NARA Street & Traffic History

544 360 Lex Anderson

The following is a chronological documentation and history, including Las Vegas City Traffic Engineering interventions, of both active and problematic street thoroughfares and intersections within the Northwest Area Residents Association (NARA) Rural Preservation Overlay District boundaries, from 1994 to the present.

April 13, 1995: At this meeting of the new NARA organization it was proposed that a request be made to abandon any development of both Gowan and Alexander Road as through streets. NARA was particularly concerned that Gowan would “turn into a race track” if it went all the way through to Rancho, especially if the proposed 272 apartments and and 13 single family homes with small lots were built at Gowan and Rancho. Note: The very idea of discontinuing Gowan and Alexander as through streets today sounds absurd, but this should tell you how very rural this area was some two decades ago! It also tells you how naive we were in regards to the role City Traffic Engineering plays in the technical aspects of very long term planning.

June 24, 1995: At this first NARA Block Party neighbors attending were focused on street traffic. Suggestions were:

  1. Stop or yield signs at Alexander and Helen.
  2. Stop or yield signs at Bradley and Hickam.
  3. Stop sign at Thom and Jay.
  4. Stop signs a Thom and Rickey.

It was also suggested that NARA be involved with Mr. Jim Veltman in the NW Area Masterplan to help identify problematic traffic locations, and help to facilitate and implement traffic control needs.

Aug 3, 1995: At this NARA meeting it was discussed that the city would probably want to widen Gowan at some future date, and NARA needed to be involved in this process.

Mar 21, 1996: At this NARA meeting we were advised that Gowan was going to go all the way through to Rancho. The hope is that Alexander may be vacated. Note: In fact, there was a very short dirt Gowan access to Rancho from Bradley that many residents did already use.

Sep 3, 1996: NARA President John Stanton sent a letter to the city supporting Gowan as being vacated and NOT go through to Rancho.

Dec 5, 1996: Lex Anderson spoke to an engineer who stated that Gowan was scheduled to be a four lane thoroughfare!!!

Jun 23, 1997: A letter was drawn up for residents along Gowan Road to send to Mayor Jan Jones concerning the Gowan S.I.D. (Special Improvement District) initiative against it being 4 lanes, 35 mph speed limit and removal of the stop sign at Gowan, as well as sidewalks, curbs and gutters. Residents supported a 25 mph speed limit, 4 way stop sign at Gowan and Thom or a flashing yellow light, school zone crossing at Gowan and Thom, 2 lanes instead of 4, and bike lanes on both sides of the street. Also a “School Zone and Crossing” sign at Gowan & Thom with speed humps on Gowan to slow traffic down.

Dec 5 , 1997: A NARA agenda was sent to Darwin Bliss Mgt. requesting a copy of the Gowan Road Project and S.I.D. Resident concerns were listed as parking, bike/horse lanes, school zone sign at Gowan and Thom, and request for speed bumps with a caution light at Thom & Gowan. A request was also made for no sidewalks, assessment of street light requirements, and concern about an SID mandatory sewer hookup.

Dec 9, 1997: A letter was sent to Councilman Larry Brown reinforcing what was previously addressed, with an emphasis to decrease the plans for a35 mph speed limit on Gowan to 25 mph.

Jan 8, 1998: Letter sent to the City objecting to the portion of the Gowan S.I.D. proposal of Gowan being 35 mph and requesting it be 25 mph.

Jan 12, 1998: A letter was sent to Mayor Jan Jones with attachments of Gowan Road resident letters in support of a 25 mph speed limit considering the rural nature of the community, horse traffic and school children crossing the intersection.

Apr 9, 1998: Letter sent to property owners on Gowan advising them that the Gowan S.I.D. is scheduled to begin in July.

Jan 23, 2001: At this NARA meeting, all 50 attendees agreed that In the interest of community safety and the pending park next to the school, Alexander should be closed between Decatur and Thom.

Feb 8, 2001: The topic of traffic on Alexander, and the suggested closing of Alexander Road between Thom and Tuffer was discussed. Note: Again, referring back to the April 13, 1995 annotation, this is another example of the very rural character of the area at this time.

