When motorists are adamant enough about changes they think need to be made, state transportation officials have shown that they’ll eventually listen.
Seemingly everyone’s least favorite road addition of 2019, the 22 continuous miles of high occupancy vehicle lanes along Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 95 drew complaints even before they went live.
Now six months in and dozens of emails from angry readers later, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced it was making the first modification to the lanes.
The most common complaint about the carpool lanes — aside from the lanes being in existence at all — has been the lack of lane access points. So last week, NDOT said six new entry/exit areas will be added by the summer.
Based on the eye test of my daily commute on I-15, more and more people have been using the lanes — and fewer of them are single occupant vehicles. Drivers still commonly dart in and out of the lanes at will, which the new access points should help decrease.
Despite the never-ending complaints about the HOV lane system, the lanes will prove more and more useful with the rapid growth of the valley and the impending move of the Raiders to Allegiant Stadium, which sits next to I-15. The $200 million Tropicana Interchange project, which is slated to be complete in 2023, will improve the system even more by adding HOV ramps to and from the Harmon Avenue bridge.
Although it’s unlikely the 24/7 regulations tied to the HOV lanes will change, any other kinks in the carpool lane system will eventually be worked out by NDOT and airing concerns to the state will help identify those.
The state transportation department is also looking at possibly addressing other aspects, like a long stretch of I-15 between Charleston and Sahara that has two HOV lanes near the Neon Gateway.
So, even though NDOT Director Kristina Swallow said the lanes wouldn’t be modified for three years, when a problem was blatantly evident the state jumped into action.
Lyft ride credits
In an effort to cut down on impaired driving, the Las Vegas Coalition for Zero Fatalities is pledging $300,000 in free Lyft ride credits for holidays throughout 2020.
The coalition will disburse $20,000 for New Year’s Eve so revelers can celebrate and ride smart.
New and existing users can receive up to $5 off two rides in the Las Vegas Valley with code “LASNYE” from Dec. 31 at 10 a.m. through Jan. 1 at 4 p.m., while supplies last.
In its third year of operations the Zero Fatalities coalition’s push to curb impaired driving appears to be paying off, according to Andrew Bennett, Zero Fatalities spokesman.
“Preliminary numbers show a 55 percent decrease in year over year impaired-related fatalities,” Bennett said. “These are some of the lowest numbers we have seen in years and we hope with the expanding presence of the coalition that these numbers will continue to decrease.”
Additionally, passengers can utilize public transit as a smart ride alternative to supplement their transportation plans, as the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada will offer free rides on all 39 fixed transit routes from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
“With so many accessible and reliable transportation alternatives, there are no excuses for driving impaired,” said Louisa Choi, general manager for Lyft Nevada. “Let’s not only celebrate the start of a new decade but also celebrate zero fatalities.”