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Why are bike paths blocked?

Spring is here and judging by the number of biking-related questions in my e-mail file residents are apparently celebrating by taking bike rides. We’ve addressed a handful of questions about the valley’s trails and designated bike lanes. Here’s the first one from Eric in Henderson:

I regularly bike along the path that starts at Warm Springs and Paradise roads and runs uninterrupted to St. Rose Parkway and the Las Vegas Beltway. This is a great path, with the only downsides being the road crossings. However, just east of St. Rose there is a locked gate blocking the bike path from continuing onto Village View Drive and into the north side of the District.

I understand that this may have been closed while St. Rose was under construction, but that has been completed for months now.

There is an access gate right along Village View that is to allow crews to get to the flood control channel and sewer system for maintenance, according to the city of Henderson’s Kathleen Richards. The reason the city doesn’t allow residents to go along that stretch is two-fold. It is considered a safety hazard until the city makes improvements to alleviate the dangers, which it doesn’t have funding to do at this time. Also Village View is a private street and the city would have to address rights-of-way issues before opening it up for public use.

A follow-up question from Eric: East of Green Valley Parkway, the path continues towards Valle Verde, but that also has a locked gate. Can you please find out why these paths are blocked off from pedestrian traffic? Would love to see the path run all the way uninterrupted to the 515 (U.S. 95), which looks like it was the designer’s intention (the path picks up on the other side of Stephanie).

The city has the same problem with this segment in that this is an access area for flood control and sewer. In this case, the city offers an alternative. Richards said the Amaragosa power line easement is located just south from St. Rose to Coronado Center. The city is completing connections along with other work including interpretive signs on the Amaragosa trail and expects it to be a popular route when it is finished.

“We continue to work toward connectivity as a major goal, and will complete sections of trail as funding becomes available,” Richards said.

In exchange for our answering his questions and you taking the time to read it, Eric has a helpful tool he’d like to offer to all his fellow bicyclists: Check out http://maps.google.com/biking.

And this from Howard: The numerous stop lights in Summerlin do not recognize the presence of a biker at an intersection. Bikers are supposed to observe all Nevada driving rules, but to do so means that the biker must wait at a red-lighted intersection until a vehicle traveling in their direction comes along to trip the signal and change the light to green. In the absence of a such vehicle the biker is left to wait indefinitely or to proceed through the intersection against the red light.

How is a biker to resolve this dilemma and still bike legally?

That’s a good question Howard and a tough one to resolve. The folks who oversee the Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation — the agency that controls the synchronization of traffic signals throughout the valley — said that the stop lights do not detect bicyclists like yourself unfortunately. Bicyclists who have this problem at particular intersections can shoot me an e-mail and I can pass along the information to FAST. The agency said it will see about adjusting the signals. Now, understanding I haven’t been terribly helpful, I thought I would throw in Howard’s question to see if his fellow bicyclists out there had any ideas.

One last one from Howard: Many of Summerlin’s bike lanes, especially along Pavilion Center adjacent to the schools, are so rough and/or littered with rocks that the biker is forced to ride in the much smoother right-most travel lane instead. Why is the paving and maintenance standard so inferior in these bike lanes compared to the vehicle lanes?

You have to hand it to city of Las Vegas crews who actually went out to Pavilion Center to check out the situation and take photos. They didn’t see much litter but the rocks could be caused by parents who pull over to pick up students. The students or parents likely walk through the landscaping, knocking rocks and other debris into the gutter and bike lanes.

The city sweeps streets every two weeks and Pavilion Center actually is swept more often than that, according to the city. Maintenance and repair is done as needed but most times this is in travel lanes because of the higher rate of deterioration caused by vehicles. If you continue to have concerns, you can register them with the city’s Department of Field Operations at 229-2582. This is a recording machine, but clerks check the messages regularly.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Include your phone number.

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