Guest Post by Thomas Daly (ex Planning Commissioner)
Citizens concerned about the traffic safety situation (multiple fatalities in 2018) on Mt. Rose Hwy heard a report by representative of the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHOP) on 12/5/2018 in a public meeting on a variety of possible traffic safety improvements, but without a defined timeline, budget or commitment for doing so.
One of those improvements was to re-design existing or provide new acceleration/deceleration lanes at the intersections of Callahan Road and Mt. Rose Hwy and at Fawn Lane and Mt. Rose Hwy. Those intersection are set to see an increase of about 6,000 car trips per day when the Ascente development (~560 homes) is built out. That increase does not include other developments impacting traffic at those intersections, including the zoned for, but not yet at the tentative map stage, development at the end of Callahan Road (another 200-300 homes). Note that the approval for the Ascente development did not include this requirement, so any traffic safety improvements on Mt. Rose highway will be at state taxpayer expense.
The safety value of long downhill deceleration lanes has been proven at the intersection of Mt. Rose Hwy and Edmonton Drive. On Wednesday 1/23/2019 @0745 (school day) backed up traffic approaching the Galena High School and new Doral Academy stretched up Butch Cassidy, continued north on Edmonton and then west onto Mt. Rose Hwy. That condition is routine on school days at that time of day but has been made worse by the traffic attempting to reach the newly opened Doral Academy.
But unlike in previous years the backed up traffic on Mt. Rose highway was not in the traffic lane, but rather was in the new elongated deceleration lane, built as a part of the Symphony Ranch (aka ‘Colina Rosa’) development (94 yet to be occupied homes). On that morning traffic on the highway proceeded at the normal pace unimpeded by those turning right from the deceleration lane onto Edmonton.
Know, however, that this deceleration lane was not offered by the initial Colina Rosa developer nor was it recommended, much less required, by the County Planning Department, nor by NDOT. Over the objections of the developer and County Planning Department the County Planning Commission, with the strong support of the adjacent Rolling Hills community members, voted to require this safety improvement as a ‘required condition of approval’ for the then Colina Rosa housing development. This was an obvious common-sense traffic safety solution that is now working well. I was pleased to have voted to do so as a then Planning Commissioner.
Let’s hope NDOT will take notice and proceed expeditiously to implement this solution as per their traffic safety study for other intersections in the Mt. Rose corridor and that members of the County Planning Commission recognize that they may be the only ones looking out for you.
Thomas Daly MSc., Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Estates at Mt. Rose