No matter how many lanes they add to highways in Las Vegas, commuters almost always find themselves in traffic tie-ups going to and from work.
And if you actually try to drive from one end of the Las Vegas Strip to the other, well, you have lived the very definition of frustration.
Traffic issues are such a problem, such an over-riding concern with Las Vegas Valley residents, the Las Vegas Review-Journal dedicates a reporter who writes about nothing but transportation issues.
There is also a recognition by transportation officials that as Las Vegas once again begins to grow, new innovations, new remedies have to be tried.
Tina Quigley, the general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission, unveiled a draft plan last week full of ideas on how to fix some of the city’s transportation issues.
The proposal gained attention because of one suggestion of putting light-rail underneath the Las Vegas Strip, but there is more to it.
Quigley told KNPR’s State of Nevada that the proposal is a comprehensive effort started two years ago to make sure Las Vegas stayed competitive with other global destinations.
The plan included input from several entities from cab companies to McCarran International Airport.
“What’s really neat is the group as a whole recognizes that there is a sense of urgency. There is a need to do something,” Quigley said.
Greg Gilbert is legal counsel for the RTC. He said the suggestions are really from the people involved in the economy of the Strip, not from consultants.
Some of the suggestions include extending the monorail, creating a high-speed rail station at I-15 and Russell Road and making a pedestrian roundabout which allows people on foot access around Sahara Avenue and the Strip without disrupting traffic.
Gilbert said a growing part of Las Vegas business is for big events and that has to be factored into any plan.
“As Las Vegas becomes more oriented to large events that we probably as a community are going have to be better at understanding how the Strip functions during those large events,” Gilbert said.
Jeremy Aguero with Applied Analysis said solutions to gridlock in the resort corridor are a necessity.
“We don’t have the choice to do nothing,” Aguero said. “We need to start having the conversations now. These things take a long time to plan.”
He said transportation needs to be addressed like a master-planned community with the understanding that every piece impacts the other.
Rick Velotta is the transportation columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal mentioned earlier. He agrees with Aguero that the valley can’t afford to ignore traffic problems in the ‘core area.’
And while there are other transportation needs in other parts of the valley that need to be addressed, the traffic in the resort corridor is “the most pressing need right now, “ Velotta said.
Quigley pointed out that the draft proposal is just that a draft proposal and there is a lot of conversations left to do, especially about the cost of any projects.
However, when she talked to her counterparts in other cities that have tackled similar issues, they all tell her that starting the conversation about solutions is one of the most important steps.
“We have the opportunity to talk about how we make this Las Vegas 2.0,” Quigley said.
Rick Velotta, transportation columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Tina Quigley, general manager, Regional Transportation Commission; Greg Gilbert, legal counsel, Regional Transportation Commission; Jeremy Aguero, Applied Analysis