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Red Rock Transportation Planning Mtg - 02/16/12
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By BLM Red Rock
Feb 13, 2012

Climbers,

The Bureau of Land Management, Red Rock/Sloan Field Office will hold an open house on February 16, 2012 to encourage public participation for a transportation planning effort to reduce congestion on Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s 13-Mile Scenic Drive and its parking lots. Attendees will be asked provide feedback on individual strategies from the Transportation Feasibility Study and provide general comments on the upcoming environmental assessment.

Time: Open house from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. with short presentations and roundtable discussions at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Place: Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center. When entering the fee booth at the entrance of the 13-Mile Scenic Drive, please tell the attendant that you are attending the public meeting and you will not be required to pay the fee.

More Info: The comment period will open on February 16 and close on March 16, 2012. In addition to the open house, written comments may also be addressed to Lee Kirk, BLM Southern Nevada District Office, 4701 North Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, Nevada 89130, e-mailed to RRC_Transit_Study@blm.gov or faxed to 702-363-6779.

Additional information will be available, starting on February 16, at the following website: www.nv.blm.gov/redrockcanyon. If you have any questions please contact Lee Kirk at 702-515-5227.

Thanks,
Nick


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By John Hegyes
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 13, 2012
South of Windy Peak

Not sure if I can make it but if you could discuss the possibility of puttting a stripe down the middle of the loop road, making it two lanes (one way), that'd be great. And maybe put up a sign to the effect of "slow traffic use right lane", too?


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 13, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

With the 13 mile loop being entirely a one way road , it forces those users that are only planning on activities within the first three pullouts (1st pullout to Sandstone Quarry) to drive the whole loop out, causing some of the unnecessary congestion. There's been times I've seen people who may have had a limited curiousity of RRCNCA, at the first & second pullout, snapping a few pics, then after being satisfied (with seeing the pretty red rocks), proceed to drive the wrong way from the first couple of pullouts, just to make a quick escape back to the city. I'm wondering if it would be feasible to make the existing road a two- way, up until Sandstone Quarry.  

Another thought; as RRCCA is unable to provide drinking water sources within the 13mile loop, the use of shuttle buses, such as the ones they utilize in Zion, would not work. Unprepared folks unaccustomed to desert conditions could suffer dehydration, heat stroke, or worse out there. 

Anyway, thanks for posting, Nick.


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By BLM Red Rock
Feb 13, 2012

Thanks for your comments John and Gigette.

I will pass all comments from this post to Lee Kirk. I urge everyone to email official comments to Lee Kirk during the open comment period: 2/16/12 to 3/16/12. RRC_Transit_Study@blm.gov


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By Tyson Anderson
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 13, 2012
Rapping from the top of Cat in the hat

+1 on a two-way road up to the quarry

As a cyclist I disagree with John on the painted stripe because I think it would encourage drivers to go faster and leave no room for pedestrians and cyclists.


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By dnoB ekiM
Feb 13, 2012
Wonderstuff

+1. The study should look at the % of people who primarily only visit the first 3 pull-outs. That is probably well north of 50%. Making that section 2 way would reduce overall impact and congestion.

Great recommendation.

I will send an email on the 16th. I think many users will support this idea. Thanks for the info.


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By thedogfather
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 13, 2012

I agree making the road to sandstone two ways is the easiest and cheapest solution. One minor suggestion to speed the lines on weekends: if there are three booths open make the rightmost one for passes only.


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By Rob Man
From SLC UT
Feb 13, 2012
mountain sunset

I say,
1) paint the line down the middle ( divided traffic ) from Sandstone quarry back to main entrance and create an entry/ exit at the existing main entrance.
2) Add a lane that is designated for bicycles only from entry to sandstone quarry.
3)maintain the existing road condition from sandstone quarry to the existing exit.

I hate to say it but we could most likely use larger parking lots at all three pull outs, at least 1st and 2nd...

there you go my humble .02


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By sqwirll
From Las Vegas
Feb 14, 2012
Cool snow formation at the base.