Aug 7, 2001: Mr. O.C. White spoke to NARA in regards to the plan to make Alexander a 100ft. wide street from Decatur to Thom with curbs & gutters. From Bradley west it will be asphalt paved shoulders with no curbs & gutters. The discussion was
brought up to Mr. White about speeding on Bradley between Gowan & Craig and request for speed humps. He said the city is reluctant to install speed humps because it inhibits fire and rescue vehicles. But he said he would look into the matter.

Nov 6, 2001: With the pending paving of Alexander and the topic of the lack of sufficient traffic control (speeding) on Alexander, it was suggested that 4 way stop signs be added to Alexander & Bradley and at Alexander & Leon to slow things down.

Nov 27, 2001: The importance of getting a 4 way stop sign at Alexander & Bradley was discussed.

Jan 8, 2002: Councilman Mack’s office advised NARA that there was not enough traffic at Alexander & Bradley to justify a 4 way stop sign.

Feb 5, 2002: Leni Skaar, liaison to councilman Mack, was at the NARA meeting and reinforced that stop signs are only justified by vehicle count at peak traffic hours.

Mar 4, 2002: At the NARA meeting Leni Skarr implied a rejection to 4 way stop signs on Alexander. NARA is considering over riding standard guidelines and applying to Senator Reid’s office, and possibly get support through the school district in the
interest of children’s safety.

Apr 1, 2002: There is a traffic study now ongoing at Alexander and Bradley. The city also promised a crosswalk at Alexander and Bradley within one week. An e-mail from Jim Didway at the city stated that the average vehicle traffic on Alexander was only 157 vehicles where 300 were required, and the minor street average was 62 where 200 were required. Only one accident was recorded here over the past 12 months. Thus the intersection did not warrant a 4 way stop sign.

May 6, 2002: At the NARA meeting Mr. Didway’s correspondence was presented. Crosswalks and signage have been installed per the city as promised.

Oct, 2002: NARA NEWS article…page 3, Pam Samuolis from the city Traffic Engineering division advised that Thom and Bradley are response routes for emergency vehicles, so they do not qualify for speed humps. Also, the intersection of Bradley and Alexander does not meet warrants for a 4-way stop as the traffic studies showed. Bradley does not carry enough traffic at this time to meet these criteria. The traffic study conducted on Helen Avenue showed there were 102 vehicles per day traveling this street; there need to be 800 vehicles per day traveling the street in order to qualify for speed humps. It therefore would not meet the criteria. For follow up we were directed to Jim Didway.

Jul 18, 2003: At this NARA meeting it was noted that two solar powered electronic speed sensors have been installed on Alexander at Bradley and Leon that display to motorists what speeds they are driving. There was a concern that additional increase in traffic will only magnify an already existing problem.

Apr 10, 2007: At this NARA meeting Bradley was described as a “drag strip”, and the police won’t do anything about it. Resolved to contact Tom Collins and Mayor Oscar Goodman about speed humps.

Mar 20, 2012: With the March 9th motorcycle accident and death at Bradley & Alexander the proposal of a 4 way stop sign was brought up again. Tom Collins was a guest at this NARA meeting and he suggested that we contact Councilman Ross’s office to fix the solar powered speed indicator signs that have not been working for years.

May 9, 2012: NARA sent a letter to Councilman Ross profiling the character of the Alexander/Bradley intersection, that clearly excessive speed was the primary factor of the recent motorcycle accident death, and requested that the intersection with only two stop signs on Bradley be increased with two additional stop signs on Alexander making it a 4 way stop intersection.

Nov 20, 2012: On November 14th the city was observed marking out the intersections at Alexander & Bradley for new paving and pedestrian islands. (Note: The March 9th motorcycle accident was not a “pedestrian accident”). The supervisor said the project would be done by the following Wednesday. She said the project was initiated at least in part because of the recent motorcycle accident. On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 17th, another accident (“rear-ender”) occurred at this location, not a pedestrian accident.

Jan 15, 2013: An e-mail from Larry Rogers at Traffic Engineering (Dec 5, 2012) advised NARA that $30,000 had been budgeted for the Alexander/ Bradley intersection construction project, but the final cost was not available at this time.

