Updated 

Bus drivers must take breaks somewhere


There’s always something, you know?

You’ve got stuff to do and places to go and people to see.

So it’s a pain when you come to that intersection that needs a stoplight but doesn’t have one. Or that bumpy road everyone tries to avoid and never seems to get repaved. Or the bus stopped on the side of the road, just sitting there for no good reason.

You complain, of course. Everybody complains. Traffic is supposed to flow like a river. Like the Mississippi, smooth and even. Not like the Amazon, alternately raging and calm.

But nothing ever does what it’s supposed to do, when it’s supposed to do it. Not when human beings are involved.

-

Chris wrote in with a complaint about the buses from the Regional Transportation Commission.

“The RTC buses routinely park on main thoroughfares for long periods of time between routes and while switching shifts for drivers, blocking entire lanes of traffic in designated ‘No Parking’ zones,” Chris wrote.

One example: A bus routinely parks “for hours” on Charleston Boulevard at Sloan Lane while the driver takes a break. This is despite the no parking signs all over the place there.

Isn’t that illegal?

The RTC folks checked with their legal folks and talked with the Clark County folks when I sent Chris’ question their way.

Sue Christiansen, an agency spokeswoman, said every bus route has a layover location at each end. These exist because Google hasn’t yet successfully built and marketed a robot bus. Bus drivers are human beings who have to use the bathroom every now and then.

Christiansen said the RTC works with the local governments to schedule these breaks so they don’t cause traffic tie ups, as much as they can. Typically, the breaks are are transit centers or at a location with turnouts, so the bus is sitting off the roadway.

But sometimes, like the situation at Charleston and Sloan, that’s not possible.

Chris was right to point out that there are no parking signs there, though. Which is why Christiansen said the agency will work with the county to get some “Buses Exempt” signs up soon.

-

Wayne is one of those Road Warrior readers who notices things and remembers them. In a column way back in December 2012, the previous Warrior quoted North Las Vegas officials saying they were going to fix a rough stretch of Losee Road some time in 2013.

It’s October already, Wayne noted, and nothing has happened. What gives? This is a bad stretch of road, he said. It seems as if some concrete got dropped onto the pavement and hardened, leaving a bumpy washboard mess.

I checked with Juliet Casey, the city’s spokeswoman. She acknowledged that plans had changed.

“Public Works was planning to rehab this portion of Losee Road this past summer,” she wrote in an email.

But then something the area’s traffic wonks love happened: A new gas tax was OK’d in Clark County. This tax will help pay for roads and whatnot all over town, everything from the Boulder City bypass and the final piece of the 215 Beltway to, it turns out, a little stretch of Losee Road in North Las Vegas.

She said the city will completely rehab Losee from Craig Road to the northern 215 Beltway. It’ll get three lanes in both directions, a new center median and sidewalks. The $15 million project will start next summer. It wouldn’t make sense, of course, to fix the little problems now and tear it to pieces in a few months so they can start all over.

So until then, avoid those bumps, Wayne. It’ll be worth it in the end.

-

Neil had another North Las Vegas question, which might make this the first time in Warrior history that’s happened.

“How come there isn’t a stop light at the intersection of Ann Road and Commerce Street?” he wondered. For now, it’s just a four-way stop.

He said he drives that route every day to pick up his kids at school. It’s kind-of a mess because there are two schools nearby, and when everyone’s on the road at the same time, with a bunch of kids walking, too, it’s crazy-congested. Wouldn’t a stoplight fix this?

You might have heard of the new gas tax in Clark County? Yeah? Well, Casey said it’s also going to pay for a new light at that intersection.

“Design should start next year with construction beginning late next year or early 2015,” Casey said.

That’s not very soon, Neil, but at least it’s an answer.

I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more answers like this. I know it, in fact. The RTC just the other day approved getting started on almost $100 million in projects using this new tax. And that’s just the beginning.

Every government agency and his brother is getting a piece of that gas tax pie.

Got a transportation question, comment or gripe? Ship it off to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Or tweet to @RJroadwarrior.