A fight for the right to make left-hand turns

To the list of great rivalries — Yankees vs. Red Sox, Ohio St. vs. Michigan, McEnroe vs. Connors — let me add one.

Clark County Commissioners Chairman Tom Mielke vs. Clark County Public Works Director Pete Capell.

OK, so it’s not personal between Mielke and Capell, both of whom are affable. They are, however, prone to (politely) duke it out over sensitive traffic issues such as roundabouts.

Mielke’s still stung over the fact a new median keeps him from turning left into Costco from Andresen Road.

So my heart skipped a beat when I saw this work session listed on the commissioners’ calendar for 9 a.m. Wednesday:

“Tutorial on Road Standards Policy regarding Islands and Medians.”

To borrow a phrase I’ve seen Commissioner Steve Stuart write in emails to Mayor Tim Leavitt: “Hellz yeah.”

It’s easy to understand where Mielke and Capell are coming from.

Capell has to consider how much traffic a road can handle and take appropriate safety measures, while Mielke, and other commissioners, hear from business owners concerned about restricting access.

Jeff Mize, spokesman for the public works department, said putting up medians and telling existing business owners that drivers will only be able to do “right in, right out” is a sensitive issue.

Some business owners go so far as to tell the county their businesses couldn’t survive a median. Commissioners are concerned about protecting what’s left of the businesses here, while the public works staffers point to the manuals.

Mize said he’s not exactly sure what will be discussed Wednesday.

The word “tutorial” suggests that Capell wants to explain the guidelines he relies on when making tough decisions.

I will dutifully report back from the work session. Hopefully there will be something to report. I wonder if the county’s risk manager, Mark Wilsdon, will show up to talk about liability and what happens if the county doesn’t follow road standards and someone gets in an accident and sues the county for millions.

In that case, what I’m billing as Ali-Frazier may turn out to be Tyson-Spinks.

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