A new school year starts Monday for most children across Clark County, and motorists should give themselves a little more time getting to work.
Buses filled with students will be joining us on the road after a long summer break. Slow down in school zones and be mindful of the kids and teens who opt to walk or ride a bicycle to campus.
“Drivers need to understand the role they play on the road, especially when it comes to children,” said Erin Breen, head of the Vulnerable Road Users Project at UNLV. “Being in a hurry is a contributing factor to a tragedy.”
While driving around today, remember to stop for bright yellow school buses with flashing red lights and extended arms bearing a “stop” sign, regardless of which direction you’re headed.
Some laws to keep in mind while driving through active school zones: no U-turns, no passing other moving vehicles, obey the directions of crossing guards and come to a complete stop when children are crossing the street.
There were 44 pedestrians fatally struck by vehicles this year across Southern Nevada as of Friday morning, an increase of more than 60 percent from the same point in 2016, Breen said.
“We didn’t hit 44 pedestrian deaths until mid-November last year,” Breen said. “I don’t understand why it’s going up.”
Two girls died after getting struck by vehicles in separate incidents during the last school year.
Jazaya Williams, 15, was using a crosswalk when a Fiat failed to yield near Cimarron Road and Vegas Drive in January. She died from her injuries a week later.
One month later, 11-year-old Jazmin Espana died after she was hit by a Republic Services garbage truck at South Sandhill and East Viking roads.
Additionally, Breen said that at least two school-age boys were critically injured in separate accidents over the past school year.
To stay safe, children should travel with someone they know and stick with a planned route with plenty of sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
“You want the kids to bike or walk to school with a friend because there’s safety in numbers,” Breen said. “There are dangers, but this gives some freedom to kids while learning how to make critical decision-making skills and how to interact with traffic.”
Red Rock road work
It’s no secret that the 13-mile scenic loop is being repaved at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. But, Zack from Summerlin noticed that road crews are “shredding the shrubbery and mangling the metal road markers,” and wanted to know why.
It turns out some plants and dead vegetation had to be removed so that parts of the road could be widened, said John Asselin, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Land Management.
“That process was examined before construction by our biologists, kept to the absolute minimum and permitted by the BLM,” Asselin said. “Red Rock Canyon is a national conservation area, so this process was taken seriously.”
And no need to worry about those mangled road markers. The signs will be replaced, and the maximum speed limit on the road will be 35 mph, Asselin said.
Rest stop closures
Anyone traveling between Las Vegas and Southern California is familiar with the irregular closures of the rest stops along Interstate 15. Tom wanted to know the reason and whether there are plans to keep them open.
The Valley Wells rest areas near Cima Road — between the state line and Baker — frequently closes because of water pump issues, said Terri Kasinga, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation, known as Caltrans.
The Clyde Kane rest stop just off northbound I-15 near Barstow has similar plumbing problems, Kasinga said. And, construction is expected to wrap up next year on the the Clyde Kane rest stop for southbound I-15.
No changes expected
Dennis from Las Vegas wanted to know whether the Nevada Department of Transportation will widen the two lanes of U.S. Highway 95 that run beneath Interstate 15, noting that it creates a bottleneck for downtown commuters.
“There are no immediate plans to improve this stretch of highway,” NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said.
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Road work ahead
■ The Martin Luther King Boulevard onramp to southbound U.S. Highway 95 will be closed from 7 p.m. Monday through mid-September. Crews are building a carpool ramp.
■ The Martin Luther King Boulevard onramp to northbound Interstate 15 will be closed from 7 p.m. Monday through January 2018. Crews are building a carpool ramp.
■ Third Street is restricted between Charleston and Oakey boulevards through Tuesday. Crews are installing utilities.
■ Ogden Avenue is restricted at 11th Street through Aug. 21. Crews are working on a water line.
■ U.S. 95 will be restricted between Valley View Boulevard and Rancho Drive through the end of August. Crews are installing foundations for traffic management signs.
■ The carpool lane for southbound U.S. Highway 95 will be closed between Decatur Boulevard and Rancho Drive through mid-September. Crews are erecting traffic management signs.
■ Martin Luther King Boulevard offramp from northbound U.S. Highway 95 will be closed through mid-September. Crews are rebuilding the ramp.
■ Washington Avenue is restricted between Robin Street and Rancho Drive through Oct. 19. Crews are working on a channel project.
■ Main Street is restricted between Fremont Street and Ogden Avenue through Dec. 20. Crews are demolishing a building.
■ Ninth Street is closed between Carson and Main streets through Dec. 31. Crews are installing water and sewer lines.
■ U.S. Highway 95 will be restricted between Rancho Road and just east of Interstate 15 through January 2018. Crews are building a new flyover ramp for high-occupancy vehicles as part of Project Neon.
■ Main Street is restricted between Bonneville Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard through May 2018. Crews are working on a storm drain.
■ Sections of Bonneville Avenue, Charleston Boulevard, Grand Central Parkway and Martin Luther King Boulevard will have closed or disrupted lanes surrounding the Spaghetti Bowl as crews work on Project Neon through July 2018.
■ Owens Avenue will be restricted between Nellis Boulevard and Lamont Street through Aug. 21. Crews are doing sewer work.
■ Eastern Avenue will be restricted between Flamingo Road and Tompkins Avenue through Sept. 29. Crews are doing sewer work.
■ Northbound U.S. Highway 95 is restricted between Ann Road and the 215 Beltway from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly through Friday. Crews are striping the road and installing barrier rails.
■ Southbound U.S. Highway 95 is restricted between Elkhorn and Ann roads from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly through Friday. Crews are striping the road and installing barrier rails.
■ Torrey Pines Drive is restricted at Azure Drive through Thursday. Crews are working on a storm drain.
■ Grand Teton Drive is restricted between Hualapai Way and Egan Crest Drive through Aug. 20. Crews are working on water and sewer lines.
■ Fort Apache Road is restricted between Sunset and Post roads through Oct. 31. Crews are doing sewer work.
■ Sunset Road is restricted between Fort Apache Road and Ivesdale Street through Oct. 31. Crews are doing sewer work.
■ The 13-mile scenic route at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area will be repaved in one-mile increments through August.
■ Appaloosa Road will be restricted between Wagonwheel Drive and Rawhide Drive through late October. Crews are installing a storm drain.
■ Center Street will be restricted between Burkholder Boulevard and Lake Mead Parkway through June 2018. Crews are making various road improvements.
North Las Vegas
■ Range Road will be closed between Tropical Parkway and El Campo Grande from 2 to 5 a.m. Wednesday. Crews are making bridge repairs.
■ Nellis Boulevard will be restricted between Cheyenne Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays through July 2018. Crews are installing sewer pipes.
The average gasoline price Friday in the Las Vegas Valley was $2.54 per gallon. It was $2.62 in Nevada. The national average of $2.35 is up 1 cent from a week ago, up 10 cents from a month ago and up 12 cents from a year ago.
Las Vegas Review-Journal