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Pedestrian deaths in Las Vegas can be reduced by staying alert

After tragedy strikes, it’s normal for community members to rally around each other to try to create positives out of a negative situation.

When 12-year-old Jonathan Smith was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing Fort Apache Road near Arby Avenue last week, it seemed that a refresher on the the dos and don’ts for pedestrians and motorists regarding crossing roadways would be a way to shine a light on an often overlooked process on the road.

Smith was at a median attempting to cross Fort Apache at an unmarked intersection with two other juveniles. Cars in the first two lanes stopped to let the boys walk, but a third driver went around the two cars and struck Smith and another 12-year-old. Both were taken to area hospitals, where Smith succumbed to his injuries and the other boy was treated for minor injuries, Metropolitan Police said.

With 617 pedestrian deaths in Nevada between 2010 and 2018, according to Department of Public Safety data, Smith’s unfortunate story is all too common in the state.

“Nevada has continued to experience pedestrian fatalities at an alarming rate,” said Andrew Bennett, Department of Public Safety spokesman. “It is going to take the cooperation from both drivers and pedestrians watching out for each other to help reduce the amount of pedestrian fatalities on our roadways.”

Last year marked the first time in nine years that the pedestrian death rate dropped year-over-year, going from 98 in 2017 to 80 in 2018, department data revealed.

So far, 2019 has gotten off to a deadlier start with 14 pedestrians deaths as of Feb. 28, the latest official number, a 40 percent increase from the same time in 2018, according to public safety officials.

Here are some tips for both motorists and pedestrians to help keep everyone safe on Las Vegas Valley roads.

For motorists:

Don’t pass a car stopped for pedestrians — it’s against the law.

Slow down, stop on red and look right before turning on green.

Look for pedestrians. Expect to see them at corners and marked mid-block crossings, and stop for them when they cross the street.

For pedestrians:

Never allow children under 10 to cross streets alone.

Obey traffic signs and signals.

Pay attention to where you’re going. Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving.

When you’re crossing a street, make eye contact with drivers. Make sure they know you’re there.

Following such simple rules can help reduce the occurrence of auto-pedestrian crashes, like the one that resulted in the tragic loss of a young life and made an everlasting impact on the community last week.

Lake Mead Boulevard roadwork

An eight-week long roadwork project kicks off Monday morning.

The project, taking place on Lake Mead between Anasazi and Hills Center drives, includes utility adjustments, milling and paving operations, according to Las Vegas officials.

Between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., traffic will be restricted to two travel lanes in each direction, eastbound and westbound.

Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction, the city said.

Cheyenne Avenue and Summerlin Parkway are recommended as alternate routes.

Primary work activities consisting of milling and repaving will take about two weeks within the eight-week schedule, subject to equipment availability.

Following the paving, the utilities/manholes will be raised to be flush with the new pavement.

Preliminary work was completed last spring, including improvements to the sidewalk areas to meet federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

The current work consists of full-depth pavement removal and reconstruction, thin lift overlay, installation of new traffic delineations, bike lanes, and a pedestrian flasher at the intersection of Ridgemoore Street with Lake Mead Boulevard.

The $800,000 project is funded by the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission’s Fuel Revenue Indexing tax.

Skye Canyon Parkway ramp closure

The Skye Canyon Parkway ramp to U.S. Highway 95 northbound will shut to traffic overnight Monday.

The ramp will close from 5 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. Tuesday in northwest Las Vegas, the Department of Transportation announced last week.

The temporary closure is needed for asphalt paving as part of a $78 million, 6-mile-long widening and upgrade of U.S. 95 between Ann and Kyle Canyon roads that broke ground in January 2018.

The project calls for expanding the highway from four to six travel lanes from Durango Drive to Kyle Canyon Road, constructing Elkhorn Road carpool access ramps and building a diverging diamond interchange at Kyle Canyon Road, NDOT said.

Construction is scheduled to finish this summer.

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