North Las Vegas leaders envision light-rail line

Updated June 25, 2018 - 1:47 am

The Regional Transportation Commission won’t decide on it until September, but a proposed light-rail line for Maryland Parkway is going to be a hot topic this summer.


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Shortly after a three-part series about the proposal ran last week in the Review-Journal, a rumor emerged that Las Vegas officials opposed the commission’s plan to run the light-rail trains along curbside lanes that would be shared with vehicles, rather than a designated centerline as seen in other cities.

Turns out that’s not the case.

Las Vegas Public Works Director Mike Janssen said the city is “100 percent behind” the project.

“There have been discussions about the line being placed curbside or in center lanes, but either scenario has the city’s support,” Janssen said. “In fact, the line will use both alignments when complete because there are center lanes already constructed downtown on Casino Center Boulevard that the light rail will utilize.”

Even though the Maryland Parkway project hasn’t been approved, North Las Vegas officials are drawing up plans for a light-rail line connecting a revitalized downtown area to the Veterans Affairs medical center.

City leaders envision a route running roughly 11 miles primarily along North Fifth Street from Owens Avenue to Deer Springs Way, cutting east to the VA medical center, then heading north on Pecos Road to the proposed site of a secondary campus for UNLV.

The idea came about after North Las Vegas received a grant from the RTC to examine the “highest use of development based on high-capacity transit,” said Gina Gavan, the city’s economic and business development director.

Meanwhile, the RTC is examining the proposed Maryland Parkway and North Las Vegas light-rail routes as part of a larger study on how evolving technologies might help to improve access and capacity in some of Southern Nevada’s busiest corridors over the next 20 years.

It was unclear whether the Maryland and North Las Vegas light-rail lines would connect — or how that might happen — but Gavan said she believes a train could be running through her city as soon as a decade from now, depending on the availability of money.

“For us, light rail would bring economic development and it would help move employees to the jobs we’re creating in North Las Vegas, while also bringing some traffic relief to our roads,” Gavan said. “Incorporating those elements would make us competitive economically as we continue to attract companies into the city.”

No passing allowed

Liz from Las Vegas wanted to know whether carpool lanes could be used for passing slow-moving vehicles.

Trooper Jason Buratczuk of the Nevada Highway Patrol emphatically said no, high-occupancy vehicle lanes are not meant for passing.

“It has a solid white line, which means you may not cross it unless you have two or more people in your vehicle and you need to get in our out of the HOV lane,” he said.

School zone woes

Even though school is out for the summer, Helen from Summerlin said she is concerned about parents who park their cars in red zones along her street, near Bonner Elementary, 765 Crestdale Lane.

“My car barely fits down the road when this happens, so I am sure an emergency vehicle wouldn’t be able to squeeze through,” Helen said in an email. “The situation gets worse every year as the student population grows.”

Margaret Kurtz, a spokeswoman for the city of Las Vegas, said crews will spend the summer reconfiguring Crestdale Lane between Town Center Drive and Hualapai Way. This should provide additional on-street parking and address traffic issues around the school.

Costco construction disrupts bike path

Ron from Henderson wanted to know when the designated bicycle path will reopen on the south side of St. Rose Parkway, between Eastern Avenue and M Resort.

“Construction has torn up the path and cyclists are required to detour across the ever-dangerous St. Rose Parkway.”

Kathleen Richards, a spokeswoman for the city of Henderson, said the bicycle path was closed for the construction of Costco at St. Rose and Amigo Street. Expect the bike path to reopen by early fall, coinciding with the opening of Costco, she said.

Questions and comments should be sent to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Follow @RJroadwarrior on Twitter.

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