Gaining the Benefits of Washoe-Reno Growth Without Traffic Congestion, Higher Taxes & Wildfire Impacts
The Washoe-Reno Smart Growth Alliance organized to provide all our elected officials with the public support needed to gain more growth benefits with fewer growing pains.
The map below depicts the area covered by the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan. By 2038, the Plan projects that more than 40,000 housing units and 100,000 people will be added to the Washoe County, Reno and Sparks area.
This growth could bring many benefits. It may also cause traffic congestion, higher taxes, and increase the number of people in wildfire high-risk areas. This webpage describes how we can gain the benefits of this growth without suffering these negative and other consequences.
Red Rock Road Corridor Example
The area circled with red in the upper left corner of the map is the Red Rock Road corridor. This portion of the Truckee Meadows region will be used to illustrate how we can gain growth benefits without so many growing pains.
A fifth of the 40,000 new Truckee Meadows housing units are proposed for the Red Rock Corridor. Three proposed, but unbuilt, Red Rock Corridor projects will account for a fifth of the 40,000 homes: Evans Ranch, Silver Hills and Silver Star Ranch
The Washoe Board of County Commissioners will soon decide if Silver Hills can go from 680 housing units to nearly 2,000. The other two approved but unbuilt projects would add another 7,000 housing units to the Red Rock corridor.
Much of the Red Rock Corridor is considered at high risk of wildfire. Red Rock Road is the primary route the 2,000 existing corridor residents plus 21,000 future residents would use for evacuation in the event of a wildfire or other emergency.
Combined the three proposed development projects could increase Red Rock Corridor traffic volume by 80,000 cars a day! While there’s a proposal to expand Red Rock Road to four-lanes, the widened road could only accommodate 35,000 car a day without severe traffic congestion.
When (not if) a wildfire occurs the main evacuation route for the 23,000 Red Rock future residents will be clogged just as happened to those fleeing recent wildfires in California and elsewhere.
With respect to tax impacts, it costs less in public services for homes added to infill/Smart Growth areas compared to rural sprawl projects like Silver Hills, the Evans Ranch and Silver Star. These public services include schools, roads, water and sewer, etc. In other words, all Washoe County residents must make up the difference by paying higher taxes for rural sprawl.
We know the Washoe Board of County Commissioners do not want these consequences of poorly managed growth. We also know our Commissioners need the active support of Washoe County voters to say no to Silver Hills and other sprawl projects. This is why we’re asking you to join with us in calling upon your County Commissioner to take the following actions:
- Deny the rezoning and master plan amendment Silver Hill developers are requesting to triple the number of housing units,
- Amend the County Master Plan to prohibit new large residential projects in areas with a high fire risk and poor evacuation options,
- Require that new growth only be allowed in a road corridor like Red Rock if it is proven that the traffic added by a project plus previously approved projects will not cause excessive congestion, and
- Take actions that will guide future growth into or adjacent to existing intensely developed areas where the costs for schools, roads, water, sewer and other services is lower than with sprawl.
Please take a moment to sign the Smart Growth petition at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Washoe-RenoSurvey.
Further detail on how Red Rock Corridor growth could increase traffic congestion, lead to higher taxes, and expose more of our neighbors to wildfire is provided in the document posted at: https://ceds.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Better_Ways_Of_Gaining_Washoe-Reno_Growth_Benefits.pdf.
October 17th Community Meeting
CEDS presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoUd2RC4Pr0&t=823s.
References cited in the CEDS presentation:
- California Air Quality and Land Use Handbook with 500-foot highway setback
- Concentration and Size Distribution of Ultrafine Particles Near A Major Highway
- Human-started wildfires expand the fie niche across the United States
- Emergency Services 4- to 8-Minute Response Time
- Nevada wildfires:
- North Valleys Multimodal Transportation Study
- Reimagine Reno:
- San Diego County General Plan
- Silver Hills:
- Traffic Trip Generation table by land use
- Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency:
- Washoe County traffic counts
- Washoe County Wildfire Building code
- Washoe Regional Mapping System wildfire risk map