Lower your standards, and roads won't seem bad


Standards make the world go ’round. They help determine who we date, what we eat, how we interact with everyone else.

Having high standards can ensure that we don’t get duped or settle for less than we should.

But they can be trouble, too. If we set them too high, we’re in for eternal disappointment.

Take the roads around the Las Vegas valley. They’re always under construction. The extreme temperature shifts leave cracks in them. They’re slicker in the early minutes of a rainstorm than a Slurpee spilled on frozen linoleum.

And they’re never, ever, smooth.

It’s easy to get angry because of an unfinished project or a poorly placed stoplight or a missing speed limit sign.

When I find myself flailing my arms at inanimate objects, I try to remember the words of Epictetus, the ancient Greek Stoic: “Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.”

Which brings us to today’s first question, sent in by Allen.

The city of Las Vegas recently finished phase two of Raptor Play Park, at North Durango Road and Tropical Parkway.

Allen pointed out that part of the project left a dip in Durango that goes across all the southbound lanes. When are they going to fix it?

I drive that road all the time. I had no idea what Allen was talking about. But I drove it again over the weekend, and he was right. There’s a dip. It didn’t jostle the car or anything, but it was noticeable.

Maybe I’ve become immune to the bumps in the road.

I asked city spokeswoman Diana Paul about it. She said putting down asphalt requires warmer temperatures than we’ve had until recently.

Now that spring has arrived, it will be fixed soon.

“In the next few weeks,” she wrote in an email.

Bruce asked about an infuriating stoplight on Cheyenne Avenue just west of Tenaya Way. It sits in front of Fire Station 42. The thing turns red for no apparent reason all the dang time.

What gives?

This light is so maddening that it’s come up more than once in the Road Warrior archives. But I will answer it again because it can’t be said often enough.

That fire station shouldn’t be there.

It’s too close to Tenaya. When the light at Cheyenne and Tenaya turns red, traffic gets backed up in front of the fire station. If there were an emergency, the trucks couldn’t get out.

City officials tried to come up with a solution. They put signs up telling drivers not to block the way. That didn’t work. People either didn’t see the signs or didn’t care.

The only solution that works is making that signal turn red to stop cars from backing up in front of the station.

So, even though it seems to make no sense to sit at a red light, there’s your reason: The fire station was built in a place it shouldn’t have been.

Speaking of road signs, this question comes from a guy I know: me.

There’s a road out by my house, near Ann Road and the 215, that’s got me all discombobulated. It’s a little two-lane road that basically connects the freeway exit to the neighborhoods.

There is no speed limit sign on this road in either direction for over a mile. And yet, I see Las Vegas police traffic officers out there with their radar guns every now and then.

How do you know how fast you’re supposed to drive?

State law gives this guidance: Be “reasonable and proper.”

Thanks, state law. Huge help there.

I asked Capt. Mark Tavarez, who heads the Las Vegas police traffic bureau.

What should drivers do if there’s no speed limit sign?

You should do what’s obvious, was pretty much his answer. If it’s a residential area, do 25 mph. If it’s a little two-lane road, do 35 mph.

Any faster than that, he said, you’re risking a ticket.

Sarah wrote in to say she travels to Southern California often. She wondered if it’s OK to use the far right lane on Interstate 15, the one designated for slow-moving vehicles, as a passing lane.

To clarify: She wasn’t asking because she wants to do that. She was asking because it’s frustrating to see other drivers weaving in and out of traffic by using those designated truck lanes.

California Highway Patrol officer Sylvia Vargas seemed to sympathize.

“A lot of people attempt to use those lanes as passing lanes,” she said. “It’s not necessarily a vehicle code violation that could be cited. However, that’s not something that drivers should do.”

Read between the lines, Sarah. The cops don’t like it any more than you do, but there’s not much they can do about it, short of ticketing reckless drivers.

Which brings us back to Epictetus, who said all sorts of things, but this one’s my favorite: “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master.”

Got a transportation question, comment or gripe? Ship it off to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter @RJroadwarrior.