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It’s summer in Nevada. Temperatures rise, sure. But kids are out of school. People are driving with the tops down. Water parks are bursting with people.
It can be fun.
And it can be deadly.
They call this time of year "the 100 deadliest days of summer." It’s a time when traffic deaths rise. Nationally, deaths by teen drivers increase 43 percent during this time of year.
In an effort to sound the alarm and get Nevada cities and communities to talk about it, get the word out and to get drivers to be more careful, Clark County Commissioner Mike Naft has organized a traffic summit next week.
Naft said the summit is a first because it is bringing people from across disciplines and people from around the region together under one roof to discuss the problem and find solutions.
"This is one of the rare opportunities, which I hope will happen more often, that Clark County is coming together with all of the municipalities. So, the mayors of the City of Henderson, the City of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Boulder City are all coming together in one room," he said, "I'm hoping at the culmination of this event, at the end of the day, each of the mayors are going to sign a pledge to commit to making this a priority."
Besides lawmakers and city officials, public works, city planning and engineers from several jurisdictions will be there to talk about solutions and Las Vegas Metro Police will be there to talk about the enforcement side of the issue.
Naft points out that most people don't know where the jurisdictional boundaries are in Southern Nevada.
"The way I look at it we're all responsible for the safety of our constituents and our neighbors," he said, "So getting together under one roof is so important because... the way we engineer our roads, the way we build our roads we all have to be on the same page."
It is the design of our roads that make them so dangerous, according to Regional Transportation Commission CEO Tina Quigley.
"We have some roads that... really scare me," she said, "St. Rose Parkway is one of those. Boulder Highway is one of those. Where we have these very wide roads with multiple lanes with posted speeds of up to 55 mph... and yet we also have pedestrian crosswalks and we have lights."
She said with that formula drivers get up to the speed limit and then have to abruptly stop at lighted intersections.
Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick recently attended a seminar with the City of Las Vegas and members of the RTC about traffic safety.
She believes some of the ideas floated at the seminar could work here.
"I think that we have an opportunity now as... we build new roads to start looking at our networking system and that's really how people travel in certain areas," she said.
She pointed to the one-way streets in downtown as a way to control traffic speed and traffic flow. She also pointed to a new ordinance in North Las Vegas that restricts the length of straight stretches of roads without a traffic light.
"There is a lot that we can do," she said, "We just really all have to sit down and start looking at some other options as we build new roads but some of the other roads as we're going back and repairing them are there some traffic claiming things that we can put in place."
She believes next week's forum is a first step to launching those collective efforts.
Mike Naft, Clark County Commissioner, District A; Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Clark County Commissioner, District B; Tina Quigley, CEO, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada
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