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Pedestrian Deaths In Las Vegas Prompt Changes

 

Las Vegas is a hazardous place for pedestrians. The number of pedestrians killed has averaged about one a week over the last two years.

On Friday, the University of Nevada Las Vegas Safe Community Partnership hosted a forum for road engineers, law enforcers, advocates, emergency medical personnel, and people who walk busy boulevards to and from bus stops.

Partnership Director Erin Breen counts eight deaths on the roads in Clark County in the last three weeks, including five pedestrians. She notes that most accidents happen after dark.

Erin Breen told KNPR's State of Nevada that part of the problem is few streets offer convenient places to cross.

One of the most dangerous roads in the Las Vegas valley is getting safety upgrades to help with that part of the problem, Breen said. 

Sahara Avenue will be getting bigger sidewalks, more bike lanes and fewer driving lanes, she said. The idea is to make it less comfortable for drivers to go fast along that street.

There will also be crosswalks with flashing lights and pedestrian islands in the middle of the street.

Support comes from

Boulder Highway is another problem area where road design and human nature collide. 

"Boulder Highway is indicative of the problems in the valley," Breen said.

The street is called a highway and there are long stretches with no crosswalks, but Breen said people will still try to cross it. People are not going to walk a half mile out of their way to cross where it is safe, but will more likely take their chances.

Breen said education and enforcement are important to bringing down the number of pedestrian deaths. But she also says that getting a ticket is not enough because people can get traffic tickets moved down to just a $50 parking ticket.

"People have to know there are consequences for their behavior behind the wheel," Breen said

But road safety is a two-way street. Even when people who are walking follow all the laws, they must give their full attention to where they are walking because the driver may not, Breen said.

GUEST:

Erin Breen, director, UNLV’s Safe Community Partnership and UNLV's Traffic Safety Coalition.

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