The Union, Textbook Brokers and other buildings long Eighth and Ninth streets will close at the end of December due to plans from Regional Transportation Commission to build a bus station.
Lauren Ball, RTC Public Information Officer, said RTC chose the location because it will serve UNR students, faculty and staff as well as passengers and area residents in the high-density and developing areas just south of the freeway. Ball said a northbound pullout lane will be provided to allow buses to stop out of the travel lane at this busy section of N. Virginia Street.
“The bus route that will extend to UNR is the RAPID Virginia Line transit route, which is an enhanced transit service,” Ball said. “The route has features that allow buses to go more quickly than on regular bus routes, including transit stops approximately every half-mile, raised level-boarding platforms to allow passengers to get on and off quickly, dedicated bus lanes in some locations, and technology that allows the bus to communicate with traffic signals to help keep the route on schedule.”
Ball said the RAPID routes are the highest-ridership routes in RTC’s transit system and she believes extending the RAPID Virginia Line to the university will increase ridership while providing students, faculty and staff with an enhanced travel option through the Virginia Street corridor in Reno. She also said there will be other improvements on this block include the addition of wider sidewalks which will meet ADA standards, bicycle lanes and a center median.
“With the Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project the RAPID Virginia Line will serve North Virginia Street between Maple Street to just north of 15th Street,” Ball said in an email to the Nevada Sagebrush. “Five new stations will be located in this segment (2 northbound, 2 southbound and one at the northern terminus roundabout at the West Stadium Parking Complex garage entrance/exit). Although other locations were considered, the station to be located on the east side of Virginia.”
Ball said Transit helps improve access and walkability, reduces pollution, and is a sustainable solution that contributes to a better quality of life for those who live nearby transit stops and choose to ride transit.
“The RTC has already seen a recent increase in ridership from UNR students, faculty and staff with the UPASS pilot program that provides free fixed-route transit rides by using a University ID,” Ball said. “We anticipate ridership numbers will increase with the extension of the RAPID Virginia Line service.”
The Union announced via an Instagram post on Tuesday, Dec. 3 that its last day of business will be Sunday, Dec. 15.
“As many of you have already heard, Many of our ‘second home’, The [Union] will be closing at semesters end,” the Union said in the post. “These next [two] weeks will be our final weeks with you guys. We are so thankful for the amazing memories and experiences that you have shared with us these past few years.”
Evan McMahan, the manager of the Union feels disappointed the bar is closing. He went to the Union when he was a student at the university and is sad to see it go. He said he feels like a piece of campus will be missing when the Union closes.
McMahan enjoyed connecting with students. He found it fun seeing people from different backgrounds at the bar. McMahan believes future students will miss out once the Union closes. He said students studied there and community members and university staff stopped by for lunch since he felt it was an easy location for food and drinks. He also said students felt safe because of its location near campus.
Aiden Lucente started a petition around two months ago for the Union to stay.
“The U, a beloved home to many, will be shutting down in December and be converted in to a bus stop due to the ignorance and greed of UNR,” Lucente said in the petition. “Let’s stop the carnage and sign this petition to continue the life of our favorite Reno hotspot. Not today Marc Johnson, not today.”
So far the petition received 799 supporters. The petition’s goal is to have 1,000 supporters.
“The university needs to expand everyone knows that, but turning a great place into something it’s not is devastating,” said supporter Julia B. “So many people, especially students have had many memories there and it’s disgusting to see the university rip that away.”
Aleigh Blake, an employee at Textbook Brokers said she found out about the closing of the Union and Textbook Brokers around two months ago.
“I thought it was a bummer and it’s really easy for students to come here,” Blake said. “I was skeptical with the bus stop. I don’t think it’s the greatest decision.”
Blake said Textbook Brokers will be relocating, but the location has not been determined.
“It’s taking away from what’s been here,” Blake said. “Definitely taking away from the culture. Textbook Broker has been here so long. I feel people will be impacted.”
Taylor Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @taylorkendyll.