How long to cross the road?

This week readers want to know why some crosswalk signals count down 22 seconds when flashing "don't walk," what is the construction for on Washington Avenue east of Nellis Boulevard, and is it legal to drive a car in Nevada with only a rear license plate showing?

Al Wirtzbaum asks: Can you please let us know why the countdown on pedestrian traffic signals going from a walk signal to a don't walk signal is 22 seconds?

Firstly, I learned that 22 seconds is not an all encompassing number.

It really depends on the intersection and how far it is across the street that determines the time on the walk signal, said Tracy Bower, spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation Commission.

"The length of time for the walk signal and flashing don't walk signal are directly proportional to the width of the street," Bower said.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, written by federal transportation officials, is used as a guideline. The manual assumes a pedestrian walks 4 feet per second, or 3 mph.

So crossing 80 feet to get to the other side of the street would require a minimum of 20 seconds of crossing time, which includes both the walk and flashing don't walk signals, Bower said.

"The duration of the walk signal is also based on how many pedestrians are likely to be present and waiting to cross the street," Bower said.

Most intersections spend seven seconds flashing the walk signal, but on the Strip it could be as long as 20 seconds because of the number of people crossing, Bower said.

A different example involves an extended green signal for vehicles on a main thoroughfare such as Flamingo Road.

In that case, someone walking east or west parallel to Flamingo might run into crosswalk signals that are extended to coincide with longer running green lights.

In such cases a walk signal may last longer than 60 seconds, Bower said.

Paulette Juryn asks: For the past few weeks there has been some kind of road work on Washington east of Nellis Boulevard near Linn Lane. Is there any way to find out what is being done? I haven't seen any vehicles marked with any utility association.

The project is part of a Clark County project to install school flashers near Eldorado High School, said public works spokesman Bobby Shelton.

Wheeler Electric is the on-site contractor, he added.

The project began June 1 and is estimated to be finished by Oct. 1.

"Currently, the project is one-third complete with underground conduits installed, with flasher arms to be installed in the near future," Shelton said.

Donald Ross: I purchased a car that came from Arizona. It had no front plate and no bracket or mounting holes for a plate. Is it legal in Nevada to drive with only the back plate on?

It's perfectly legal.

According to Nevada Revised Statute 482.275, section 2 states that if the vehicle was not manufactured to include a bracket to secure a front license plate and none is provided otherwise, a license plate must be attached to the motor vehicle in the rear. It's optional for the vehicle owner to install the front license plate. However, the law reads that if there is a bracket for a front plate, it must be put on.

The law changed in 2005. The Nevada Legislature did so because some car manufacturers were building vehicles without a place for the front plate.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Francis McCabe at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to Please include your phone number.