January 9, 2013 - 2:01 am
Sometimes you just can’t believe your eyes when you drive our valley’s highways and byways, but that usually has to do with the behavior of aggressive or inattentive drivers.
Occasionally, it’s a road sign that makes you do a double take, and we open this week’s installment of Road Warrior questions-answers with one such sign that mystifies a reader:
Howard is a fun guy, and he says his email is “no big deal, but thought (the Road Warrior) might have fun with it!” What tickles Howard is the sign on eastbound Summerlin Parkway as drivers approach the Buffalo Drive exit. The sign says the exit is 1 mile away; no problem there. But it also says that Rainbow Boulevard is “1¾” miles away, while the junction with U.S. Highway 95 is “3” miles down the road.
“As you can see,” Howard writes, “the mileage is wrong (because) Rainbow and U.S. 95 are at the same location. I’ve been driving past this for at least six years and thought it would get fixed one day.”
We turned to city of Las Vegas spokeswoman Diana Paul, who provided a well-written “Whoops!”: “We investigated this issue and found the reader’s concern was valid. While we can’t find any records as to why the U.S. 95 junction says three miles, it is incorrect. The Rainbow distance is correct. Since there are three ways to reach U.S. 95 that start at different locations it would be simpler to not have a distance posted, so we will remove that mileage indication this week. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!”
As Howard says with a chuckle, “It’s no big deal.”
Unlike Howard, reader Daniel has an issue he considers a big deal. He’s upset that while traveling downtown’s Main Street on Sundays his drive is frequently interrupted by stoplights at intersections where there is no east-west traffic: “Someone dealing with traffic flow is not doing their job if these lights aren’t programmed to reflect the real traffic flow on weekends downtown.”
Again, we turn to Paul, who explains there is a method to the madness, even if it won’t appease some drivers:
“Most of the signals downtown use a pretimed system with pedestrian ‘walk phase’ recalls; a walk phase is provided automatically for pedestrians along every direction of an intersection whether they press the button or not. (The buttons are primarily for vision-impaired people, as they provide a locator tone and advise which direction of the intersection has a walk phase activated.) The walk phase is common in most downtown central business districts because it’s where you’ll see a greater number of pedestrians, and this method of serving pedestrians is much safer.
“The trade-off is that sometimes drivers will see a light serving no vehicular traffic on a side street and wonder why the main street traffic is being stopped. The reason is because the walk phases to/from the side street are being served automatically.”
Curt writes in with a safety issue on Craig Road at Commerce Street. He says: “If there ever is an intersection which does NOT need a left-turn-on-green option,” it’s westbound Craig at that location. “There have been many horrific crashes at the intersection, mainly because eastbound traffic on Craig is at high speed – over the limit always.”
What Curt sees is true, and the city of North Las Vegas, in an effort with the Nevada Department of Transportation, is making a change after recently conducting a safety evaluation of the intersection.
Says North Las Vegas spokeswoman Juliet Casey: “It was suggested that a flashing yellow signal replace the current left-turn-on-green signal at this intersection. The city is planning to have the yellow flashing signal in place within a year. The city also is planning to install several of these flashing yellow signals at other locations throughout North Las Vegas.”
Reader Sheila takes us out of town for her question – out to the Nye County junction of southbound U.S. Highway 95 and westbound State Route 160, also known as Pahrump Valley Highway. She wants to know whether there are any plans for a “proper turn lane” onto SR160 because the turn is sharp and making it requires slowing considerably, which irritates “everyone doing 80 mph behind you because they’re heading to Vegas, baby! So you start to slow, turn on your blinker and (tick) off everybody – enough so that they try to pass you, whether or not there is traffic in the oncoming lane”:
The Road Warrior says Pahrump needs to better market itself to get some of those folks behind Sheila on U.S. 95 to make the turn, too, and check out their town. Kickin’ good time, that Pahrump. But it appears what happens there, stays there.
That said, we asked Damon Hodge, spokesman for NDOT, whether a “proper turn lane” – also known as a deceleration/turn lane – was in the works for that junction. No, it’s not one of the agency’s “high-priority intersections,” he said, but, “there is a roundabout project scheduled for Pahrump in the two- to five-year range, and NDOT may be able to include this intersection at that time.”
Robert and his wife frequently make the drive to Las Vegas from their home in Mesquite, and they ask: “Road construction that began last February on Interstate 15 from Apex Summit past the U.S. Highway 93/Great Basin turnoff was seemingly completed in the fall, yet the red drums and the 55 mph signs remain. Why?”
NDOT’s Hodge said the agency is removing the reduced speed limit signs that accompanied the repaving of lanes; however, “the drums will likely remain until the end of the month, as the contractor needs them for periodic lane closures to complete final work.”
If you have traffic questions or gripes, email them to [email protected] Please be specific, and include your phone number. Not all questions can be answered in print. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter: @RJroadwarrior.• Delays on Jones Boulevard, from U.S. Highway 95 to Sahara Avenue, for widening.
• Closure of Ogden Avenue, between Las Vegas Boulevard and 11th Street, and part of Eighth Street, between Fremont Street and Ogden, through Friday for roadway improvements.
• Lane restriction on Rainbow Boulevard at Lost Dutchman Drive through Jan. 20 for pavement patching.
• Detour of eastbound traffic on Sahara Avenue at Boulder Highway through March for a storm drain construction project.
• Bradley Road closed at Clark County 215 through April 18 for bridge work.
• Delays on Valley View Boulevard, from U.S. Highway 95 to Desert Inn Road, through June 30 for road widening.
• F Street, between McWilliams and Wilson avenues, closed for Interstate 15 construction.
The average price of gasoline Tuesday in the Las Vegas Valley was $3.07 per gallon; the state average was $3.14; the national average was $3.27.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL