Love for Las Vegas roadway not in the works

This week's installment of Road Warrior questions-answers opens with a reader looking for love. Not from the Road Warrior - heaven forbid! - but from the city of Las Vegas, which is responsible for a perceived rough patch of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Writes Evelyn: "I've noticed there has been some paving to smooth out sections of Martin Luther King Boulevard. Are there any plans to pave the rough area from Charleston Boulevard that extends about a half-block north of Bonneville Avenue/Alta Drive? That area sure could use some loving."

Because the Review-Journal is so close to the area in question, the Road Warrior decided to check out this unloved patch of road, and he came away agreeing whole-heartedly with Evelyn. Some work needs to be done there.

But, no, says city of Las Vegas spokeswoman Margaret Kurtz.

The city Operations and Maintenance staff checked out the area and reports: "This older pavement is in adequate to mediocre condition, has no potholes or rutting and is not overly rough. It is not scheduled for replacement in the near future. Because there are heavily traveled roads within the city that are in greater need of repair, they will be reconstructed first. There are limited funds for roadway reconstruction, and the city maintains a list of projects to start as funds and circumstances allow."

In an aside, Kurtz says the city's Public Works department is planning to replace a section of MLK from Bonneville/Alta to the southern entrance of Costco.

The Notice to Proceed for the work is scheduled for May 2013, but the project's completion is not expected until spring 2014.

Like most Southern Nevadans, Nicholas is aggravated by excessive stop-and-go traffic here. (More stop, he says.) It's particularly bad at the intersection of Cheyenne Avenue and Tenaya Way, where MountainView Hospital and nearby medical facilities are seeing more business.

"Is there no way to open another couple of lanes in this area?" he writes. "Just frustrated with what appears to be a total disregard for drivers and their ability to get to where they need to go."

City of Las Vegas spokeswoman Diana Paul says she understands Nicholas' frustration and believes there are several factors that create the traffic jams: "There is actually a lot of capacity at this intersection with it seeing between 70,000 and 80,000 vehicles per day. There is only so much it can handle during peak periods. This intersection also experiences many emergency vehicle pre-emptions by firetrucks responding to emergencies from the fire station just to the west, and when that occurs, it affects intersection capacity. There are also people visiting the nearby hospital who may not be familiar with this area and the intersection."

Shuttle bus driver Dave takes issue with a turn signal on Las Vegas Boulevard at Fashion Show Drive: "The left-turn arrow from northbound Las Vegas Boulevard will frequently skip cycles between 2:30 and 3 p.m. The complete cycle at this intersection must be close to two minutes or longer. The left-turn arrow, when it does work, is green for all of 10 seconds, regardless of the amount of waiting traffic in the turn lane.

"Complicating matters," Dave adds, "is many mobile billboard trucks use this intersection to turn around to head back south on the Strip. They flip a U-turn, and you have to be aware of their tail swing. I would say no more than six vehicles can make it through that light legally."

Our friends at the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada's Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation observed this site and reports: "More time has been added to the left-turn signal from Las Vegas Boulevard to Fashion Show Drive. This is a challenging intersection due to a high level of pedestrians and the number of mobile billboard trucks making U-turns, slowing down the flow of traffic making left turns."

David envisions a disaster waiting to happen. He says that trying to exit Green Valley Ranch Casino eastbound onto Paseo Verde Parkway between Carnegie Drive and Green Valley Ranch Parkway is much too dangerous, especially at night since medians are not painted: "A traffic light would make exiting much safer as traffic can get heavy, even in daylight hours. Does the city of Henderson have any plans to put a traffic light at either exit?"

Requests such as David's are checked, Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards says, but that doesn't mean all are honored: "We evaluated both driveways from Green Valley Ranch Resort onto Paseo Verde Parkway for the need of traffic signals and neither meet the standards. There is not enough side-street traffic to justify their installation."

Obviously, David sees something that Henderson's traffic engineers do not.

Stanley has a follow-up question to last week's matter of placing signal bridges over St. Rose Parkway at the intersections of Bermuda Road and Maryland Parkway in Henderson: "You stated that Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said that 'due to the width of St. Rose, we will need to use signal bridges to span the roadway.' Since there are already traditional, nonbridge traffic signals at the intersections of St. Rose at Las Vegas Boulevard, Spencer and Jefferys streets, Eastern Avenue, Coronado Center Drive and Paseo Verde Parkway, I wonder what has changed that similar signals can no longer be used? If it's a safety issue, when will they replace the current signal supports at these six intersections with signal bridges?

Richards understands the confusion, but says: "The signal bridges are necessary at Bermuda due to the unusual skew of the road as it approaches St. Rose, creating a larger intersection than the ones listed by the reader. Positioning the signal arms so that the signal heads are located over the appropriate lanes creates a very long stretch that we can't span without the use of signal bridges. It will also make the traffic signals more visible to motorists as they make the hard turn onto St. Rose. We will be able to use 80-foot master arms for the Maryland Parkway intersection."

If you have traffic questions or gripes, email them to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please be specific, and include your phone number. Not all questions can be answered in print. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter: @RJroadwarrior.