Red flags and traffic snags, oh what a drag


Seeing red is making at least one driver see red as we open this week's installment of Road Warrior questions-answers with a two-part query regarding construction on Clark County 215 in the northern valley.

Richard is frustrated by what he sees at both Decatur and Jones boulevards as the northern beltway is being widened to interstate standards.

First, he wonders why there are signs on the two streets that read "No right turn on red," which he says lead to "major backups at these intersections."

Second, he questions the sense of the sign control people - "flaggers," as they're colloquially known - who he says are quick to stop or slow traffic in the area, adding to the considerable traffic congestion: "All they have to see is one of their construction vehicles coming and they stop traffic. ... Is there anything that can be done to correct this?"

The Road Warrior feels Richard's pain. He really does, considering he lives in the northwest and occasionally finds himself at those very intersections, facing the same backups.

But perhaps the Road Warrior has become somewhat of a Road Wuss when it comes to safety around construction zones - for both the workers and those driving through. As such, he agrees with Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin, who explains the rationale is safety:

"The 'No right turn on red' signs were included when the temporary traffic signals were installed at both Decatur and Jones. The project's traffic engineers decided they were necessary because of the geometry of the intersections and the line-of-sight issues that may be encountered by motorists. Also, limiting right-turn-on-red movements minimizes conflicts with left-turn movements.

"The flaggers, meanwhile, try to coordinate the stopping of traffic with the signal operations as best they can. The use of flaggers provides an extra level of safety for both the traveling public and the construction trucks."

Speaking of signs - at the risk of being compared to the Five Man Electrical Band of 1971 - the Road Warrior takes up the cause of Barbara, who wants a "Do not block intersection" sign placed on Charleston Boulevard at Sandhill Road: "If you're on westbound Charleston during rush hour, attempting to turn south onto Sandhill, there are inconsiderate drivers blocking the intersection because the traffic signals in this area are not in sync. There have been times I've had to sit through three light changes to make the turn because these eastbound idiots insist on pulling into the intersection."

Apparently not all motorists are as courteous as the Road Warrior, who would never intentionally block an intersection. However, most drivers try to gain an advantage in traffic whenever and however they can.

We turn to Damon Hodge, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation, to see if Barbara's request is doable: "A sign is possible. Our traffic safety folks plan to check things out in the coming weeks. They'll make a decision after they've made an assessment."

OK, the Road Warrior surrenders - yet another question about a sign. Every five weeks, Donald makes a trip to Arizona to buy lottery tickets. He's noticed the distance between Milepost 16 and 17 on U.S. Highway 93 is only three-tenths of a mile: "Any idea why?"

Hmmm ... maybe it's a sign of a different sort, as in the numbers Donald should pick in his pursuit of Powerball millions: 3, 5, 10, 16, 17? Too bad he can't pick 93, huh?

For an answer to the question, we again turn to NDOT's Hodge: "Sometimes, the mileposts are knocked down and our maintenance crews may not have GPS technology to find the exact location of the previous post. We also post fractional milepost markers at structures, bridges, interchanges and culverts, thus the mileposts wouldn't be exactly one mile apart.

"Meanwhile, in urban areas, it's not always possible to put posts one mile apart; for example, there may be sidewalks or other deterrents."

Greg lives in Palm Gardens, a housing development south of Las Vegas where U.S. Highway 95 connects with State Route 163. The speed limit is 75 mph, which Richard says is too high because the average age of area residents is 73 and they have difficulty merging into the zip-along traffic. He asks whether a yellow flashing light with a 45 mph speed limit, much like that in nearby Searchlight, could be installed at this juncture: "We don't want to wait for one of us to die before getting the speed limit reduced."

NDOT's Damon Hodge may have good news for Greg and his fellow Palm Gardens residents, although no guarantee: "Our traffic safety engineer is looking into it."

The Road Warrior turns the lights out on this week's edition with a question from Grover about, well, a light that's out: "Earlier this year, a light pole snapped off in the median of St. Louis Avenue at Sixth Street. What's the plan for replacing it?"

That light pole was knocked out in late October as the result of a vehicle crash, city of Las Vegas spokeswoman Diana Paul explains: "We have not yet had available resources to get the pole reinstalled, but are planning to do so after the first of the year."

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.

 

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