Setting the Record Straight on Nevada Avenue

Sunday, May 29, 2016

On May 1, 2016, Mountain Metropolitan Transit switched the municipal bus service through the Old North End from Cascade and Wahsatch avenues to Nevada Avenue. This concentration of bus routes on a single street has resulted in a bus going by every 15 minutes in each direction (7.5 minutes in both directions) on Nevada Avenue.

Because of the unfortunate timing of this change coinciding with discussions of the ONEN Pedestrian an Bicycle Safety Plan, a great deal of discussion and, naturally, a number of inaccurate statements being circulated in the Old North End. Here are some of the questionable statements followed by the Old North End Neighborhood’s view on the matter:

  • North Nevada Avenue through the Old North End is a major arterial street and thus different from the other north/south streets, such as Cascade, Weber, etc.

CORRECTION: The Old North End Neighborhood has worked hard to get Nevada Avenue, and all the other north/south streets through the Old North End, viewed as collector or residential streets, because with all the housing along them, that is what they are.

  • The Old North End Neighborhood Board of Directors has not been fighting the transfer of the buses to Nevada and may have somehow approved of the plan.

CORRECTION: The Old North End Neighborhood has opposed the transfer of all the buses to Nevada Avenue since it was first announced by Mountain Metropolitan Transit. In its latest adopted resolution, the Board of Directors has strongly opposed any special bus lanes being created on Nevada Avenue. The Board has also called for the speed limits to be set at the same speed on Cascade, Nevada, Weber, and Wahsatch. ONEN has created a special transit committee to try to resolve the immediate bus issues on Nevada and work with the City on a long-term plan in accordance with the ONEN Master Plan.

  • Nevada Avenue is not receiving equal treatment with the other four main streets in the neighborhood (Cascade, Weber, Wahsatch, and Fontanero) as provided in the Old North End Master Plan:

CORRECTION: The Old North End Neighborhood (ONEN) Master Plan does not say “equal treatment.” It says: “Maintain an equitable distribution of traffic flow among existing arterial streets in the neighborhood, so that no one street is excessively overloaded with non-local traffic.” There may be future opportunities to implement traffic calming techniques on Nevada to address higher traffic counts on Nevada; these techniques would not be needed on the other streets. If the Master Plan said “equal treatment,” it would disqualify Nevada from ever having those special traffic calming opportunities. For now, ONEN is making certain speed limits and lane configurations are equal so that we do not do anything to make the traffic distribution more unequal.

  • Switching the buses to Nevada Avenue through the Old North End was part of the Old North End Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Plan, which provides for One Lane From Two Lanes treatment on Cascade, Nevada, Weber, Wahsatch, and Fontanero.

CORRECTION: One Lane From Two Lanes and the buses shift to Nevada Avenue are two completely separate issues. One Lane From Two Lanes is our first major opportunity to bring real traffic calming to Nevada (by removing one of the two traffic lanes). If the Old North End passes up this opportunity, the people who live on Nevada will have to wait even longer before ant safety measures are implemented. Working to remove the buses should not be done at the expense of getting approval for the safety-sizing (One Lane From Two Lanes) on Nevada. However, ONEN does acknowledge that placing this volume of buses on the busiest north/south street, adds additional risk to the success of the Safety Plan. This makes it imperative that we quickly find a solution to the buses in accordance with our Master Plan.

  • The City has no intention of safety-sizing Nevada Avenue, leaving Nevada to handle the traffic through the neighborhood while other roads receive special treatment.

CORRECTION: The ONEN Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Plan calls for the concurrent safety-sizing of all five streets: Cascade, Nevada, Weber, Wahsatch, and Fontenaro. The city proposed doing these over two summers, starting with Cascade, Weber and Fontenaro, followed by Nevada and Wahsatch. The City stated several reasons for this, including the time to implement the plan (which must take place in the summer months), and to sell the public on the concept using the easier streets first before tackling the harder streets. Although the city wants to implement the plan in two phases, the entire program will be accepted with the stipulation that if the entire plan is not implemented, all streets will be reverted.

ONEN would like to let our Nevada neighbors know that we take the bus issue on Nevada very seriously. We will do everything we can to resolve this issue in the short and long term.

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