I-Team: Grassroots Efforts to Make Roads Less Deadly - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Grassroots Efforts to Make Roads Less Deadly

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Todd Strasser holds a sign asking people to sign his petition to get a four-way stop. Todd Strasser holds a sign asking people to sign his petition to get a four-way stop.
The community pulled together to raise money for warning signs at the crosswalk where she was killed. The community pulled together to raise money for warning signs at the crosswalk where she was killed.

LAS VEGAS -- Judges and police officers are paid to keep the community safe. But what about the neighbors who fundraise to get crosswalk signs at their intersections? Do grassroots efforts work?

There have been several grassroots efforts around the community to make neighborhoods safer for drivers and pedestrians.

Todd Strasser stands watch in his northwest Las Vegas neighborhood. In March, his stepson was hit and killed by a car. He has faith that enough people will take notice, slow down, and demand action.

"I made a promise to him that I would not stop until I got something done here. I could be here for months but I'm not going to leave until it's finished," Strasser said.

Sometimes entire neighborhoods stand up to road carnage. After 6-year-old Mia Decker died at a crosswalk next to a North Las Vegas park, families living nearby raised $5,000 for their own warning signs.

"It makes me wanna cry. We've done everything in our power that we can do short of buying everything ourselves," said Michelle Terry, Mia Decker's mother.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak says there truly is strength in numbers when it comes to demanding local leaders improve traffic safety.

"When you get one person doing it on this corner and you get 17 people on this one and there's a petition signed and they've gone through the school PTA and the principal is calling. You have to rate these issues. You have to rank them, so to speak. We'll get to them. It's just a matter of how quickly you can get to them," Sisolak said.

Erin Breen is one person in Nevada that gets Las Vegas leaders to sit down and listen. Everyone from police officers, to judges, to doctors, hash out ideas to fix the spike in traffic and pedestrian deaths. As the head of UNLV's Safe Community Partnership, Breen has one singular goal in mind.

"You heard people mumble over and over today, you can't fix stupid. I think that is frustration. Why should we care? You can't fix stupid. It's easy for us to not put ourselves in their place," Breen said.

Perhaps the only saving grace is that Las Vegas learns from its lessons. Racism, labor strife, and organized crime were issues the city dealt with and become stronger for it. Those issues happened when Las Vegas was a younger city. How can the behavior of a city with 2 million people change?

Experts say, start early. It's telling that since 2008, teen driving deaths have plummeted due in part to educational outreach. Teens get the message of safe driving but why don't adults? Nobody the I-Team talked to could come up with a clear reason. The bottom line is drivers and pedestrians need to look out for each other and people need to speak up.

Strasser spoke up after his stepson's death and now is getting action. There is a review underway to see if the intersection warrants another stop sign.

Here are phone numbers and an email to contact the public works departments.

• Clark County 455-6000 or email intheworks@clarkcountynv.gov

• Las Vegas 229-6276

• Henderson 267-3000

• North Las Vegas 633-1264

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