Crashes Raise Questions about Installing Lights, Crosswalks - 8 News NOW

Crashes Raise Questions about Installing Lights, Crosswalks

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LAS VEGAS -- The recent fatal car crashes are prompting questions about how difficult is it to get a traffic light or crosswalk installed along a busy road.

A Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman says anytime a citizen asks for a traffic light or signal, the department looks into the matter.

A crosswalk a Decatur Boulevard and Vegas Drive is an example of a complaint moving forward. People expressed concerns about the area being dangerous to cross, and now a crosswalk is in place.

However, for one woman, the crosswalk was too late. Doris Stoehr was passionate about getting the crosswalk.

After the safety measure was approved but before it was installed earlier this year, Stoehr was killed crossing the street.

Gene Fontenot lives in the nearby senior housing complex.

"I felt like it was just what she had complained about. That somebody gone get hurt or get killed. And it happened to her," Fontenot said. "They should have done something about it way before she lost her life."

It can be a lengthy process to get a traffic light or crosswalk installed.

"We are consistent, when we do receive requests for inquiries to look into something," Damon Hodge with NDOT said.

Hodge says there are eight to nine different factors which help decide whether a traffic light is needed, like how many pedestrians cross the street, how many crashes there have been, and more.

"If a study reveals that one of those metrics is met, then you can get a signal installed," Hodge said.

For a crosswalk, engineers look at factors like the number of lanes, the speed limit, and lighting. The area Doris Stoehr was concerned about passed the test.

"This is a senior citizen community, and the bank is right across the street. The bus stop is across the street a lot of people use that," Fontenot said.

Hodge wouldn't say whether a fatal accident could speed up NDOT'S lengthy decision making process but he offered this.

"We take every public inquiry about what we're doing on our highways and our roads very seriously and we don't put it to the side and we will address this issue," Hodge said.

NDOT says the cost of installing traffic safety measures can vary widely, from $500 to paint stripes on a roadway to $250,000 to install a traffic light.

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