As the year is coming to an end, we want to take a look back at some of our favorite projects from 2022 that exemplify our commitment to making a difference in the communities we serve. Coming in third place in our annual Project of the Year competition is the City of Las Vegas GreeNVision: Stewart Avenue Complete Streets project, led by Parametrix Project Manager Jackie Kuechenmeister.
Stewart Avenue serves as a main passage for many individuals to reach school, work, essential goods and services, or transit locations. Along the corridor, each census block is designated as an area of persistent poverty, historically disadvantaged community, or both. As it currently exists, traveling on foot or bicycle along Stewart Avenue is an unpleasant, hostile experience. With more than 35 percent of all users being pedestrians and bicyclists, the fragmented sidewalks and minimal shade is creating a growing concern. Additionally, several gaps in the existing sidewalk and bicycle network make it difficult for pedestrians to get where they need to go.
Parametrix assisted the City of Las Vegas in preparing and winning a $23.9 million grant award through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. This funding will help the city to create a highly functional, inviting, and multimodal space. The RAISE grant notice of funding opportunity was only open for ten weeks and the team used every moment to submit the best application possible.
The project received an impressive benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 3.72, meaning that the benefits greatly exceeded the cost. For this grant, a BCR of 1.0 was mandatory to advance to the next level of evaluation. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) methodology has always placed a strong emphasis on roadway improvements and related measures. Adapting these criteria to an active transportation solution required creativity and innovation. The project team was able to create a workbook that pushes the BCA beyond typical transportation benefits, such as travel time savings, safety benefits, emission savings, and residual value. This enabled the calculation of benefits to include those related to health, equity, reliability, livability, and bicycle and pedestrian safety while still aligning with the federal priorities.
Upon completion, the new Stewart Avenue corridor will include a protected two-way bicycle track, wider and ADA accessible sidewalks, upgraded lighting, and bus stop improvements. By providing mobility for zero-car households, improving safety and comfort for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users, as well as adding shade and helping mitigate the urban heat effect with the addition of trees, this project exemplifies the core of the RAISE program.
The Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce said this about the project:
"Our organization supports the success of small businesses throughout the state, but we have an affinity for this specific project, as our office is located along this Stewart Avenue project corridor. We are a staple in this historically Hispanic neighborhood. We walk and drive this corridor daily. We can do better for our neighbors and better for the region. We cannot think of a more exceptional project that supports our social responsibility to the Latino community."
Parametrix has an extensive grants team that responds to opportunities across all geographies and disciplines. We have helped clients to obtain over $350 million in grant funding to date.