Feb 19, 2013: At the NARA meeting Lex said he spoke to Mr. Don Harper at 5411 Alexander who has been a resident there for years. He said that traffic on Alexander was way too fast for the area ever since the city paved it. He said that the two solar powered speed indicators on Alexander at Bradley and Leon only worked for a short time after they were installed. He stated that there was a bicycle/vehicle accident at the intersection Christmas eve.

May 21, 2013: At the NARA meeting it was “noted” that the decision to make “intersection improvements” at Alexander & Bradley was done with no communication or input to the community on suggestions and justifications from the “operational level”. Note: The motorcycle accident of March 9th went high profile on TV with the cause of the accident identified as being an inherently dangerous inter- section and no accountability for exceed speed and inattentiveness to driving or driver error on the part of the motorcycle rider.

Aug 20, 2013: Lex spoke to Casey Johnson 5401 Alexander Rd. who was on the scene of the March 9th fatal motorcycle accident immediately after it occurred. Casey pointed out where the motorcycle breaking tire tracks went from the middle of his west driveway entrance all the way to impact where the motorcycle ended up at the curve on the east side of Bradley. Clearly it was traveling at a high rate of speed, well above 25 mph. Mr. Casey said this was routine motorcycle behavior on Alexander, and that he had also suggested 4 way stop signs to the city in the past.

Lex then spoke to Eric Martin across the street (5512 Alexander) at Casey’s suggest- ion, who was also at the motorcycle accident scene immediately after the impact. Mr. Martin basically reinforced Casey’s observations and opinions. It was his opinion from what he saw at the crash site that the bike was traveling at a high rate of speed, and realizing at the last minute that he was going to hit the truck “bailed out” with his helmet hitting the truck’s bumper. Erik also felt that the new intersection layout had shortcomings, that it was not slowing down traffic, and especially not slowing down motorcycle traffic. He noted that this location was “easy pickings” for police to issue speeding tickets. He said he saw a police car almost run over the new curb bump out last week, speculating that the officer was not use to the new intersection concrete layout and looking at his cruiser computer or other communications distraction. Erik said the solar powered speed indicator at Alexander& Bradley only worked for a short time back in 2002, and the one to the west at Alexander & Leon only lasted until 2004. He said that all they really ever did was provide a visual for bikers to see how fast they could go from a standing stop to the digital speed indicator pole! Eric suggested that NARA talk to the lady in the “barn house” (5601 Alexander) who actually witnessed Jesse riding down Alexander at the time of the accident.

Note: Lex followed up at the “barn house” a few weeks later. They were in the process of moving to California. The husband basically agreed with Casey & Erik on the excess speed on Alexander. He concurred that his wife witnessed the speed of the motorcycle on March 9th. She was in California at this time. Lex gave him his phone number to call back, but she never did.

Apr 21, 2015: Mr. Joe Mitchell was at this NARA meeting. He advised us that community improvements that would benefit from the city annual budget require documentation, and that it could be helpful for NARA to take advantage of these fiscal resources if we could submit proposals with good documentation. Again, the issue of speeding within our community, with the historic focus on Gowan, Alexander and Bradley, and the need to install workable “intervention” was brought up. Lex said he would research and write up a report for Mr. Mitchell of NARA’s traffic problems over the last two decades and with the executive board’s input submit it for his consideration.

Apr 22, 2015: Mary Kremer submitted an e-mail to Mr. Mitchell this date outlining six specific intersections/roads that needed “intervention”, and noted their activity. She also profiled the NARA community/character, and how without better traffic controls the situation is simply an accident waiting to happen.

May 20, 2015: After three Planning Commission Meetings, and finally the City Council Meeting (this date) the HICKAM/LEON two lots were agreed upon for zoning and potential development (Vegas Homes, LLC., Slater/Hanifan Group), Leon had never gone through between Hickam & Craig Road, and it was agreed upon that this would be continued as a crash gate only. The issue came up at the May 19th NARA meeting that at some time the City Council could change this, and it needed to be looked into for an official vacate status.

May 26, 2015: Lex completed and submitted a 20 year “NARA STREET/TRAFFIC ARCHIVES REPORT FOR NEEDS ASSESSMENT AND PROJECT JUSTIFICATION to Joe Mitchell, along with a map proposal for some quality of a traffic circle at Alexander & Bradley.

