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Right-of-way question arises when public street becomes private drive


It’s not uncommon in the Las Vegas Valley to pass multiple adult entertainment businesses in a single commute.

A lot of the time, drivers don’t notice them. They blend into the blur of grocery stores and office buildings as we drive to work. They’re businesses like any other.

Reader Gregg, however, did notice one. In fact, he had a bit of a run-in with one. Not literally, but almost.

“I was traveling south on Westwood Drive to enter the industrial park just south of Treasures Club. The street was blocked off by a yellow rope tied between two five-gallon buckets. When I tried to proceed around the barricade I was immediately admonished by a non-uniformed Treasures employee for “driving on private property!” Does Treasures Gentlemen’s Club, or any other business for that matter, have the right to close off a public street?”

As far as public vs. private property cases go, this is an odd one. Diana Paul with the city of Las Vegas helped us understand.

According to city records, Westwood Drive is a public street — until it hits Red Oak Avenue, which is right where Treasures is. Then it becomes a private driveway. But only briefly. If you look at a map, the public street picks back up a mere 0.2 miles later.

“If the tape was placed in city right of way on Westwood, north of Red Oak’s south edge, then they would have needed a barricade plan approved to do so, and we would not allow just yellow tape but they would need other devices,” Paul said.

Annoying? Yes. Confusing? Yes. But they have the right to block Westwood Drive at that spot.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas student Madeline called and asked about a rumor she heard on campus.

“People are saying they’re thinking of doing construction on Maryland Parkway right by school. Is that true?”

It is true that they’re thinking about it. They have a whole list of ideas but are waiting for approval.

Regional Transportation Commission spokeswoman Julie Schaller helped shed light on their narrowing-down process.

Maryland Parkway is pretty busy, something of which most UNLV students are painfully aware (am I right, Madeline?).

The RTC agrees, and it conducted an analysis between downtown and the airport.

“The corridor was chosen because the area connects to many high-activity centers, such as UNLV, Boulevard Mall, Sunrise Hospital, and a number of residential, commercial and retail areas. In addition, Maryland Parkway is one of the valley’s busiest transit corridors, carrying an average of over 9,000 passengers a day.”

These are some of the ideas submitted to the RTC board by the public and Maryland Parkway stakeholders:

■ Changing the bus stations and stops. Adding some, taking some away, and adjusting timing.

■ Dedicating two of the six existing travel lanes to buses only, with added turn lanes at some intersections.

■ Adding a “guideway” — a center-running transit lane for existing buses. There are a few of these in the downtown area.

■ Creating a rapid bus or rail system, which would also run in the center lanes. The bus system would have a capital cost of $100 million, and the rail system’s capital would be about $320 million.

“Once the RTC receives approval from the Federal Transit Administration to proceed, we expect to go to the environmental study and preliminary design in the summer 2014,” Schaller said. “If everything goes well and smoothly, students should begin to see construction on Maryland Parkway in fall 2016/2017.”

So, Madeline, if you’re worried about construction making you late for class, you won’t have to worry about it if you can manage to graduate in the next three years.

The last question actually has to do with airplanes.

“This is more of a parking than driving question. I’ve been reading about the Red Flag event at the air force base and am wondering what the best place is to watch? I saw people sitting in their cars in a few spots near the base … what’s my best chance of not getting in trouble and getting a good view?”

Many of those people you see parked are called “spotters.” They have huge telephoto camera lenses and take pictures of the fighter planes as they fly around.

I talked to one named Trevor, and he has some good parking recommendations for you.

Weather permitting, you can see the planes take off from Nellis Air Force Base if you park in the dirt along Las Vegas Boulevard near Speedway Boulevard. It borders the speedway, and there’s a safe stretch of dirt between the road and the speedway fence.

And to see the planes land, you should park off of Cheyenne Avenue east of Nellis Boulevard. But there’s a catch.

Some of the side area is private property, and Trevor said it’s a toss-up if the business owners will shoo you away or not. But it’s worth a try because the runway is so close that you can see the planes in detail and feel the roar of the engines.

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