Regional Boards > Pacific Southwest

Reimagine Boulder Highway


RTC has a project page for a major safety and mobility improvement program for the Boulder Highway corridor, covering Charleston Boulevard to Wagon Wheel Drive:

The complete project would add center-running transit lanes, a frontage road for business access, bicycle lanes, and green strips:

I'm not impressed. It might work between Charleston and the Desert Inn, but not beyond that. This is urbanist overkill in an area that won't be designed for urban living ever. I'm not a fan of centerline transit in suburbia where too much traffic occurs on the main drag; putting it in the middle of Boulder Highway is, IMO, an awful idea and multiple pedestrian deaths waiting to happen. I'd probably just stop the improvements after Phase 1 though the linear park needs to be xeriscaped given the desert climate especially with the Colorado River's problems. (Seriously, did someone living in Florida plan this?) The buses can travel the planned outside lane in both directions with the Phase 1 bus lanes immediately converted into bicycle lanes.

The pictures don't show it, but I'm assuming the bicycle lanes allow both e-bikes and small golf carts. There should also be no pedestrians in the bike lanes as there are adjacent sidewalks. Frankly, I'd just place a new five-lane road down the middle with barrier-park separated bike and bus lanes going each way. Plant a series of Washington palms and some fast-growing bougainvillea (plant is near-indestructible in the desert) in the barrier parks and it'll even look more like LA. Doing all that would be much cheaper than this grandiose plan.

This is an absolute waste if I have seen one.

The Boulder Highway corridor isn't a dense urban area that needs some improved infrastructure.  It's a mix of casinos, suburban style neighborhoods and lots of low income "rent by the week or month" motels that serve as apartments.

There are lots of people walking around the area day and night, and most are drugged out.  Anyone that's been in the area would see this.

I could understand if it was within a mile or two of Downtown Las Vegas.  I know Fremont East came up from a rough area into a hip area.  If this was say 2 miles from that, yes I think it could help speed up the gentrification.  But all the way down here, no way.

Plus the casinos in the area are mostly set back and have large parking lots.  It's not like they are going to turn Boulder Strip into a walkable paradise like the Las Vegas strip with something like this.

When will Las Vegas Blvd in Downtown  and the Strip get dedicated bus lanes? Seem like it would be more useful there than in suburbia.

Might have to go look at the full report when I have time.

I do like that RTC is looking at some options for Boulder Highway. IIRC, that road had the highest vehicle-pedestrian crash rate (or fatality rate) in the state a few years ago, if not still. Having a frontage/access roadway separate from through traffic might be good in the long term. Boulder Highway is one of the roads where RTC runs express buses (I think it was the second or third express bus line they implemented), so bus lanes won't hurt.

With that said, I'm somewhat with skluth on the center-running bus lanes. They somewhat make sense when you're running only express buses, but I don't know that they are more accessible to pedestrians. You can have even more heat island effect waiting for a bus in summertime because the bus stop shelters will be completely surrounded by pavement, and in some cases they may be closer to passing cars even with protection.

I also don't think a green linear park would actually get constructed now. Given the recent tightening on water usage due to the prolonged drought (Vegas area has recently limited size of backyard pools, restricted new water features at businesses/casinos, and further limiting and/or restricting grass in residential backyards [turf in front yards has been prohibited in new home construction for about a decade now]), it seems unlikely that this would be approved. A greenbelt here would not provide any real recreational utility or any kind of tangible benefit other than "looking nice", which won't be worth the water usage.


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