If Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani’s wish comes true, the time may come when private vehicles may no longer be allowed to drive on the Las Vegas Strip. The Strip in this case is being defined as roughly between the Mandalay Bay on the south end to the Stratosphere on the north end of Las Vegas Blvd. Commissioner Giunchigliani has asked the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to include her suggestion in a $2-3 million study to assess options which would make transport from McCarran Airport, the Strip, and Downtown Las Vegas more efficient.
Why Would the Strip Be Closed?
This effort is being prompted, in part, by the 1 October shooting at Mandalay Bay. Even though officials moved quickly to close off traffic on I-15 and Las Vegas Blvd that night, there were cases where first responders were delayed due to congestion on the Strip. On any given day, the Strip can become heavily congested in places creating start/stop traffic. This proposal would only allow Ride Sharing vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft, taxicabs, buses, and pedestrians to access the proposed restricted corridor, with the objective of increasing pedestrian safety, relieving traffic congestion, and allowing first responders to travel the corridor more quickly and safely.
Interestingly, Giunchigliani, also a board member of the RTC, had proposed such a road closure years ago. At the time, the proposal didn’t get much response. She said, “What worked maybe 10 years ago isn’t necessarily good now… I think after the shooting we want to make sure people can get back and forth safely, and our first responders have trouble no matter what time of day it is.”
David Swallow a spokesman for the RTC indicates that they are looking into the proposal.
“With regard to no vehicles on the Strip, it would be up to Clark County as the local jurisdiction to make that decision. We are always supportive of ideas that promote safety, improve mobility and enhance our visitor experience.” Further, commenting on the study RTC has just approved, “The study was just awarded and we are focused on consideration of high capacity transit options to connect the airport, Strip, and downtown, as well as the necessary infrastructure to support pedestrian connectivity.”
When Would This Closure Occur?
There is no timeline on when, or if, this proposal will be implemented. Giunchigliani states: “I’m just hoping people will start that conversation. Rule things out if you have to but you need to have everyone at the table.”
In the meantime, the county is installing steel posts, or bollards, along the Strip to protect pedestrians from traffic, and potentially from intentional rammers. The county hopes to have them complete by New Year’s Eve.
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