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John L. Smith On Red-Light Runners And Light Rail

Gordon Joly/Flickr

Road safety takes precedence this time of year as school starts again and the roads are filled with buses and busy parents. School zones and sidewalks are full of children.

The state is now looking at trying to make roads safer by cracking down on red-light runners. 

KNPR News contributor John L. Smith points out that running a red light is one of those sins that everyone does and is it really fair to punish someone for every time they sin?

In addition, there is the privacy issue and the libertarian view of too much government invading our lives.

“There are a lot of critics out there of it," he said, "Las Vegas, even more than many southwestern metropolitan areas, is a pretty violent place to drive on the street.”

He said other cities are known for having courteous drivers and Las Vegas is not one of them.

“There are probably pretty good reasons to want to try to push this through whether it can beat the politics at the Legislature is another question,” he said.

To him, a better solution to the city's traffic problems is slowing down traffic speeds with increased enforcement and slower speed limits.

“Perhaps it’s time to rethink the whole system and slow the traffic down. That’s the other issue,” he said.

But he pointed out that slower speeds are never really discussed because people want to get to where they're going as fast as possible. 


But that's not the only transportation news. The Regional Transportation Commissions says revenue from buses that travel up and down the Strip is down by millions of dollars. 

The RTC blames ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. Could that development hurt plans for a light rail system along Maryland Parkway?

“It’s possible that that will feed into it, that that will be one of the things that delays it for another few years or another decade," he said.

He said that to have a successful light rail system in Southern Nevada we need a larger population and feeder communities that would use the rail system on a regular basis.

Smith doesn't see Las Vegas having those items just yet.

He also said there are a lot of factors that make public transportation difficult in Las Vegas. For starters, there is usually plenty of free parking or parking for a small fee. People don't need public transportation if they know they can get a parking spot for free.

In addition, he believes the public bus system has struggled to keep up with the growth of the community and as the city pushes to the edges it is becoming even more difficult.

John L. Smith, contributor

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.