I can't make the meeting, but I agree with making the road 2 ways until Sandstone Quarry. Like the Dogfather said, a designated pass holder lane would be cool. Also, some of the foliage along the sides of the road is pretty out of control. Some of it makes it very hard to see the runners and bikers.


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 14, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

With my observations of many people/tourists who have visited RR over the years, and from talking with quite a few of my non-outdoorsy friends who have visited RR, it seems like a large number of  the users are mainly interested in seeing the awesome "red rock" sandstone formations at the first two pullouts, and less interested with the rest of the park. This particular user group of RR tend to congest the parking areas at the first two pullouts at times, merely to get out to take pictures.  Since a high number of the tourists stop off at the visitor center, why not have a more tourist friendly (i.e. , very obvious)  interpretive trail (perhaps paved/ wheelchair accessible ) from the visitor center to the first pullout of "red rocks" so this user group can choose to leave their cars at the nice visitor center parking lot, instead of trying to squeeze in the already busy first pullouts. 
 
I bet a large number of these tourists will love to take that short, and beautiful interpretive hike (have many signs along the way explaining the flora, fauna, etc..) and a quite a few benches so folks could stop, rest, and take in the views intermittently.  During the busier months, maybe offer frequent educational ranger/or volunteer led hikes from the visitor center to those amazing red rocks at the first pullout, for their photo ops.  It might be good to add a couple of more outhouses there too.

Just another thought that I'll submit on the 16th.


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By JSH
Administrator
Feb 14, 2012
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

How about another section of two-way, from the current exit back to the Pine Creek pullout or so?

There are many people whose primary goal is the first three pullouts; but there are also many people whose primary goal is the last two or so, and it would be great if we didn't have to spend 30+ minutes in/making traffic at the first pullouts, to get there. I realize this raises complications with two entry points, but it is an idea.

The switchback section between Sandstone Quarry and the Springs really needs to be one-way, though, due to its limitations in visibility.


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 14, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

JSH wrote:
How about another section of two-way, from the current exit back to the Pine Creek pullout or so?


A great idea for us climbers and hikers , but it might encourage a high number of lost tourists to enter through there, then we'll really be screwed with increased congestion at the Oak Creek and Pine Creek parking areas- and it can encourage more thieve friendly opportunities for car break ins too, for those of us who leave our cars there for long periods. As it stands, most tourists don't know, or even pay attention to the dirt parking lot/rd. at Oak Creek, but they will if they start entering from the existing exit, as they will be searching for a quick place to pull over. Plus, think about the cost to erect more booths and staff it. ; )

Just my 2 cent. : )


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By John Hegyes
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 14, 2012
South of Windy Peak

I still am holding out for a two lane road, one-way around the loop. Maybe designate one lane for slow looky-loo tourists and an express lane for people who have a more time critical destination in mind.


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By NO MAS
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 14, 2012

BLM Red Rock wrote:
a transportation planning effort to reduce congestion on Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s 13-Mile Scenic Drive and its parking lots.


Unless all the parking lots (except maybe White Rock Springs and Oak Creek) are significantly enlarged how will it be possible to "reduce congestion" without restricting access by controlling/limiting the flow of vehicles?

Enlarging the parking lots should be the top priority.

If parking is not increased I fear we will eventually end up with an alternative that will seriously impact our access. Think Zion and the shuttle bus system.


My 2 cents.





edit: Instead of making all or part of the loop road two-way or one-way with two lanes I would rather see a new (and separate) one way exit road from the Sandstone Quarry area straight back to SR-159.

I realize this will probably never happen but it would make sense to be able to bail at three miles in instead of having to drive the entire loop just to get out.
Reduced congestion on the remaining 10 miles of loop road and parking lots. Reduced fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 14, 2012

John Hegyes wrote:
I still am holding out for a two lane road, one-way around the loop. Maybe designate one lane for slow looky-loo tourists and an express lane for people who have a more time critical destination in mind.


