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Special Report | Pedestrian Deaths : Fading Crosswalks | P1

Reported by: John Treanor
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Updated: 2/13 7:30 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Once every three days someone dies on a road in Clark County. Often the victim is hit by a car while crossing the street.

This startling statistic held true this week.

On Tuesday, a truck turning left on Flamingo near the Linq project hit a man visiting from the United Kingdom as he was walking in a marked crosswalk.

That man remains hospitalized in critical condition.

On Sunday morning, a 39-year-old man died after being struck by a car near Pebble and Las Vegas Boulevard. He was also crossing the street in a marked crosswalk.

If you drive those same streets, you've probably seen how hard it is to see our crosswalks.

That’s the subject of our first look at pedestrian safety in a special report -- Pedestrian Deaths: Fading Crosswalks.

There is plenty of debate about the dozens of pedestrian deaths every year.

There have been three victims since we started this special report just last week.

And while everyone agrees there is a problem, the debate about causes appears to be endless.

“Do we have an infrastructure problem? We absolutely have an infrastructure problem," said State senator Mark Menendo who sits on the Traffic Safety Coalition and puts it bluntly.

Drivers don't have to drive far or for very long to see he may be right. The crosswalks cannot be clearly seen.

While we were shooting video, we couldn’t help notice Brad Fernandez dodging cars across Maryland Parkway. While he admits it seems lazy, there’s another reason he does it.

“Sometimes there won't be no line, that’s how faded it is -- you don’t see no lines at all, you just see the light,” Fernandez said.

If we know there’s a problem, why not fix it?

News 3 talked to Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman who is a traffic safety advocate. She says it comes down to money.

“Again, that’s money and were just beginning to ease our way out of this horrific recession," Goodman said.

Have we cut funding from crosswalk repairs? It’s hard to track.

When we asked for the numbers, the mayor’s office pointed out that funding is spread out through departments like traffic engineering, public works, and operations and maintenance.

They do point to a capital improvement project, which includes crosswalks and a number (702) 229-6327 to call to report a crosswalk needing attention.

“We have everything in the city on a cycle,” said Mayor Goodman. “So unless there is some critical that minute issue we have to deal with, where we re-stripe is preplanned.”

But crosswalks don't seem to be an emergency.

During the past few weeks, News 3 has talked to police, the mayor, and traffic safety advocates.

All of them have a different understanding of the problem.

Are fading crosswalks or inattentive pedestrians at fault? Is it the fault drivers, poor lighting, or a combination of the above?

Without a consensus, change is slow to come.

“That happened last session, we had a coalition that worked on a bill for years and one house past it and one house just totally gutted it OK time to move on let’s get more people engaged,” Menendo said.

As state Senator Menendo was quick to point out, change has to happen, adding that if the cities do not have money, perhaps it’s time for the state to step up.

“”What exactly is our priority we all know education is but I’ll tell you public safety is high on the list at least what I hear in my district,” he said.

One of those improvements the mayor has talked about is a new crosswalk that allows the pedestrian to activate a light that alerts drivers to pedestrians crossing. The city has 18 such crosswalks in place or planned across the city.

Will there be more? No one is sure.

This will obviously help, they hope, but the mayor, the senator, and the police all tell us people don't use crosswalks.
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