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Elderly & Disabled

Seniors in the Vegas Suburbs Have to Cross Merciless Streets

5:55 PM EDT on May 23, 2017

Seniors are crossing dangerous streets in suburban Las Vegas because the nearest crosswalk is just too far away for them. Image: KTNV-TV

Senior citizens in the sprawling Las Vegas suburb of Henderson want a safe way to cross the street. The city promises a fix is on the way, but the problem is far bigger than a single crossing.

Residents of the College Villas development, which provides affordable apartments for seniors, often walk to a nearby 7-11. But to get there, they have to cross College Drive, which has a 35 mph speed limit, plus two lanes of car traffic in each direction and turn lanes.

The nearest crosswalk is a quarter-mile walk. “I’ve talked to people with hip problems, knee problems, and they just don’t physically have what it takes to make that long trek," explains KTNV reporter David Schuman. “Many of them don’t have cars, so into the road they go.”

“We’ve got people in scooters and we’ve got people walking with walkers. And we need to get across to the only store that’s available close enough,” resident Nora Burns told KTNV. “They speed, and you have to run, okay, because they will hit you."

The walk is particularly dangerous for seniors returning home, since pedestrians cannot see cars approaching around the bend in the road. Residents want the city of Henderson to fix the road so it's safe for them to cross. “A crosswalk, a pedestrian light, these people will take anything to make their near-daily commute safer," Schuman said.

Streetsblog reached city officials and the property's management to discuss the situation. Seth Munoz, property manager for the Retirement Housing Foundation, which runs College Villas, said he's not aware of a problem.

"Honestly, we haven’t really had any issue. I haven’t had many complaints from residents crossing the street," Munoz told Streetsblog. "We have the main crossing at the light, you know. It’s not even a quarter-mile down the road." Munoz said he had not heard anything from the city about pedestrian safety along College Drive.

The city, meanwhile, said that a mid-block crosswalk with a flashing sign to alert motorists is in the works. "The project is in the final stages of design and will go out to bid this summer," said city spokesperson Kim Becker. "In the meantime, we are encouraging pedestrians to cross using the traffic signal at Boulder Highway."

Once the city installs a crosswalk, however, the problem is far from solved.

Like most roads in suburban America, College Drive is built to move cars quickly. From the start, it was not designed with people in mind. Blocks are long, lanes are wide, and crossings are few and far between. The development in the area doesn't help, either: Many buildings either face away from the road or are surrounded by parking lots.

It's a terrible place to walk, and yet, it's precisely where senior apartments are located, filled with people without cars who are most vulnerable when crossing the street. We have got to do better than this.

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