Unfortunately, the loop road currently isn't wide enough for this (by something like a few inches to a foot or two), and my guess is if the BLM wanted to go this route, EA and Public input would require a bike lane...which means an even wider road.

Hopefully, the two way option through the first three pullouts and bigger parking lots in key areas (Pine creek, Sandstone Quarry, Second pullout) will be implemented...


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By Jon O'Brien
From Nevada
Feb 14, 2012

I say widen the road, mark it w a passing lane, and install a bike and passenger lane. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Run a free shuttle that is informational and encourage first time visitors to use it to reduce emissions.

I,d love the two way rds for fastness but I think it,d be very dangerous.

My two cents. Thanks nick!


-Jon


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By Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Feb 14, 2012
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt Kuehl

Would it be possible to make the scenic loop anymore scenic? The scenery is good but more billboards advertising the indoor shooting range where you can shoot a machine gun would be great.

Since there does tend to be a considerable amount of folks who think the one way loop also means one lane, a line down the middle would be great at the bare minimum. Widening the road to protect the interests of cyclists & pedestrians in the case that a stripe does get painted down the middle of the road would also be a wise idea. I am just getting behind the folks who have made similar comments.


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 14, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

Besides the enormous cost of a shuttle bus system, having several park buses on the narrow loop road throughout the day will be a nightmare for other vehicles, and bicyclists. We should also consider that with the park shuttle buses educational talks, and bathroom stops (at our nasty, and too few outhouses within the loop-I'd rather use a wag bag!) it'll be slow going for the bus riders for that 14 miles, or so back to the visitor center. That amount of miles may not look like a big distance , but on a bus that's making several stops, it can be too much for folks.

It's a dry desert out there, there's no water available in the loop- is the BLM going to provide bottles of water on the buses, or make people buy it if they come unprepared? The buses will be hot, and stuffy on warm days because they won't be able to blast the A/C up the hilly loop road without overheating, or breaking down. Think about some of the poor folks that may be unsuspecting elderly, infants, or the disabled that may be stuck for a long period on those buses. There's very limited shade in Red Rock, unlike Zion that has huge shade trees (Cottonwoods), and water everywhere (for drinking, and a river running through the park if you need to dip in to get cool). NO, NO, NO to park shuttle buses in RRCNCA.

Cheers! : )


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 15, 2012

To my knowledge, the shuttle bus system was only considered viable if it was mandatory and only through the first three pullouts (the shuttles would return the short way).

That particular system would not only be viable but preferred, imho- the amount of traffic it would cut (anyone going to the first three pullouts) would be significant.


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 15, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

Whew, that was a scary thought; I feel better now.: )

Maybe it could work for the first three pullouts only- but still damned expensive, and unless the buses run frequently enough, water is still an issue for folks that don't know any better of desert conditions. Even waiting 10-15 minutes for a bus in this heat out here (even on a nice Spring day) can be dangerous for small children, and the elderly if they get themselves dehydrated. They'd have to provide adequate shade shelters at the bus stops, and covered picnic areas at the second pullout & Sandstone Quarry in the least.

Hopefully it doesn't get mandated.


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By dorseyec
Feb 15, 2012

Sounds like Vegas locals just don't want to give up their cars and be forced to ride a bus.

It makes sooooo much sense to have thousands of cars drive the exact same route a handful of buses could cover.... Water and shade are insurmountable barriers?


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 15, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

It can sound like that Dorsey, but many of us locals actually carpool in from town as much as we can, and are concerned as much as you are about the ill effects of pollution in the area. It doesn't make sense to drop folks (who might not be as strong, or as healthy as you) in the middle of the desert. Locals do know a thing or two about that. ; )

Hopefully making the road to Sandstone Quarry a two-way will cut out a lot of the cars from the remainder of the park.

Have a good day.

