A new traffic light is being installed on North Virginia in Reno to curb the rash of Northern Nevada pedestrian accidents that plagued that strip of road in 2014. Representatives from the State of Nevada Transportation Department released a statement saying construction is set to begin on the new pedestrian safety traffic light in the northern part of Reno, commonly known as The Biggest Little City. Construction begins on the new traffic signal on the 11th of May, a Monday. Currently at the intersection, there is a flashing signal warning motorists of pedestrians. The new traffic light instead will enable those who wish to cross the street to press a button that will enable a traffic light that will stop cars and trucks for people to cross the street safely. Additional improvements are planned including the installation of a new concrete barrier along the roadside to make turns safer. An additional improvement includes a bus station being moved to the north to allow for the installation of the barrier. The new road construction will costs Nevada taxpayers over $215,000 but will reduce deaths of people crossing Northern Virginia.
The State of Nevada has budgeted nearly $10 million for road construction in the name of pedestrian safety. The budgeted money is for those improvements in Washoe or Clark county – two counties that have seen their continued urbanization result in pedestrian deaths in Northern Nevada or Southern Nevada. For an example, already 20 people have already died in 2015 in Clark County and Washoe County pedestrian pedestrian accidents. The twenty deaths are the same as last years toll by this part of the year. Yearly totals since 2009 have jumped from approximately 35 pedestrian deaths a year to 68 pedestrian deaths a year.
The last Reno pedestrian accident that happened in front of the casino was just before Christmas last year. At the time, a 54-year old man was killed trying to cross the street. The Reno resident’s name was Vincent Yowell. the accident which happened at approximately 4:30 in the morning on December 22, happened when Mr. Yowell was hit by two cars heading up the four lane road. At first, neither of the cars that had hit and killed Mr. Yowell stopped at the accident, but days later, after seeing stories about the death in local news outlets, a 53-year old Reno man approached police and informed them he was driving in the area at the time of the accident and thought he had struck a large animal.