April, 2016: Gilmore Avenue had become a “race track” for Road Kill Grill fans to get to Chuck Former’s Mull’s Meats and a 3 meat combo, often double the speed limit. A committed neighborhood effort began this date to justify speed humps with signatures that were submitted in May. The lengthy process began.

June 21, 2016: At this NARA meeting it was reported that with the completion of Traffic Engineering’s 4 day survey on GILMORE, 2 additional 25 mph speed signs were installed!

Founders Academy representatives also gave an initial presentation on their pending Charter School at ALEXANDER & LEON with their ingress/egress on Alexander and some 750 students being dropped off/picked up each day. With students being driven in literally from all over the valley, drivers will be looking for drop off and pick up short cuts. Questions were raised on how this would impact Leon as a 60′ wide “rural” road, and the Alexander/Leon and Alexander/Bradley inter- sections. This will also impact Hickam, and it reinforces the need for the Leon to be officially vacated at Hickam.

Sept 6, 2016: The Traffic Study for the pending Founders Academy Charter School with access/egress directly on to Alexander at Leon was received this date, using the far NW area Somerset Academy at Sky Point as a comparison based on student population, and using a Summer time 3 day traffic study of June 28 & 29 and July 7th as a base line to determine regular school year calendar traffic impact.

Even with the “guarantee” that all students would be dropped off and picked up interior to the school property, and that Leon as a 60′ rural residential street requiring no sidewalks would not be used for student drop off and pick up, the Traffic Study admitted that the 750 student drop off and pick up at this location was inherently problematic, and that, “An update to this analysis is required to be submitted within 60 days of the opening of the school to determine if the drop off/pick up circulation is operating as planned”. A “two bell” (or “three bell”) system might be required. The specific traffic impact of the project based on Leon Avenue and the adjacent neighborhood being a “Rural Preservation Overlay District was presented by NARA, but not addressed by Founders Academy, Planning Commission & Commissioner Crear, or the City Council & Councilman Barlow.

Oct 3, 2016: In response to a letter sent to Traffic Engineering on Founders Academy traffic issues Mr. Rick Schroder explained that the two solar powered speed indicator signs on Alexander were a” test of early technology which is no longer supported”. In a conversation subsequent to this letter Mr. Schroder explained that basically they didn’t do what they were suppose to do, it would cost too much to retro fit them, and Traffic can meet their objectives with current portable units.

Oct 5, 2016: The City Council passed the Founder’s Academy agenda item accepting Traffic Engineering’s recommendations with two council members absent, and two members (Beers & Anthony) abstaining.

Mar 7, 2017: As a result of the Gilmore Avenue neighborhood commitment through the lengthy process, the two speed humps on Gilmore were officially installed at this date. Subsequently to the completion of this project, neighbors report that drivers have slowed down considerably and the effort was a complete success thanks to Traffic Engineering taking the neighborhood issue to heart!

Mar 21, 2017: At this NARA meeting we were informed that Jay Street is becoming a short cut for astute commuters driving south on Decatur during the morning “rush hour”, with the intent to go west on Cheyenne. By turning west on Jay, cutting across Rancho to Michael Way and then right on Cheyenne, they avoid the wait and traffic lights at Cheyenne and Rancho. Residents state that these commuters are “speeding” west on Jay, and they are considering making an application for speed humps on Jay Street.

Also at this meeting Stephanie Allen, representing D.R. Horton, gave a brief preview of a pending application to build some 176/177 high density homes on the 29.22 acre parcel behind Founders Academy, with traffic access/egress on to Alexander next to Founders Academy, and on Leon Avenue.

