The best way to make bus stops safer is to move them away from traffic.
To that end, the city of Las Vegas on Monday announced a $1 million donation to the region’s transportation coalition. The money will buy private property near bus stops so the stops can be moved farther from the street.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman said it should be enough to pay for the right-of-way at 150 to 200 bus stops in the city.
But she encouraged property owners to donate the land.
“Anyone who owns private property near a bus shelter, please call,” she said.
The Regional Transportation Commission reports there are 3,156 bus stops in the Las Vegas Valley. There are still about 1,000 that need to be moved, but there isn’t enough money to pay for all of the projects.
New shelters are built away from the street. But many older bus stops are only a few feet from passing cars.
In September, four people were killed when a driver, who police say was under the influence of alcohol, lost control and crashed into a bus stop on Spring Mountain Road. That stop, just east of Decatur Boulevard, is only a few feet from passing cars.
Goodman said she called the RTC’s general manager, Tina Quigley, the day of the crash to find out whether the city could do anything to help make bus stops safer.
Quigley said the RTC commissioned a study in 2008 that found moving bus stops as little as 5 feet farther from the street can lessen accidents by up to 80 percent.
Since then, the agency has spent $15 million on safety measures, including moving bus stops, raising curbs and installing bus turnouts.
The donation announced Monday, which came from the city’s share of a 9-cent-per-gallon local gas tax, will be available when the new fiscal year starts July 1.
The RTC said the process of upgrading the stops should take a year or two. Exactly how many bus stops the donation will pay to improve depends on how much the property costs at each stop.
Bus stops are typically on public property, such as sidewalks. The parking lots and businesses behind them are usually privately owned.
Officials said that U.S. Bank and a local church recently donated small parcels of land so bus stops could be moved away from the street. The land required is about 5 feet by 25 feet, the size of two parking spaces.
Contact reporter Richard Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0307.