July 2018 Newsletter

Southern Nevada continues its TOD education by learning from experts

During the course of 2018, community leaders in Southern Nevada have had the opportunity to learn more about transit-oriented development (TOD) and its potential benefits from experts from across the country.

In late March, a Southern Nevada contingent visited Salt Lake City, Utah, to tour its light rail system and experience its TOD. A month later, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) hosted a TOD Symposium that featured former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, a proponent of equitable TOD.

And just last month, the Southern Nevada chapter of NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association, hosted a breakfast panel discussion to help local professionals understand the impact that enhanced transit options can have on economic development.

Watch the highlights from the Salt Lake City tour here.

Watch the highlights from the TOD Summit here.


Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a type of development located close to high quality, high capacity transit that creates a compact, walkable, mixed-use and dense environment. TOD areas contribute to livable communities and serve as activity centers that provide a range of benefits to the region, local community, and households.

Here are some key takeaways from the events:

TOD’s potential for positive community impact
Experts from former Secretary Foxx to Salt Lake City leaders noted TOD’s potential to provide a range of community benefits, including:

  • Better health and lifestyle outcomes
  • Enhanced levels of access and connectivity to jobs, entertainment and retail opportunities
  • Increased economic benefits and investment
  • Options for more affordable and diverse housing options

TOD is not a stretch in Southern Nevada
According to local developer John Tippins, some key TOD-type development is already taking shape in the Las Vegas Medical District, which is home to dense employment and educational institutions, creating new mixed-use housing options for both students and our local workforce. High-capacity transit investment may be the final piece to the puzzle.

Next steps from former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Foxx
Foxx offered five steps Southern Nevada must take when working toward TOD:

  • Get valuable community input
  • Don’t wait too long
  • Go big!
  • Keep the conversation going
  • Inclusion, smart land-use decisions and the right high-capacity transit choice will create revitalization

Economic impact and bold leadership
It may take bold and brave leadership to make TOD happen, according to Troy Walker, mayor of Draper City, Utah. But with the risk can come great reward. Draper City took the opportunity to add a high-capacity transit station when a neighboring city passed on the chance, despite receiving some community pushback. The move has resulted in tremendous economic impact, according to Walker: Draper City has recognized a taxable value increase surrounding the station from just over $6 million in 2012, to more than $226 million in 2016. And that value continues to grow.

Learning from peer regions 
Southern Nevada has a unique opportunity to learn from regions that have already invested in high-capacity transit and TOD, according to Chris Nevitt, manager of TOD for the city and county of Denver. “Learn from our successes and our failures and take the chance to do it bigger, faster and better,” Nevitt advised at the TOD Symposium.

SNS wraps up workshop series on federal grants competitiveness

Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) completed a four-part workshop series aimed at better equipping nonprofits to secure federal grant funds, an area in which the region has long underperformed.

Nevada currently ranks 44th nationally in federal grant funding per capita, according to the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, while the state’s nonprofit organizations rank 50th for assets and revenue per capita.

In total, more than 130 community members – comprised largely of grant professionals and nonprofit program managers – attended at least one of the workshops. Nearly half attended multiple workshops.

The workshops can be viewed in full on the SNS YouTube channel. The last workshop was held on July 23.

The series began in March with presenters, who included local leaders and subject matter experts, highlighted the region’s underperformance with respect to federal grant funding and emphasized the importance of developing meaningful partnerships to tackle the federal grants issue.

Subsequent workshops were more technical in nature and focused on skill development and capacity-building. Topics ranged from assessing organizational capacity and grant fit, to crafting compelling grant narratives and developing effective program evaluation plans.

The series was developed to further the strategic framework for improving Southern Nevada’s grant capacity and competitiveness. The framework finalized in 2017 was developed with guidance and input from a workgroup comprised of grant writers and nonprofit professionals representing more than a dozen local organizations. Workshop topics reflected feedback received during the development of the framework.

During the development of the SNS Regional Plan, stakeholders identified the need for dedicated and consistent funding for implementation tasks that are unfunded or underfunded. To meet these funding needs, stakeholders agreed that in addition to developing local funding options, the region should proactively seek external funding for implementation, particularly by enhancing efforts to pursue private and federal funding.

Increasing the region’s share of federal grant dollars can lessen the pressure on the state’s general fund and ensure critical services and programs are available in the community as the region grows, according to Meredith Levine, the Guinn Center’s director of economic policy, who presented at the first workshop.

Project partners include United Way of Southern NevadaGuinn Center for Policy PrioritiesNevada Community Foundation, and Nevada State Grant Office

New bike map includes more than 1,000 miles of bike lanes and routes in Southern Nevada

The 2018 Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) Bike Map is now available at local bike shops, RTC facilities and community centers.

The updated map reflects significant progress in advancing safe and easy access to bicycling routes and amenities across Southern Nevada.

The free map provides useful information for both avid and recreational cyclists, including location of bike lanes, trails, bike centers, retail outlets, and maintenance contacts.

The region now boasts more than 1,000 miles of bike lanes, paved paths, and shared roadways, all of which are featured on the map.

More than one-third of the network is made up of off-street trails and sidewalks. Approximately 14 percent of roadway miles are considered “high comfort,” or appropriate for all ages and physical abilities.