May 1, 2017: At this 3rd “neighborhood meeting”, D.R. Horton removed the ingress/egress on Leon as a “concession” which would eliminate traffic coming from this R-SL high density development into an established Rural Preservation Overlay District community. This would have compounded the violation D.R. Horton was already making by not being in compliance with the required graduation of zoning buffers. It was a NARA general opinion that with Kaempfer Crowell’s intimate knowledge of the community from representing Founders Academy, that this was just a classic programmed legal “bogus gamesmanship rouse” to be able to say that D.R. Horton went out of their way to make an accommodation. The Leon ingress/egress was never going to happen without having to answer to (1) an overwhelming community outrage, (2) both the “law” and intent of the historic and established RPN Overlay District transitional buffering criteria, and (3) a public awareness of Title #19 abuse by city officials that redefined Rural Preservation as an Overlay District without going through the legal process. The (now) 169 unit development traffic would be directed on to Jones, and on to Alexander next to Founders Academy K- 12 Charter School.

May 9, 2017: At this Planning Commission meeting the D.R. Horton agenda item was passed with no reference to the impact of ingress/egress development traffic being directed on to Alexander next to Founders Academy. The overwhelming issue was the debate over the necessity of a horse trail! There was no response to NARAs request for compliance with regard to the adjacent neighborhood being part of the established NARA Rural Preservation Overlay District community.

June 21, 2017: At this City Council Meeting the D.R. Horton agenda item was easily passed by the dais. the impact of ingress/egress from this high density development on to Alexander next to Founders Academy Charter School, and its impact on the Alexander/ Bradley intersection, Leon Avenue, and now also Hickam Avenue remains to be documented.



If the speed limit is 25 mph…people will drive 35. If the speed limit is 35 mph, people will drive 45 mph…or faster. And so on.

The official criteria of 300 traffic count on Alexander and 200 on Bradley to qualify for a four way stop sign should be only one factor to consider. If there are clear, real world, mitigating circumstances, then they should also be objectively considered. The criteria should not be gauged by the number of people killed at an intersection after the fact, when it is clear that an intersection
is “an accident waiting to happen”.

Motorcycles have become a normal mode of transportation, and there is a tendency for riders to exercise the power they offer (as with the March 9, 2012 fatal accident). NARA has two large motorcycle stores on Rancho, with their north/south back alley is used to access both Alexander, and Bradley. Making Alexander at Bradley a 4 way stop (or modified traffic circle/round-a-bout) would eliminate the option of a high speed run through at this intersection.

According to the literature, a feature of traffic engineering that is popular in Europe, especially with all their bicycle traffic, called “Traffic Calming” and “Visual Narrowing”, is increasingly being implemented here in the United States. This is basically using psychology where the more a street has a feeling of being in a “tunnel effect” the more drivers are inclined to obey the speed limit and to be aware of problematic traffic. If there are tall buildings on both sides of the road, or if trees line the road and especially if they branch out over the street creating a “tunnel effect”, people down. Conversely, irrespective of the type of business or residences on a street, if they are only one or two stories, no trees, and the view ahead appears “open”, drivers tend to go faster. This has very real world applications to this intersection. Both Alexander Road and Bradley Blvd. are excellent examples of the absence of any kind of a “calming effect”! There is no “visual narrowing”, the roads appear wide open, drivers are psychologically inclined to feel less opportunities for danger, drive faster, and become problematic. This should be a consideration with the evaluation of the Alexander/Bradley Road intersection for traffic management with forward thinking intervention.

Clearly, from the early history of NARA, without NARA’s intervention to make the city aware of our unique neighborhood, Gowan Road would have been an extension of the North Las Vegas 4 lane street east of Decatur. The NLV character of Gowan is very different, with no driveway access from homes directly on to Gowan, sidewalks for pedestrian use, a 35 mph speed limit, and the homes are of a higher density with no quality of a rural preservation character. However, east of Decatur, on the Las Vegas City side we have homes with driveways that lead directly on to Gowan, and as a Rural Preservation Overlay District it is zoned for horses. Decreasing the road to 2 lanes with a bicycle/horse riding lane on either side, and a 25 mph speed limit to accommodate both rural preservation traffic and school children was an appropriate and logical choice.

