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Commissioner Michael Naft Invites the Community to a Transportation Safety Forum

On Thursday, June 20th people from across Clark County gathered at the Tam Alumni Center on the campus of UNLV. They came together to learn more about potential solutions to the traffic safety problems we face in our community.

Most of the attendees spent their morning pouring over crash aftermath data presented by experts from Las Vegas Metro and Nevada Department of Public Safety. The results of the presentations left little doubt that we have critical  problems with people on foot, people who speed and people who make bad decisions.

Dr. William Sousa from UNLV’s Criminal Justice Program took the unique approach of showing how we can analyze crash data much like we analyze crime data. He went on to show if we tweak the outlook, we can show that intersections can have some of the same dynamics as criminals. Much like a small number of criminals commit a high number of crimes, in our valley there are a handful of  intersections that are responsible for far too many of the most critical outcomes to crashes.

Next came the first of two panel discussions. The first panel was entitled “How did we get here?” and was presented by the RTC of Southern Nevada, the Nevada Department of Transportation and Clark County Traffic Management. Many great points were made, most importantly that roads have catered to vehicles since the end of WWII, and Clark County was built almost completely post WWII. In the past decade much has been done to improve safety for all road users, but all agreed we could do more.

The title of the second panel discussion was “What more can be done?”. This group included comments from the Director of the Mendenhall Center at UNLV, the Planning Director for Clark County and the Director of UNLV’s Vulnerable Road Users Project. This panel also took a hard look at how to drive down critical and fatal numbers community wide. The conversation covered how our roads are designed, who they are designed for and how fast drivers are comfortable going.

In our community less than 5 percent of all road users are made up of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. However, it’s shocking to realize that those same 5 percent make up more than 50 percent of our total fatalities! This number is far higher than most other urban cities in our country.

One of the highlights of the day was having each of the respective city and county  leaders address how these statistics are affecting the people they serve. Another highlight was hearing how these same leaders are planning to work together to move in a positive direction to address this unacceptable trend of fatalities and injuries.

Then Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Mayor Debra March, County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Mayor Joh Lee all signed a huge pledge to reinforce their commitment to the effort.

Commissioner Naft ended the summit by challenging all the leaders and those in attendance to make it safer for ALL people to move from place to place in our community!

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