By Alan Snel ▪
Dear Clark County, Nevada Department of Transportation, City of Las Vegas and Summerlin master developer Howard Hughes Corporation:
I have no idea which one of you would be in charge of installing a traffic signal at Charleston Boulevard and Sky Vista Drive — the last intersection on Charleston before runners, walkers, bicyclists and motorists in west Summerlin head into Red Rock Canyon.
But how about figuring it out and putting a traffic light at that intersection ASAP?
How many more people have to be hit at that intersection to realize that a stop sign at Sky Vista and Charleston isn’t getting the job done?
A friend riding her bicycle on Charleston was hit by a guy in a Tesla who ran the stop sign at Sky Vista and broadsided her last week.
“Spoiler alert, I lived. I have injuries, but I won’t get into those here,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
UPDATE: A Nevada DOT staffer told me today that a traffic signal is being installed at the Sky Vista/Charleston intersection. “There is a signal scheduled for installation this summer in conjunction with a parking lot south of that intersection for the Red Rock Legacy Trail,” said Matthew Bradley, Nevada DOT corridor planning & special studies manager.
Every time I ride my bicycle to Red Rock Canyon, I bike on Charleston and pass that intersection where the guy in the Tesla hit her. She noted the paramedic who tended to her noted she was the third victim there in three days. Here’s the locater map and the crash scene.
It’s a poorly designed intersection for the amount of traffic flowing in and out of that section of Summerlin that master developer Howard Hughes Corp. is spreading into the foothills of the west valley.
There are so many motorists leaving that section of Summerlin via that left turn that crashes and close calls/near hits are inevitable. My friend Scott who rides his bicycle on Charleston past that intersection to Red Rock Canyon all the time told me, “That’s a horrible, dangerous corner. A woman in a car making a left turn pulled out and I had to slam my brakes on my bike.”
Another friend wrote this on Facebook:
Let’s just say designing intersections and crossings for bicyclists and pedestrians is not Clark County’s strong suit.
For years I have been squawking about the dangers of biking or walking along the 215 trail through the at-grade crossing at Charleston where there is an 215 beltway entrance and exit onto Charleston.
What kind of road engineer designs this dangerous crossing at-grade when there are 215 trail bridges spanning much less busy roads at Far Hills and Town Center?
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones had a meeting on Sept. 20 to show plans for a tunnel or a bridge for the 215 trail crossing at Charleston. Jones has also showed leadership by adding road improvements along Ft. Apache, another road that was poorly developed to serve a growing chunk of suburban Clark County.
As for the 215 beltway trail crossing proposal for Charleston, I had planned to attend that meeting five months ago.
But I couldn’t. I was hit by a person in a SUV while riding my bicycle that morning. The motorist making a right turn on a red light crashed into me while I was bicycling through the Hacienda-Decatur intersection in another part of Clark County. I survived. That’s the definition of success in Clark County — getting hit by a motorist while bicycling and telling friends the good news is that I was alive.
I walk besides bicycling and see bad road design all the time. What is bad design? It’s road engineering that designs streets to prioritize the convenience and fast speeds of people in cars over the safety of people who walk or ride a bicycle.
At a road crossing at Sahara and the 215 beltway right outside the Summerlin Trader Joe’s, a pedestrian has a mere 18 seconds to cross eight lanes of motorized traffic. Thanks, Clark County. I saw a Clark County public works employee at that Sahara/215 crossing and asked if he could add more time so that I have time to walk across the road without being bashed by a motorist. He said sorry, We can’t have cars stacking up at the traffic light.
Like I said, it’s road violence by design as motorist convenience > pedestrian safety.
A few miles away on Hualapai, another busy and very wide Summerlin road, there’s not even a sidewalk not too far from the Albertsons shopping center at Flamingo.
I hear the rhetoric all the time in Clark County about complete streets.
Uh, how about a sidewalk on a busy suburban road near a shopping center, Clark County? Great complete streets job.
There are no magic tricks to improve road safety.
Elected officials at every level have to make it a priority and show the same political will for building safe roads that they showed for building an NFL stadium. LVSportsBiz.com’s ideas:
Number One: Build a regional paved trail system through Clark County and Las Vegas that functions as a transportation network. See the cities of Denver and Seattle. They did it. It can be done if local government wants to.
Number Two: Arrest, imprison and remove driver’s licenses of people who drive their cars into walkers and bicyclists, killing or injuring them.
Number Three: Educate motorists to drive slower and look for walkers and pedestrians at every intersection.
Number Four: Stage bicycle festivals throughout metro Las Vegas, including the cities of Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City to normalize bicycling and walking as regular parts of our transportation system.
Number Five: Nevada DOT must create a safer State Road 159 through Red Rock Canyon. I have personally witnessed motorists parking on the paved shoulders, making U-turns out of nowhere and whizzing along the two-lane road at breakneck speeds. It’s stunning that there’s not a parallel paved trail from Summerlin to the Red Rock Loop entrance along SR 159.
I led a nomadic newspaper life living in major league cities before I arrived in Las Vegas in 2012. What made them big league wasn’t the sports teams. It was the schools, health care resources and transportation options that included safe places to ride bicycles and a policy focus that transcended cars.
Based on the roads’ lame design, reckless motorists and lack of a regional paved trail network, I have bad news: I’m sorry to say the road tragedies will continue.