Originally, before the Gowan Business Park was built, the property at this location was zoned for homes, which would have had high density traffic entering on to Bradley between Duncan and Gowan. With the business park now only having access on to Gowan and Rancho, this leaves a two block stretch of basically wide open highway, with just the very short Cleo Way leading into it (connecting Waterhole St. to Bradley) that is seldom used. Harvey Starrett, President of NARA, (and an avid drag racing car builder/driver) and lives on Bradley “certifies” that , “This is a perfect ready-made drag strip for anyone with big motor!”, and in fact, that is what neighbors see. This section needs something to slow traffic down. “SLOW DOWN! ROAD DIP! or “SLOW DOWN! DOUBLE ROAD DIP!” signs approaching Gilmore, north & south of the two Rancho/Gowan Business Park peak water drainage areas might help.

Unlike Scotch 80 and Rancho Circle that were once considerably more rural in both location and character, NARA has a noteworthy large animal census and an active resident horse riding population that takes advantage of the miles of horse trail/road shoulders interior and throughout the Rural Preservation Overlay District geographic triangle. With the pending significant increase in nonresident traffic at least a dozen yellow “horse & rider” caution signs throughout the interior of NARA in select locations could help with driver awareness, and to reinforce the rural preservation character of the community.

Historically the intersection at Alexander & Bradley has been an issue “forever”. The initial concerns by NARA residents were virtually “prophetic”. In many ways the development of Alexander from North Las Vegas west between Decatur and Rancho is a “clone” of the Gowan, except that Alexander as full section road is longer and has far more activity than Gowan as a half section road. Starting at the east end of Alexander there is Patriot Park and Parson’s Elementary School. Immediately after that are the 3 entrances to Park San Miguel, Rancho San Miguel and Willowdale Park that total 133 R-PD-3 homes with access only to Alexander. East of Bradley Blvd there are also homes with direct access to Alexander, followed by the small business park and the VA with access to Alexander on the south side.

By 2019, Founders Academy Charter School with their only access/egress on Alexander will be dropping off and picking up some 750 students 2X a day and the D.R. Horton 169 unit high density development will also have an access on Alexander next to Founders Academy. With these two new agenda items directly impacting Alexander Road, it is negligent for the city not to initiate a long term definitive solution to what has already been a chronic condition.


GOWAN ROAD. it is clear that it was NARA’s intervention resulted in Gowan being appropriately designated as a residential two lane road with bike lanes, instead of an extension of the four lane road that exists in NLV on the east side of Decatur.

The NARA GENERAL STREET CHARACTER of the north/south and east/west major roads that go through NARA (Gowan, Alexander, Bradley, Thom) have changed dramatically over the past two decades, largely due to traffic from outside the neighborhood using these streets to expedite travel and save time.

BRADLEY and ALEXANDER as an intersection in a historically quiet residential neighborhood, with clear visibility for at least two blocks in all directions, only a short block from a public park and elementary school, should be one of safest intersections in the city. Even now with Founders Academy Charter School at Leon and the D.R. Horton 169 unit high density housing development it, with this clear visibility it should be difficult to have an accident at a 25 mph or even at 35 mph speed limit. Bradley is not the problem with its north & south stop signs at the Alexander inter-section. The problem exists with Alexander as a through street at this intersection and how it has evolved over the last two decades (and especially since it was paved in 2001) with cars and motorcycles now traveling at even more excessive speeds between Rancho and Decatur.

  1. The initial effort to slow traffic down with solar powered speed indicators proved to be ineffective.
  2. The second effort, (certainly as a result of the fatal motorcycle accident of March 9, 2012) gave the intersection an upgrade in appearance with nice pedestrian islands, but pedestrian traffic safety is not the problem. This change has done little if anything to slow down the east/west traffic on Alexander at this intersection.

The Bradley/Alexander intersection accident potential situation needs to be addressed now, especially with the need to mitigate the direct impact of increased local and out of area traffic resulting from Founders Academy Charter School and the D.R. Horton 169 unit high density housing project beginning in 2017/2018.

  1. The most cost effective and pragmatic option to make the intersection at Alexander and Bradley as safe as possible, for now and for the future, is a 4 way stop sign, and preferably solar powered LED blinking red light stop signs. ALL the factors point in that direction.
  2. The second option for making the Alexander/Bradley intersection as safe as possible (without actually putting in a traffic light) is a modified round-a-bout/traffic circle. With the empty parcels at the southeast corner, and northwest corner, available, this is a unique opportunity to create an intersection that will demand attention and eliminate high speed accidents. The City of Las Vegas RTC “Complete Streets Design Guidelines For Livable Communities” reinforces that “Modern traffic circles are potentially the cheapest and most aesthetic form of traffic control for many interventions”. It is technically feasible and forward thinking. And it would be a traffic management landmark for our community, and a demonstration of creative City of Las Vegas traffic management intervention, to take advantage of the two vacant lots for sale at the Alexander/Bradley intersection and do a modified traffic circle/round-a-bout at this problematic intersection (that will only get busier).

