North Las Vegas has partnered with the Southern Nevada Health District on an initiative to improve roads to better accomodate cars, bicycles and public and pedestrian traffic.
More than 1,140 agencies nationwide have adopted the Complete Streets initiative, which provides guidelines for government entities on how to improve roads, according to the Regional Transportation Commission’s website. Improvements may include adding bike lanes, wider sidewalks, more civic space, transit lanes, improved lighting and landscaping.
“From a public-health standpoint, we know that when our roads are rectified with all users in mind, our communities become more walkable and more bikeable,” Health District supervisor Nicole Bungum said. “We want to make the roads safe for everyone, regardless of their ability and the type of transportation that they use.”
North Las Vegas received $270,000 from the Health District to create a policy, Bungum said. The city became the first in Clark County to adopt a comprehensive Complete Streets policy that includes the 10 elements recommended by the National Complete Streets Coalition.
Funds were also used to create striping for bike lanes in North Las Vegas, she said. The city has added bike lanes on Bruce Street from Owens Avenue to Las Vegas Boulevard and on Owens Avenue from Civic Center to Pecos Road, city traffic engineer Michael Hudgeons said.
The policy took about 18 months to develop and was approved at a City Council meeting in May, Hudgeons said.
Vehicle traffic historically has been given the most consideration in road design, he said, but Complete Streets emphasizes all modes of transportation.
“Instead of doing a cookie-cutter approach, we need to look at the whole picture,” Hudgeons said. “How are we serving pedestrians? How are we serving bicyclists (and others)?”
Bungum said the initiative also encourages healthier habits.
“When walking and biking is easy and safe to do, people are more likely to walk and bike,” she said.
The RTC was the first entity in the valley to adopt the policy, in 2013. Complete Streets standards have been used in recent RTC projects, including the Sahara Express, which added a curbside transit lane, median landscaping and wider sidewalks on Sahara Avenue, and the Boulder Highway Express, which included a curbside transit lane, new bike lanes, reburished sidewalks and median landscaping.
The Department of Motor Vehicles gives residents in Carson City and Clark, Douglas and Washoe counties the option to make a $2 donation to the Complete Streets program when renewing their vehicle registration.
To learn more about Complete Streets, visit smartgrowthamerica.org.