If it looks like a good idea, you should forget about it

It’s funny, when you get one of those ideas that make you think you’ve solved a problem that everyone has, but no one has figured out how to deal with.

Like whoever it was that came up with the cordless phone, way back when. Or the people who decided the Las Vegas Valley needed to be encircled by a freeway long before there were people way out in the boonies.

But sometimes it doesn’t work. Garlic-infused pizza crust, for example. Blech. And the dude who invented “reply all” in email? Let’s not even go there. I’m liable to get all ranty.

Luci wrote in with what sure seemed like a good idea. She wondered if Deer Springs Way in North Las Vegas would ever be extended so that the part near Clayton Street connects to the part down by North 5th Street.

“Seems it would make it so much easier for dropping kids off at school and easier to get to the shopping center on 5th,” she wrote.

She thought maybe it would take traffic away from some of the neighborhoods, and she’s probably right.

You would think an idea like that would have occurred to someone, wouldn’t you?

But Juliet Casey, a city spokeswoman, has bad news. She said that when more housing is built, the developer will extend Deer Springs all the way to Revere Street. That’s just 500 feet or so from the end of the other part of Deer Springs. But, she said, there are no plans to connect the two streets-with-the-same-name.

This sounds a lot like the South Buffalo Drive mess. You know, where Buffalo dead-ends at Tropicana Avenue where it runs into the Spanish Trails development, then magically resumes on the other side, at Hacienda Avenue. Imagine if that went through. It might make driving on Rainbow Boulevard or Durango Drive safer and faster. If only.

Barbara had a question about the new gas taxes we’ll get here in Clark County to help pay for road construction. Why do we need them? Doesn’t the state have high car registration fees that pretty much pay for highways?

Not exactly, Barbara.

The state highway fund collected a little more than $1 billion last year. Almost half of that, $467 million, came from the federal government. Another $185 million came from gas taxes, and $237 million from motor vehicle taxes (car registration fees).

The new tax, which will go into effect in January, will add 3 cents per gallon for each of the next three years on top of the 52 cents in taxes (federal, state and local) we already pay. That increase alone is expected to raise $26 million the first year and climb to $85 million by the third year. That new money will pay for local road projects.

The Regional Transportation Commission plans to issue bonds on all that guaranteed revenue and immediately start scores of road projects to the tune of $700 million to $800 million. We’re talking about finishing the Las Vegas Beltway, for example, and remaking the city’s busiest north-south road outside of the Strip, Maryland Parkway. Registration fees won’t come close to covering that.

Phil wonders what the heck is up with people. Yeah, me too, Phil.

“What’s the deal with all the people who keep their handicapped parking permits hanging on the rearview mirror WHILE THEY ARE DRIVING???” he wrote in an email.

He said that’s dangerous. He wondered if it’s legal.

I suppose it could be dangerous, Phil, but it’s totally legal.

State law says you can’t have an obstruction “upon” the windshield. This is where it gets tricky.

A cop in Alaska, where the law says pretty much the same thing, pulled a guy over for having stuff hanging from his mirror.

One thing led to another, and the case ended up before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court said, essentially, that because the law uses the word “upon,” the rearview mirror is a totally cool place to hang your stuff.

Is it a good idea, though?

I guess it depends on you and your car.

If you’re driving a Chevy Suburban, you probably have plenty of square feet of windshield.

But if you’re in one of those tiny Smart Cars? Maybe you ought to stow the handicapped tag in your tiny glove box while you’re driving.

At least that seems like a good idea.

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