Flooding prompts UNLV to close parking spots

Here are some quick hits today. There is transportation news all over the place, so I’ll condense some of it for you, make it palatable.

It rained – It rained a lot

Everyone knows UNLV is a commuter college. Of the 27,000 students enrolled there, only 1,100 live on campus.

Which means most of the other 26,000 drive to school. Which means they have to park in one of the 12,000 spots spread around the campus.

All of which isn’t normally much of a problem. Sure, sometimes students and faculty have to search for a spot, but there’s usually one available somewhere.

But then it rained this past Tuesday. It rained a lot. It rained so much that some of the flood channels in town were overwhelmed.

It rained so much in a short time that a groundskeeper at Desert Rose Golf Course got swept up in the ensuing flash flood and died.

Which brings us back to UNLV.

The Clark County Regional Flood Control District maintains a bunch of rain gauges around the valley. Recordings were from below a half-inch in Tuesday’s storm to more than two inches.

The highest measured rainfall was at a gauge on Swenson Street between Tropicana Avenue and Flamingo Road.

That’s why there were pictures all over Twitter of two guys floating on pool toys in the Thomas & Mack Center’s parking lot on UNLV’s campus.

That’s why there were pictures of two guys with fishing poles in the middle of campus.

That’s why there were pictures of a couple dozen flooded cars in the T&M parking lot.

That flooding angered a lot of people, me included.

Tony Allen, a UNLV spokesman, said the university was notified that about 30 cars were damaged in the flooding.

He said the storm drains on Swenson were so overwhelmed that the water ended up pooling in the university’s parking lot.

Allen said while UNLV won’t be paying to repair the damaged cars, the university will ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Until the problem is fixed, the spots that flooded badly on Tuesday will be closed.

That’s the right thing to do.


Gasoline prices in Las Vegas are up 21 cents a gallon over the last month, AAA reported last week. They were up 14 cents a gallon nationally.

The organization said they expected prices to drop soon, though, as the normal summer demand slows down.


A 28-year-old local man, Michael Viera-Crespo Jr., is going to prison for goofing around.

He pleaded guilty to pointing a laser light into the cockpit of at least three aircraft.

The authorities said that when the police sent a helicopter after whoever was pointing the laser, he pointed it at the helicopter, too.

That’s really dangerous, folks. Better to use those laser pointers to drive cats crazy. Have you ever tried that? No? Do yourself a favor and give it a whirl.

A judge sentenced Viera-Crespo to eight months in prison.


The wise souls who run the Texas Transportation Commission decided the other day that 80 mph isn’t fast enough. They build their freeways so dang well, y’all, that the speed limit should be 85.

The state built a new toll road in the vast emptiness between Austin and San Antonio that’s set to open soon. The speed limit will be 85 mph, the highest anywhere in the nation.

Right now, there are a few rural highways in Texas and Utah with 80 mph limits.

The highest speed limit in Nevada is 75.


Speaking of nutballs …

A candidate for the state Senate down in Florida is taking heat for voting yes to make that state the second one to allow driverless cars on its roads.

The first was Nevada, of course.

A political action committee ran an ad against Jeff Brandes for his vote, despite the fact that the bill passed unanimously.

Molly Ball, a former Review-Journal scribe who now covers politics for The Atlantic, reported the story.

"The ad badly misrepresents the autonomous vehicle technology. Driverless cars aren’t empty – there’s a driver behind the wheel ready to take over; they’re not ‘remote controlled’; and so far at least, they’re not dangerous," she wrote.

The ad is hilarious, a clear attempt to scare the kind of people who think smartphones are the work of the devil.

Google "Jeff Brandes driverless car." You won’t be disappointed.

Questions and comments should go to roadwarrior Please include your phone number.

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