Reno Streetcar Coalition Makes Itself Known

by Mike Van Houten / May 27, 2015

A group of stakeholders have come together and formed the Reno Streetcar Coalition, with a plan to study the feasibility of bringing back a streetcar service to downtown Reno and Midtown.

Here is their web site, sparse on content for now but does include a nice report on Transit-Oriented Development.

Reno was once home to a pretty sweet trolley system. Here's a hsitoric map of it, below. Click the image to enlarge.

I don't know anything about the deets or the proposed area for the trolley, but the obvious choice for a trolley line is South Virginia street. Prior to Midtown wanting to take Virginia Street in a more 'Main Street' direction with street parking, the original plan was to, and probably still is, to make South Virginia Street a transit-oriented corridor.

When RTC built the fancy stations along Virginia Street that accomodate the green double-length RAPID line buses, they built the stations so they could eventually be used as stops for a light rail, tram or trolley line. This is one reason why their platforms are raised.

Since RTC within the next couple years is going to completely redo South Virginia Street as a major overhaul, why not take the opportunity to throw down some rails in the process, right?

I don't know much about the Streetcar project, but my guess is, this is along their line of thinking. I can't imagine it would be feasible to rip up Virginia Street twice in a row and completely re-pave it.

I don't know much about the route, but if I were planning it, I'd make it go from the University down to maybe Mt. Rose Street then travel back down Holcomb Avenue, which would serve Wells Avenue easily. Or another route could be Virginia Street down to Center Street then back up Center Street, over to Lake Street to hook up with the ballpark, then up Evans to the University, or up Virginia Street to the University.

Either way, I'm stoked people are at least thinking about this. Public-private partnerships can be challenging...but I'd love to see this happen.

Post your comments
  • May 27, 2015 - 5:15:05 PM

    Having worked at the RTC severa years ago, albeit under different management, so I can't speak to specifics today, I have some insight into the process. I believe this isn't the first time a trolley concept has been proposed. Conditions today are different from then with the development of Midtown with limited parking. As for projects, the grant process calls for very specific plans and reports are made back to the grantor (the feds in this case) to ensure compliance. So a S.Virginia project, for instance, can't just be altered to take on something not in the original application. To create a new project, i.e., trolleys, would require a new application with compelling estimates of ridership, success, etc.Not to say that can't be done, but it is a separate process.

  • May 27, 2015 - 6:18:18 PM

    Exciting to see people thinking about how to make Reno great! That should be applauded. I love Reno. I am skeptical of transit projects that claim to spur development. Development should spur transit projects that connect productive places. My belief: places support transit. And transit should be built incrementally. We should see buses packed to the rafters and then we will know we need a train. Let's figure out how to build places that have streets full of people, buses at capacity, and then we can add a train.

  • May 27, 2015 - 8:31:10 PM

    Buses and bike lanes, not streetcars. We don't need an inflexible system that ties up major lanespace when we have existing cheaper, more adaptable alternatives. Wish the buses looked prettier like streetcars? Buy nicer buses, it's still cheaper than a streetcar system.

  • May 28, 2015 - 7:47:13 AM

    This is a fantastic idea. I'm real interested to see if this project starts to gain traction. I see no reason how it wouldn't be a feasible means to travel through Midtown and Downtown; especially when it seems that parking is somehow the biggest complaint of people wanting to hang out in Midtown