Reno, Nevada—Advisory Services Panel

Date: April 3 – 8 2016

Location: Reno, Nevada

Sponsor: The City of Reno, Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County

Subject Area: Revitalization of the Virginia Street Corridor

Panel Chair: Tom Murphy, Senior Resident Fellow, ULI Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development, ULI

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Background and Panel Assignment

The City of Reno seeks to activate one of its primary corridors, Virginia Street, to achieve greater economic vitality for the uses on the corridor, more effective conveyance for all modes of transportation and movement, and more visually compelling with stronger streetscape treatments.

The Urban Land institute used its time-honored Advisory Panel process to: 1) interview stakeholders, 2) review the city’s existing plans and policies, 3) review best practices from other municipalities regarding corridor redevelopment and 4) provided recommendations to the city.

Summary of Panel Recommendations

  • Link market realities to a long-term strategic vision.
    • Understand and react appropriately to the market forces driving the Reno economy.
    • Hone in on a branding strategy that focuses on the outdoors, arts and culture, and increasing opportunities in the technology industry and with the university.
  • Use planning and design to activate the corridor. Develop a master plan for Virginia Street that identifies Downtown as the central region and applies the following design recommendations to enable the corridor to become a celebrated street:
    • Make the corridor a distinct “boulevard” with wide sidewalks, street trees, landscaped areas, good lighting, wayfinding signs, and public art;
    • Emphasize the transit opportunities;
    • Propose land uses to reflect the current market reality and provide meaningful solutions for the homeless, transient, and workforce housing;
    • Evolve land uses to address the future, encouraging the existing predominant pattern of low-rise, separated land uses along the corridor to transform to vertically mixed-use development as much as possible;
    • Create a complete and connected pedestrian pathway and bicycle trail network that ties into the corridor to highlight a community where outdoor recreation is a priority;
    • Increase the tree canopy in all areas so as to reduce “heat islands”; and
    • Empower a focused team of individuals within the city administration responsible for implementing a robust and proactive strategic vision around economic development and quality investments for Reno to grow.
  • Enforce administrative and governance changes to facilitate implementation.
    • Reorganize administrative priorities so that the mayor and City Council operate at a high level, as a board of directors, and are tasked to oversee this new strategic vision, provide the necessary resources, services, and leadership, and hire competent and ethical staff.
    • Promulgate, draft, and adopt these recommendations in the appropriate codes and guidance documents of the city such as the city’s strategic plan, the city’s Comprehensive Plan, the city manager’s administrative documents, the budget, Capital Improvement Program, zoning ordinances, and Reno Municipal Code.

The biographies of the ULI Panelists can be found here.

The final presentation can be found here.


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