EDITORIAL: Controlling city traffic

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By The Staff

Here’s an idea: Since the city is pondering weight restrictions along Seventh Street, let’s just restrict all heavy trucks to Interstate 25. And to slow traffic through our residential neighborhoods, let’s just reduce the speed limit everywhere to 10 mph — with speed bumps placed on every block to ensure travelers will abide by the reduced speed limit. From Grand to New Mexico avenues and Industrial Park to Dora Celeste drives, let’s just make everyone crawl through town in compact cars, so slowly that they will give up on reaching their destination and stop and shop instead. Such a plan will even encourage a healthier lifestyle, since walking will become about as fast as driving through town.

Of course we’re not serious. We not trying to be mean-spirited, but we do want to send a jolt through our community discussions regarding traffic-related issues in Las Vegas. In the last couple of years we’ve seen some pretty aggressive measures taken to slow and divert traffic, sometimes without regard for the big picture. We’ve seen several stop signs go up via the quiet request of New Town residents on Sixth, Seventh and Eighth streets, along with 20 mph signs place along one of the busiest through streets in town (Seventh). And now the traffic-control conversation has expanded to include weight limits along Seventh Street and lane reductions on Grand Avenue.

These efforts to limit, reduce, slow and redirect travelers are leaving by the wayside two central elements to traffic control — traffic flow and law enforcement.

We need to remember that traffic flow needs to be a central focus of directing traffic from one place to another. Thoroughfares, arterials and side streets each have their place in the overall need to move traffic at reasonably safe speeds through town.

As New Town residents are quick to point out, speeding certainly has been a problem in their neighborhood. But more than a traffic control issue, that’s an enforcement problem. Citations are needed more than stop signs.

We do, however, applaud the city and its residents who, this time, are presenting their ideas out in the open for the entire city to debate. We’ve said all along that a citywide discussion should have occurred before the stop signs were put up on Sixth, Seventh and Eighth, because diverting traffic from these streets has an effect on other neighborhoods in town. Ask the residents along New Mexico Avenue is that’s not so.

We also applaud the MainStreet folks who are taking a hard look at Grand Avenue. They’ve always done it openly, and their intentions are good.

But we all need to remember that Las Vegas will not become a better, safer and more profitable town if it is more difficult to navigate. Reasonable traffic laws, backed by consistent and persistent enforcement, are the best way to control traffic.