Vista Commons shortcut must wait

This week readers want to know when the intersection of Alta and Desert Foothills drives will open, who is supposed to enforce traffic laws in parking lots and what makes a safety corridor. Also, the owner of a monstrous SUV fills us in on the truth about filling up.

A.J. Behl writes: Can you tell me when West Alta Drive in Summerlin will be open to Desert Foothills Drive? Presently it ends at Vista Run. The road seems done and even landscaped for at least a year.

The folks at the Las Vegas public works department pointed me in the direction of the Howard Hughes Corp., which oversees everything that happens in Summerlin, including the building of intersections.

Spokesman Tom Warden said an engineering firm was set to submit designs to the city for approval of a temporary intersection. The city should have the plans in a week, he said.

Once the plans are approved -- a process that may take anywhere from one to three months -- construction should take no longer than two to three months, Warden said.

By my count, that's a total of about six months, if it all goes smoothly.

Warden said folks are probably interested in this intersection because of the recently opened Albertsons at the Vista Commons at the intersection of West Charleston Boulevard and Desert Foothills.

It's the first commercial development in the area west of the Las Vegas Beltway. Having the intersection open will provide a straighter shot for many folks to buy groceries.

Denise asks: What is the meaning of the sign stating "safety corridor" on Interstate 15 in California? It hardly seems like any other drivers are being safe in that corridor.

According to the California Highway Patrol, safety corridors were created in California in 1992 after federal grant money was used to create task forces to address high-collision areas on that state's highways and byways. The goal was to identify the areas and recommend safety improvements.

Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County is considered a truck safety corridor, according to the CHiPs Web site.

The theme for the I-15 safety corridor is "Be aware & share!" The highway patrol offers several tips on how car and truck drivers can share the road without having to exchange insurance information.

You can check out some suggestions on safe driving at

Kathy writes: Who enforces the stop signs in parking lots such as those at shopping malls? I watched a gal drive past a sign without even slowing.

I checked with several sources and found that for the most part law enforcement officers do not write citations for moving violations on private property.

Now if there is some sort of wreck or collision, that might change depending on the circumstances -- for instance if a driver is drunk.

Of course, law enforcement agencies do write citations for those who illegally park in spaces reserved for the handicapped. In fact, there is a specific Nevada Revised Statute for it. NRS 484.4085 states local law enforcement agencies can even appoint volunteers to enforce handicapped parking laws.

But that's for parking, not for running stop signs.

The state also allows law enforcement to cite on private property a driver whose vehicle is not registered, as long as the private property is open to the public, for example a mall parking lot.

Hit 'n' Run: Henry saw this on U.S. Highway 95 northbound at the Spaghetti Bowl: A Yukon XL, GMC's largest full-size SUV, with the license plate: "NEEDGAS."

Speaking of the need for gasoline: How 'bout those prices?

Just Tuesday, the driver advocacy group, AAA, released statistics showing that Nevada gas prices had broken new records for the price of regular, unleaded gas, which was up 55 cents to $3.29 a gallon over last year.

Meanwhile, on the commodities market the price of a barrel of crude oil seems to break a new record every day. On Tuesday it ended at nearly $109 a barrel. And the price is just going to keep increasing.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at or (702) 387-2904.