Of Cars And Pedestrians in Clark County
By Emily Guilfoil
Last week in Clark County, Nevada, a Boom Town in Patchwork Nation, many of the big stories focused on pedestrian road safety. According the Las Vegas Sun, there has been a recent uptick in deadly accidents befalling pedestrians. In Las Vegas during the past two weeks, four pedestrians had died and seven had been injured. The most viewed story on the Sun’s website was a story was about a woman hit by a UPS truck. This pedestrian was 69 years old and was just one victim of many recent accidents in Clark County. Another popular story from this week was about a 32-year-old man who was killed last Sunday. This problem seems to be a recurring issue in Clark County. Other fatalities included a trick-or-treater who was hit by a car and young girl who was hit by a bus. A recent study claimed that Las Vegas is one of the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians.
Members of the Clark County community have expressed concern with the unsafe road conditions in their area. As a response to these accidents, a local television news station has started a new Crosswalk Danger Campaign. They ask community members to sign a pledge. This pledge says they, as drivers, will pay attention and slow down at crosswalks. The drives are also asked to respect pedestrians and recognize the right of way. The pledge also asks pedestrians to pay attention as well.
Local lawmakers are also trying to do something about what many feel is an increasingly dangerous situation. The mayor of Las Vegas publicly asked the drivers of the city to pay closer attention to the roads. City leaders are also in the process at looking at ways to improve the crosswalks and intersections that have been hazardous.
Another article went in-depth on a study currently being conducted at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. This study involves using simulator to research how drivers react to things that distract them on the road. Eventually, the driving simulator will include weather and pedestrians, but it is in the early stages at the moment.
One columnist thought part of the issue was that the developers who built the roads did not have pedestrians in mind during the design process. He thought that making changes to the roads in Clark County was the best solution. He quoted a representative from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, who made suggestions such as widening the sidewalks, using roundabouts, making tighter turns, and using bricks to replace pavement.
While every community is unique, these kinds of traffic problems offend tend to be bigger issues in Patchwork Nation’s Boom Town communities, where growth often happened quickly and was built around more exurban, car-centered lifestyles.
Regardless of the solution, everyone in Clark County appears to agree that, as the death toll rises, pedestrian safety is rapidly becoming an important community issue. At the moment, this problem seems to take precedence over the tumultuous housing market in Las Vegas, a dire lack of jobs, and the upcoming elections. It seems that the members of this community would rather focus on finding a way to have a safe walk home.