Highlights of new bike facilities in Southern Nevada since 2013, when the Bike Map first debuted, include:

  • All bike accommodations (bike lanes, on- and off-street routes) increased by 13.3 percent to 1,022 total miles
  • On-street bike accommodations grew from 558 miles to 651 miles, a 16.6 percent increase
  • Off-street bike accommodations increased from 343 miles to 371 miles, up 8 percent

The updated map supports the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan recommendations, as well as the Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) Regional Plan’s goal of increasing transportation choices for residents and visitors.

Jurisdictions across the valley have been taking measures to make bicycling a more viable mode of transportation. In fact, four jurisdictions in Southern Nevada have received designations as “Bicycle Friendly Communities” by the League of American Bicyclists. The cities of Las Vegas and Henderson were given Silver-level recognition, while Mesquite and unincorporated Clark County received Bronze-level designations.

For more information on cycling programs and a list of where to pick up the printed map, click here.

Summer meal programs increase food access to children during summer vacation

Three Square, CCSD providing free meals to youth under 18 at more than 200 locations throughout Southern Nevada

During the school year, more than 62 percent of Clark County School District (CCSD) students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals. When the school year ends, thousands of children in Southern Nevada are at risk of missing out on meals.

However, youth under the age of 18 have access to free, nutritious meals at more than 200 locations across Southern Nevada through summer meal sites sponsored by Three Square Food Bank and CCSD.

Meal sites include schools, recreation centers, libraries, YMCAs, and Boys & Girls clubs. Many of the locations were selected to serve areas with the highest food insecurity rates in the region.

For a full list of sites and meal schedules, visit www.freesummerfood.org.

Meals will be offered through early August at many of the locations. The 2018-2019 CCSD school year begins Monday, August 13.

No sign-up or registration is required – meals are available to all youth under 18, regardless of whether or not they receive free or reduced-priced meals during the school year.

In addition to meal sites, Three Square is also delivering meals to 22 apartment complexes using refrigerated vans to serve children without access to the meal sites.

Last summer, nearly 550,000 meals were provided through the two programs, which are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information on Three Square’s programs, visit www.threesquare.org. Additional details on CCSD’s program can be found at ccsd.net/foodservice.

Expanding access to healthy food options and reducing food insecurity rates across the valley is a priority in the Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) Regional Plan.

North Las Vegas aims to transform Deer Springs District with help of ‘SNS Livable Centers Study’

At present, North Las Vegas’s Deer Springs District is by most accounts, largely underdeveloped. The 2.5-square-mile area – which runs along Deer Springs Way from North Fifth Street to Pecos Road – contains 330 acres of undeveloped land, along with low-density commercial and residential development.

However, the city of North Las Vegas was recently awarded funding for a “Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) Livable Centers Study” to examine ways to transform the district into a walkable, mixed-use area with multi-modal transportation choices.

Livable centers encourage healthy, active lifestyles and provide improved access to jobs and services.

“The Deer Springs District has the potential to become a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use area of housing choices and diverse employment opportunities that could be linked to key valley-wide destinations via the North Fifth Street Transit Corridor,” said Gina Gavan, the city’s director of economic development.

The study area does present a few opportunities to build on.

The district includes 150 acres designated as a job creation zone that has been earmarked by the city for health care research, development and services campus. And the future University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) North Campus, a 2,085-acre project, is located immediately north of the Deer Springs District.

Representatives from the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), SNS, Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), and the Houston-Galveston Area Council evaluated proposals from local jurisdictions, ultimately selecting the North Las Vegas submission.

The Livable Centers program is a strategy to achieve the goals of the SNS Regional Plan. The SNS vision includes improving economic competitiveness, investing in complete communities, increasing transportation choice, and building capacity to implement.

For more information on the Livable Centers Study, visit the RTC and the City of North Las Vegas websites.

News Beyond the Valley

13 cities that are starting to ban cars Come November, Madrid will ban non-resident vehicles from driving anywhere in the city center. But Madrid is not the only city getting ready to take the car-free plunge. Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions. Check out what 13 cities are doing to lead the car-free movement.

New York City to reduce transit fares for low-income residents New York City’s latest budget includes $106 million to subsidize MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. The program will allow New Yorkers whose income is below the federal poverty line to buy MetroCards at half the regular cost. It’s estimated that one in four working-age, low-income New Yorkers can’t afford MetroCards.

How library systems can help address affordable housing crises Several major cities are pairing affordable housing with new library developments.

Denver weighing additional fair housing measures that would ban source-of-income discrimination The city of Denver is weighing legislation that would ban landlords from discriminating against tenants who pay their rent using Section 8 vouchers, known as source-of-income discrimination.

What the future of affordable housing already looks like “Social Housing: New European Projects,” an exhibit that featured new public housing projects throughout Europe, showcased what affordable housing projects can look like. The projects show a range of ambition and interventions. And, in New York, enhancing affordable housing design is becoming a priority.

New resource aims to help community advocates develop cross-sector partnerships to improve health outcomes “Healthcare Playbook for Community Developers,” developed by the Build Healthy Places Network, guides community developers toward partnerships with hospitals and healthcare systems.