Overpass should attract fewer cars than beltway access

With progress and growth come new challenges.

The Las Vegas Valley has experienced this over and over in recent decades as the undeveloped has developed, vacant spaces have filled and everything has expanded.

Some things weren’t quite ready for such growth. Budgets, construction and people’s sanity went on the verge.

The valley’s road system is something we’re still trying to get up to speed. Extra lanes became a necessity, and it’s hard to drive more than a few miles without coming across road construction.

The Las Vegas Beltway is one such massive construction project. Progress has been made, but some people have a hard time adjusting to it.

Take Paul in the northwest side of town, for instance.

Bradley Road is now a beltway overpass instead of having beltway access, and Paul thinks there might be negative impact as people start to use it.

“Bradley has been a quiet side street for some time, and when the 215 overpass was built, the city removed stop signs, turning it into an alternative to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Who can address this problem? Someone is going to get hurt soon if traffic is not slowed down.”

Here we have differing perspectives. Paul thinks people drive faster on Bradley. City of Las Vegas spokesman Jace Radke thinks differently.

“City traffic engineers actually think traffic volumes will go down on Bradley, since there will no longer be access to 215,” Radke said in an email.

He said no stop signs were removed there. Traffic signals were removed, but only because they were what used to get vehicles on the freeway.

Bradley no longer has freeway access.

Radke also noted there are flashing speed limit signs for the school zones.

Hopefully between a 15 mph speed limit in that area and watchful drivers and pedestrians, we won’t see anyone get hurt.

Speaking of which, Marianne had a question about how to navigate when emergency vehicles like ambulances or police cars are driving behind you with their sirens on.

“In the past month I have been caught in the left hand lane with no way to go right. I had to go up on the median. What do the emergency services want us to do, and what is the law? I certainly do not want to delay services to those in need.”

The laws on this aren’t so easy to find and read (those legislators use too much jargon).

Instead, I went straight to the source: Larry Hadfield, a Las Vegas police officer who has driven a car with those lights and sirens that stress us out so much when we’re in their way.

He said even though it’s stressful and drivers may feel the need to move, they need to be safe about it.

The rule is to move to the right with caution, Hadfield said.

I countered: What if you can’t move to the right, like Marianne?

“If you can’t move, you can’t move,” he said.

There’s no need to go onto the median or go into an intersection if the light is red.

Hadfield said emergency vehicle drivers understand that traffic happens and will pass on the right if they need to.

Otherwise? Don’t stress.

“The light will turn, and life will go on,” Hadfield said.

While I had officer Hadfield’s attention, I asked him about something reader Alice took issue with: a ticket.

“I got a traffic ticket at Charleston and Eastern for what I think is a relatively minor matter that caused no problem. I was in the far right lane and got into the turn right area before the markings for getting into the right turn lane were open.”

Unfortunately, Alice, the rules for this are less “hakuna matata.” If there are dashed lines for merging into the right turn lane, you need to use them, Hadfield said.

There are areas where a right turn doesn’t have those dashed white lines, Hadfield noted. For instance, in less developed areas or neighborhoods.

In those cases, use your judgment and common sense, he said; but if those dashes are there, and you ignore them, there’s not much you can do about fighting the ticket.

And that ticket — in Alice’s case, from the Las Vegas Municipal Court — is $395.

You can go to traffic school and lower it to $305, but that’s still a painful price to pay for being impatient.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, send an email to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Include your phone number.