Some questions have easy answers. Should you run that red light? No. Are convertible drivers happy it’s almost a glorious 80 degrees outside already? Absolutely.
Then there are questions with gray-area answers. I’ve driven almost all the way to the gym, but that delicious frozen yogurt shop is begging me to detour. What should I do?
After much research and consideration, the answer is obviously go fro-yo.
But not all research is so conclusive. Jay had some questions about crosswalks, and one of them never has yielded a good answer.
“When I moved here from California, there have been a lot of news reports about a pedestrian being killed as they were crossing a street. As I’ve been driving around, I’ve noticed that most, if not all, crosswalks in the entire area are faded almost to nothing. Why don’t they repaint the crosswalks and make them more visible, thus cutting down on accidents?”
“On a related note, in California, school crossings are painted yellow for better visibility. Maybe the State of Nevada could pass a similar law and paint the school crossings yellow as well?”
We’ve covered the colored crosswalk bit before, but readers have seemed increasingly nervous about crosswalks in the wake of police sting operations (keep a careful eye on Boulder Highway near Sunset Road) and pedestrian deaths. So here’s a recap.
Nevada abides by a federal handbook called the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. It says crosswalks must be white. Not all states use it, but most do.
Keith Paul with the city of Henderson went into more detail.
“There have been a number of federally funded studies done over the years to try and determine if colored crosswalks are more effective than white, but all of the studies done were inconclusive.”
There’s that darn gray area. What’s the solution to something like that? So far, the answer has been to keep the crosswalks white.
On maintenance, Paul said Henderson has relied on a complaint-based system. That’s not super proactive. But recently, a survey about the condition of crosswalks was conducted, and now a calendar is being created for recurring maintenance on all of Henderson’s crosswalks.
I also asked Las Vegas spokeswoman Margaret Kurtz for another entity’s take on the issue.
She said Las Vegas has a mixed approach to crosswalks.
Crosswalks near schools and school bus stops are refreshed annually.
In some areas, film crosswalks are used instead of painted ones. These crosswalks, which are laid down like giant strips of tape, are somewhat self-sustaining in that a decent rain drizzle will clean them off, Kurtz said.
And like Henderson, there are some crosswalks, Kurtz said, that are maintained on a complaint-based system. They try to put those crosswalks on a schedule, but it can take a while to get to them depending on workload.
Reader Richard wrote in about another maintenance issue.
“On CC 215 eastbound before Losee Road and also before Pecos Road there are flashing yellow lights with a sign that says “prepare to stop when flashing.” The problem is that these flashing lights no longer flash when the light is preparing to change to red at these roads. Drivers approach these roads at 55+ mph and when the light changes to red, they unexpectedly either have to brake hard or run the light.”
North Las Vegas maintains those, and Ryann Juden said those signs were victims of wire theft. You know how people steal copper from street lights? Same idea.
The distance between those two streets is too long for the supplies North Las Vegas had on hand, so they ordered the right stuff, and it should be delivered this week. Once it arrives, Juden said it will be on the top of their priority list.
No gray area there, Richard!
And last but not least, Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Loy Hixson joins us for the Road Warrior’s Reminder.
This week, we’re addressing something that’s a personal pet peeve of mine.
Nevada Revised Statutes 484E.020: Duty to stop at scene of accident involving damage to vehicle or property.
If you’re involved in an accident, you’ve gotta stay there.
And for crying out loud, get your car out of the way.
Obviously, if it’s too damaged to drive, you’re excused. But often, people get in minor fender-benders and leave their car blocking entire lanes of traffic on busy streets. Pull over — that’s what the shoulder is there for.
Hixson also wanted us to mention dialing 311. That’s the phone number for situations that will require police but don’t involve injuries. Calling 911 isn’t necessary for those little fender-benders.
If you have a question, tip or tirade, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter @RJroadwarrior.