Traffic Jam

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

Steve Bunnell, the Reno Associate Civil Engineer says that doesn't mean they're unsafe just not efficient.
Traffic engineers with Reno and Sparks say...they're NOT being given enough money in their budgets to keep up with growth. The report says a city the size of Reno should have 200 lights. It has 230. But, staffing and maintenance are well below what they should be.
For example, in Reno traffic lights at Plumb and 395, South Virginia and I-80, and Moana and 395 are causing congestion.
Same goes for Sparks. Pyramid Way and McCarran, Prater Way and McCarran, and Baring Boulevard and Sparks Boulevards, are the biggest problem intersections.
For pedestrians, the timing on the walk signal, at Nichols Boulevard, and at Lincoln Way are causing them headaches.
Although traffic signals aren't the cause of ALL accidents. N-DOT says they contributed to some of the crashes...at the highest accident locations in Northern Nevada.
Intersections like Pyramid & McCarran, which had problems with their traffic lights, also had the most crashes from 2000 to 2003.
Followed by Plumb & Kietzke, Prater Way and McCarran, South Virginia & McCarran, and Baring & Sparks Boulevards.
Keep in mind...these are also the most highly traveled intersections in Washoe County.
To fix the problem, a consultant will go out and look at traffic signals in the main corridors of Reno and Sparks. The consultant with examine about 150 traffic lights in some of the problem intersections.
Engineers will re-time those signals...to see if they're working properly. Those that aren't...may have to be fixed. Keep in mind, it's roughly 250 to 500-thousand dollars to put in a new traffic light. In cities, like Reno and Sparks, that could be the whole annual budget for signal management and maintenance. Public Works says the plan would then be to reprogram the signals rather than buy new ones.
Some of the lights are 50-years old, and may need to be replaced.
If you have a problem in your neighborhood, engineers recommend letting your city officials know.
The regional signal coordination project should start this summer.


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