Cyclists say Charleston crossing at 215 Beltway has dangerous design

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The recent crash that killed five bicyclists is putting other safety concerns in the spotlight.

One is a bike path that crosses the intersection of Charleston Boulevard and the 215 Beltway.

Lots of bicyclists use the 215-West Beltway Trail.

“At least four times a week,” said Alan Snel, an avid cyclist.

Jared Fisher of Las Vegas Cyclery echoed, “Ride the 215 expressway bike path quite often.”

A paved path adjacent to the highway along the city’s western border provides an ideal recreation spot. While many enjoy the trail, Snel and Fisher take issue with the design at the 215 and Charleston intersection.

“When you’re heading south on this trail, the trail leads you right into right turning traffic,” Snel said.

“These cars are turning right. They’re looking left,” Fisher pointed out. “You’re trying to cross the road, they’re not looking at you.”

That causes some to fear even attempting to continue on to the path on the south side of Charleston — which has a utility pole at the curb cut. The pole was there before the Western Beltway Trail was built, according to the City of Las Vegas.

City spokesman Jace Radke said cyclists are expected to dismount and cross Charleston as pedestrians in the crosswalk.

“I feel like I’m playing frogger with my life,” said cyclist Jen Hanks.

Safety remains a big concern for cyclists after the crash on U.S. 95 last week. Five cyclists died in that crash.

The tragedy now highlights other problems riders face in the valley.

“We need to use this momentum,” Fisher said. “The only thing that will hurt us now is time. So let’s use this time to get everybody at the table to start making these changes.”

Radke said the intersection meets current safety requirements, and the long-term plan is to build a trail bridge here. “We expect that either the pole will be moved or the path and sidewalk will be adjusted when intersection upgrades are done,” according to the Radke.

But the Nevada Department of Transportation says there are no immediate plans to upgrade the intersection.

“The cycling path falls under the purview of The Howard Hughes Corporation – developers of Summerlin,” said NDOT spokesman Tony Illia. “The last upgrade of that area entailed coordination between Howard Hughes Corporation, Clark County, NDOT and the City of Las Vegas.” All those groups would likely be involved in further upgrades. 

The last upgrade by NDOT at that intersection was offramp restriping in 2017.

Snel and others want something done.

“We can have some signage here warning motorists to watch out for bicyclists,” he said.

“We put signs up with flashing lights for deer. Why can’t we put up flashing lights for cyclists?” Fisher asked.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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