HICKAM & LEON: With Founders Academy now dropping off and picking up some 750 students each day on Alexander, and the addition of traffic from the D.R. Horton 169 unit high density housing access on Alexander & Jones, Hickam and Leon will inevitably become choice alternative access routes. And this reinforces the need to get Leon officially vacated at Hickam.

Note: Special thank you to Mr. O.C. White and Mr. Larry Rogers for official information and references on the concept of “traffic calming” and “visual narrowing”, and to Mr. Rick Schroder for our understanding the language of Traffic Engineering.

NARA How It All Began

776 192 Lex Anderson

“It’s all Linda Young’s fault!”

That’s what you often hear from NARA members both in jest and in fact who were present at the time of NARA’s beginnings. Many of these folks still live here who had been living in this quiet rural area for many years prior to NARA. And they won’t hesitate to tell you what it was like “way back when”. We moved here from Wiesbaden AFB in Germany in 1980. After renting a house for two years we decided that Las Vegas was “the place” that we wanted to call home. We found this house on a half acre in what was then a quiet, relatively rural setting. It was our first house and we could just barely afford it, but it was for the long haul, and as a family we made a commitment. The neighbors behind us had horses, many people had chickens, someone had a peacock, and the veterinarian down on the corner had a cow in his back yard. In the morning roosters would crow and it sounded like Old McDonald’s farm! Sometimes we would see a road runner using the top of our back yard block wall for a highway to get from point A to point B. The kids loved it. And it was fun to watch the small private airplanes fly over the house as they came in for a landing at the little airport down the street. It really felt like home.
It all started like this. We were eating dinner one evening November of 1994. There was a knock on the door. I answered it. There was a middle aged black lady wearing a funny hat standing there with papers in her hand, and the conversation went just like this:

Linda: “Hi! My name is Linda Young. I live right over there on Bradley.” She turned and pointed towards Chloe Way.
Me: “Hello”.
Linda: “Do you know about this? They’re trying to take our neighborhood away!” She gave me a copy of something from the city about a meeting.
Me: “No, I don’t know anything about it”.
Linda: “Well, we have to do something about this”. She gave me the 5-cent briefing on what it was about and asked me, “Do you understand?”
Me: “Yes maam”
Linda: “I’m going to have a meeting at my house Friday night, and you need to come!”
Me: “Yes maam.”
Linda: “Okey. I’m going to contact as many neighbors as I can to come. You be sure and be there, okay?”
Me: “Yes maam”

