Road questions, turkeys have leftovers in common

In honor of the Thanksgiving leftovers we’re all helping ourselves to this weekend, we present a smorgasbord of questions.

Something that’s always frustrating on the freeway — not that it’s the only frustrating thing on the freeway — is the jerk who speeds and gets where he’s going before the rest of us rule-followers. Ever see that guy in the giant pickup truck weaving in and out of lanes, flying by cars going the speed limit and using the high-occupancy vehicle lane?

That guy makes me mad. He makes reader Sherry mad, too.

“Every morning there are … single-person-occupied vehicles that travel the diamond lane. If that isn’t enough, there are also … these vehicles that use it for a passing lane. Did I miss the memo telling everyone that it is OK to use this lane during rush hour traffic?”

No memo missed, Sherry. Jeremie Elliott with Nevada Highway Patrol laid out the rules for us, plain and simple.

You must have two people in your vehicle (children or infants count!) You can’t use the HOV lane if you’re driving a recreational vehicle or pulling a camper. On U.S. Highway 95, you are allowed to cross the single solid white line to enter and exit the lane.

On the Interstate 15 express lanes, however, drivers are not allowed to cross the double white lines. Once you’re in that lane, you need to stay there until you either come across dotted lines to exit, or the express lane ends. And a note for clarity — you are allowed to drive in the express lanes if you’re the only occupant in the car.

The fine for violating some of these rules is $300.

So even if we don’t see that jerk getting pulled over, we can rest in knowing that when he does, he won’t be happy.

Switching gears from busy highways to a small residential neighborhood, Dave came across a street named after a small town in the Midwest.

“How can I find out when and why, and for whom Bethalto Street was named?” he wondered of a residential street near the Las Vegas Beltway and Sunset Road.

That answer takes us on a bit of a goose chase, starting with Clark County and trying to hunt down the neighborhood’s developer. Eventually, we end up chatting with Mark Hall-Patton, museum administrator for Clark County.

And Mark knows a lot about streets.

He told us that in a neighborhood, the developer submits a map with possible street names to a committee of emergency personnel. This includes firefighters, police, the Postal Service and Homeland Security, among others.

The committee, which meets at the Clark County Government Center, makes sure the street names won’t be duplicates or confusing to drivers trying to navigate them, Hall-Patton said.

It’s all about the logistics.

“There’s a lot more to the name once it gets on the ground,” Hall-Patton said. Many street names actually had to be changed as the Las Vegas Valley has developed, to avoid confusion.

Henderson, officially incorporated into Nevada in 1953, didn’t even have a full list of its street names until the 1970s, he said.

I don’t blame Henderson. That sounds like a tedious project, perfect for a couple of college interns.

That’s the long answer to your question, Dave.

The short answer is: the developer named Bethalto Street. I couldn’t track it down to ask why, but I took a quick peek at the other streets in that neighborhood, and they’re all named after towns in Illinois.

And before signing off today, we’ll address Cathy’s worry for her car’s hubcaps near McCarran International Airport and the Las Vegas Beltway.

“Are there any plans for Bermuda Road between Sunset and Hidden Well to be repaved anytime soon? For any of us that work in this area, it is killing our front ends. I have seen a few hub caps that have popped off in the street.”

There is good news and bad news here, Cathy. Yes, Clark County is aware that stretch of road is an issue. However, Dan Kulin with Clark County said it has to wait for funding to do anything about it.

So the project is in the books, sort of. In very light pencil. Until then, fasten those hubcaps tight and drive carefully.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, send an email to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Include your phone number.

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