Damnit, Dorsey, you keep adding to your post! : )


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By thedogfather
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 15, 2012

Considering the budget of most government agencies, the ideas most likely to get adopted are the ones that don't require building much. On that note, two ways to sandstone would be the cheapest at this juncture. The fact that BLM used our labor for trail maintenance shows that they are probably not ready to outlay a lot of money on this project. It will be much slower to sandstone if they go two ways without widening because of the need to give cyclists and runners some room. Cyclist must be given full access to the right lane for those three miles.

Ideally, a pass through road from sandstone direct to Pine Creek would allow access quickly to the main areas without new entrance gates.


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By Mark Limage
Feb 15, 2012

The 13 Mile Loop Road that "services" the RRNCA is many things, very few of which are good. It may be interesting to see what comes out of this planning meeting, and the many meetings to follow. Most of us who have witnessed and experienced the BLM's improvements over the years have become extremely doubtful and cynical about the BLM's ability to improve the 13 mile loop road.

For most of us, to "improve" the 13 mile loop road would be to make it more efficient and much safer.

The loop road is very inefficient. It is a waste of tire rubber, brake pads, gasoline, and time. There is no $ amount you could put on this. I'd be willing to bet that most people would rather pay a bit more (increased fees) for two way traffic between the fee booth and Sandstone Quarry as well as two way traffic between the exit and Pine Creek.

The loop road is dangerous. Over the years, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists have all been seriously and even fatally injured on the loop road as a result of inadequate signage and dangerously blind curves, many of which have vegetation growing well into the roadway. Why is it that there are no signs that educate and inform the bewildered herd as they commence their 13 miles of windshield tourism? Why is there no broken white line down the middle of the road to indicate that it is a two lane road. There is nothing. Although I now see a brand new Desert Tortoise sign at the beginning of the loop road. It's a very pretty sign, no doubt expensive. Does it really need to be there for the 4-5 months the tortoises hibernate? Maybe a Tarantula sign is warranted up near the high point parking lot for those few cool days of summer weather when hundreds of tarantulas linger on the warm asphalt only to be crunched to death by unaware motorists.

For a fraction of the price of a brand new fee booth / kiosk facility (that can't even process credit cards), the BLM could paint a 13 mile broken white line and add a sign every mile or so that informs and educates drivers on the loop road. This would go a long way towards making the road safer. It would reduce confusion and eliminate road rage created by clue-less, authoritarian type personalities (Mr and Mrs Do-Gooder) who refuse to let faster vehicles pass and at 23mph end up with a 30 car train behind them as they pull up to the highway 159 exit.

Loop Road Parking. It makes no sense at all. 13 mile loop road visitation numbers are up, growing every year...and what does the BLM do? They reduce the amount of parking on the loop road. They install these knee-high, pointy little posts in the small dirt pull-out areas along the road and at major trailhead parking lots like Pine Creek.

Yes indeed. I am curious what kind of improvements the BLM has in mind for the loop road in the next year, 5 years, 10 years...? In the meantime, can somebody go to Home Depot and buy a couple hundred cans of white spray paint? I'll meet you at midnight on April Fools day at the exit parking lot. I'll bring the tape measure. Making our public lands safer - one little white stripe at a time!





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By Howard Snell
From Belen, New Mexico
Feb 15, 2012

What if going to buses allowed better temporal access? Right now it can be hard to get early starts on many of the long routes because the gates don't open early enough. If a bus system would have at least one or two really early rounds then some of the problems with a bus system might be offset. The same could be true of a late round to clean up all of us who took longer than we thought we would.

Having early and late buses make rounds without passengers could be avoided via a phone in "sign up" system. No signed up passengers by noon the day before and the early (or late) buse doesn't run.

Wouldn't address the cost issue though.


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By thedogfather
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 15, 2012

One unintended consequence of making it two ways to sandstone may be a flood of casual cyclists wanting to make a nice 6 mile loop out and back and totally bringing traffic to a halt.


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