weather icon Mostly Clear

EDITORIAL: NDOT’s HOV fiasco is on life support

After almost two decades of failure, Nevada’s experiment with high-occupancy vehicle lanes may finally be on life support. Thank Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony for force-feeding state road officials a heap of common sense.

Last week, the Nevada Department of Transportation Board of Directors, which includes the lieutenant governor and Gov. Joe Lombardo, voted unanimously to open HOV lanes to all drivers during most hours of the day. They also moved forward with a study that should allow the state to eliminate the designation entirely within two years.

The move reverses nearly 20 years of NDOT policy that saw the agency spend billions on highway improvements in Southern Nevada only then to declare that certain newly built lanes, ramps and flyovers would be off limits to solo drivers. The stated goal was to improve area air quality by encouraging commuters to carpool, but the rules were nothing more than green virtue-signaling at the expense of taxpayers.

At no point did agency officials produce evidence that the HOV features were working as intended and pushing commuters to double-up. Instead, many such lanes were typically filled with scofflaws who knew the police had higher priorities. Yet NDOT continued to expand the HOV network in recent years and even imposed 24/7 restrictions under the assertion that limiting access to new freeway capacity would ease congestion in the general purpose lanes. Never mind that simply opening all lanes and highway features to all drivers would be a more efficient means of improving traffic flow.

The proposal approved last week will convert the entire 20-mile HOV network to general purpose use for all hours except 6 to 8 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. New projects, including the Tropicana interchange overhaul and the addition of a half-interchange at Interstate 15 and Harmon Avenue will fall under the new policy.

Lt. Gov. Anthony had hoped to “get rid of the HOV lanes,” but federal officials claim that will require an environmental impact statement. Rather than challenge that assertion — federal law didn’t require a study to impose the policy, nor does it stand in the way of drastically curtailing the HOV hours — the NDOT board opted to jump through the hoops with the goal of ultimately ending the restrictions.

The HOV policy was imposed arbitrarily and did nothing to improve air quality, increase car-pooling or smooth daily travels for local drivers. The new rules will help ensure that Southern Nevada motorists have access to the highway improvements that their tax dollars helped fund. That’s a big step forward, and the lieutenant governor deserves credit for getting it done.

A story of reconciliation amidst division

I keep going into the week when it is time for me to write a column with an idea that I know I want to write about but events keep pushing that idea further out into the future.

Who did more for veterans?

Did President Joe Biden or President Donald Trump do more for America’s veterans? It all depends how one keeps score: Introduce laws? Pass laws? Do large things, or many small things? Important things, or things that were not so important?Below are two examples according to Military.com.

Holy smokes!

Two weeks ago on June 25, I received messages from panicked individuals at the Elks Lodge RV Park stating that the Boulder City Fire Department had been conducting a controlled burn that had gotten out of control.

July is PR Month

For nearly 40 years, the nation has celebrated Park and Recreation Month in July to promote building strong, vibrant, and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation.

July 4 safety and awareness checklist

As we celebrate our great nation’s birthday, let’s run down this safety and awareness checklist so we can have a blast this 4th… but only the good kind.

“Be Kind, Be Boulder” this Fourth of July

Happy Birthday, America! Today, we celebrate an act of autonomy and sovereignty that happened in 1776, nearly 250 years ago: the Founding Fathers signing of the Declaration of Independence established this great nation. (It would be another 155 years before Boulder City’s founders arrived to construct Hoover Dam!)

Ensuring fire safety at Lake Mead

At Lake Mead National Recreation Area, our mission extends beyond preserving the natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

Independence Day in Boulder City

I was elected to the Boulder City council long ago. Believe me, there were more exciting events that occurred during city council meetings in the mid-to-late 1980s than there are at present. We had Skokie Lennon who arrived in the council meetings while standing at the back of the room. When he had something to say he would erupt with the statement “can you hear me?” Of course we could since he was the loudest person in the room. He would say what he had to say and then leave.

Nothing to fear

A June 13 letter by Norma Vally claimed Pride Month in Boulder City is an example of identity politics that will cause divisiveness in our safe, kind, and welcoming town. I cannot disagree more.

Save me some confetti eggs

In last week’s edition, I wrote a preview of the upcoming July 4 celebration and described Boulder City’s biggest day of the year as if a Norman Rockwell painting had come alive and jumped off the canvas. I had a few people praise me for that description, saying it’s the perfect way to do so.