I didn’t know who she was. I had been away from home some 6 years, with three Air Force assignments, leaving the family at home for stability, and had not gotten to know a lot of the neighbors. But I liked her a lot… right away. She had “moxie”. She saw a problem and took control to do the right thing. I was certain I could take her at face value and I had a feeling that I could learn a lot from her. That’s how it all started. It truly was “all Linda’s fault”.
Linda Young’s garage had been converted into one large room that was perfect for meetings. There was a good turn out from neighbors both in the immediate area and from others several blocks away. Linda explained that Land Title Of Nevada was making an application for a Zoning Request to build 272 apartments on the parcel that we now know as the Rancho/Gowan Business Park, along with some commerc-al business and 13 small lot homes along Bradley as a “buffer”. 20% of the apart-ments would be designated for “low-income”. Everyone agreed that this was totally unacceptable. Linda had made copies of a letter of opposition for neighbors to send to Mayor Jan Jones, the Planning Commission, and the four members of the City Council. Linda had coordinated to have the next evening meeting December 14th the at Parson Elementary School.
At this meeting strategies were discussed and laid out for the pending January 12th Planning Commission meeting. Linda suggested we needed a community identity. Using the Northwest Citizens Association, and the Sheep Mountain Homeowners Association names as models, she came up with the Northwest Area Residents Association (NARA) and using the slogan, “Sticks In A Bundle Are Unbreakable”. It sounded like a good idea. At a follow-up January 4th meeting we were told that someone from city hall said our best bet would be to make concessions and live with it. This just reinforced neighborhood resolve. The rezoning was wrong. That’s what zoning categories and ordinances were all about. If small lots and apartments could go here, they could go anywhere and zoning would have no meaning. Councilman Scott Higginson had been approached for his input and support, but he was leaving (taking a position with Del Web) and advised us to direct our needs to our new councilman Matt Callister. So, we were really starting from scratch with a new organization, a new agenda item, a new councilman, and a process that few of us had any experience with.
With a large community turnout at the January 12th first Planning Commission meeting, the developer was directed to reassess their proposal and the agenda item was carried over to February 9th. The same thing happened February 9th, and the developer was given “one last chance” for the 23rd. At the third Planning Commission meeting Land Title reduced the apartment number to 248 but Planning continued to deny the rezoning request as being incompatible with only Bradley Road as a buffer from an established R-E neighborhood.
If it was all Linda Young’s fault that NARA got started, it’s probably safe to say that it’s all Councilman Matt Callister’s fault for us being successful in getting off to the right start. Except for some of the neighbors who had real-estate experience, topics like ordinances, zoning, Title #18, city planning & council protocol, classic developer strategies, and the general agenda language being used was foreign and somewhat intimidating to most of us. Matt met with us at Linda’s garage meetings, and made it simple. As an attorney he anticipated developer strategy, and based on establish-ed zoning we were assured that our argument was valid and that compromise was totally inappropriate. He believed in us and our cause. His agenda was our agenda. And it was terrific timing.
March 14th, the evening before the City Council meeting, Councilman Callister was at the Parson School NARA meeting to discuss and fine tune tomorrow’s effort. At the March 15th City Council meeting, the Planning Commission’s decision was echoed and reinforced by the dais and the Terra West/Land Title of Nevada agenda item was defeated. Their high density housing/commercial proposal was incompatible next to an established RNP neighborhood without a functional buffer. And it would have been a precedent decision circumventing city code and ordinance to the benefit of corporate over community.
The importance of this first NARA agenda item was in the “wake up call”, that in fact we were on the radar for pending local and corporate developers, and we were going to have to be vigilant. The importance of this outcome cannot be over stated. It gave NARA the perception and assurance that if we were well organized, played by the rules, had a valid argument supported by city ordinance, and had a committed city councilman for direction and support, that we could sustain our rural culture, values, identity and as a RNP community, and keep new development compatible with our neighborhoods through supportive zoning criteria. But we all knew that there was still much to learn.
At this March 14th meeting, “Formal Development of Northwest Area Residents Association (NARA)” began. An executive board with officers, constitution and by-laws, planning a NARA block party, NARA membership and cost, e-mail, process for regular mailing, obtaining a NARA mail box, filing for non-profit status, potential committees, and becoming involved with the Northwest Master Plan, all seemed to come up at once! Speeding on Gowan and Alexander even at this early date was an issue of concern.
At the April 27, 1995 meeting, NARA was established:
John Stanton lived right on Gowan and volunteered to be President Mike Hamilton lived over on Hickam and volunteered to be Vice-President with his real-estate experience. Carol Moore lived on Bradley and volunteered to be Recording Secretary Sharon Johnson volunteered to be Treasurer, although we had no money. Linda Young volunteered to be Parliamentarian, and would continue with her behind the scenes efforts to research information and network and coordinate resources. Lex Anderson volunteered to be Corresponding Secretary because Linda Young told him to do it, and Lex does everything Linda tells him to do!
Councilman Matt Callaster was at this meeting, and offered his words of wisdom. Linda Young was recognized for her work in our organizing us as a community voice. By June we were organized for our first NARA community block party, on Chloe Way, Linda Young had designed NARA “T” shirts for sale, it was decided that $10 a year per residence would be a reasonable volunteer membership fee. John Stanton had personally put up the $35 for a NARA mail box.
And…that’s how it all began!

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