede accessibility; missing walkways that create gaps in connectivity; and paths narrower than 5-feet without a passing area provided,” according to the report.

The report states the city has 15 narrow access paths (less than 36 inches wide), 238 support structures in the middle of a pathway, 3,635 ADA compliant curb ramps, 647 ADA noncompliant curb ramps, 83 interrupted pathways with gaps of less than 10 feet, 322 missing pathways of more than 10 feet, and 10 paths narrower than 60 inches without a passing area.

• RTC members will consider amending the contract with First Transit Inc. (operator of Jump Around Carson) updating projected maximum billable hours and increasing the contract’s not-to-exceed amount by $505,424.64 for the initial three-year term ending Sept. 30, 2026, among other measures.

“The contract was approved in August 2023, and the initial term began Sept. 1, 2023, and ends Sept. 30, 2026,” according to the agenda. “Amendment 1 clarifies the projected maximum billable hours for JAC and JAC Assist and increases the contract not to exceed amount from $4,479,506.46 to $4,984,931.10. Amendment 1 also updates required FTA clauses. All other provisions of the contract remain unchanged.”


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