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Proposed Clark County ordinance preventing stopping on Las Vegas Strip pedestrian bridges

New Las Vegas ordinance would establish "pedestrian flow zones." Critics concerned about losing audience and swindling tourists out of popular selfie spot.

Tourists visiting Las Vegas often flock to the 15 pedestrian bridges that line the famous Las Vegas Boulevard, seeking the perfect vantage point for capturing the iconic Las Vegas Strip. However, law enforcement sees these bridges not as picturesque spots, but as potential safety hazards when pedestrian traffic becomes congested.

The construction of these bridges dates back to the mid-90s, designed to facilitate the flow of vehicle traffic beneath them. Now, authorities are seeking to ensure that pedestrian traffic on these bridges flows smoothly as well.

A new ordinance has been proposed to the Clark County Commission, aiming to establish "pedestrian flow zones" on the bridges and within 20 feet of adjoining escalators, stairs, and elevators. The ordinance specifies that it would be "unlawful for any person to stop, stand, or engage in an activity that causes another person to stop or stand" within these defined areas.

The proposal is supported by analyses conducted by UNLV Criminal Justice Professor William H. Sousa, which reveal a 23% increase in disorderly calls for service on Las Vegas Boulevard from 2018 to 2022. Notably, 11% of these calls originated from the pedestrian bridges, despite accounting for only 6% of the total sidewalk space along the resort corridor. The analyses also highlight a staggering 1,700% increase in calls related to disorderly unhoused individuals on the bridges within the same time frame.

While law enforcement emphasizes safety concerns, individuals such as venue promoters and street performers are worried about the potential impact on their livelihoods. A promoter known as "Jone" expressed his concerns, stating that the proposed ordinance could jeopardize his ability to work and earn a living. Similarly, artists like Verlincia Prince fear that the new rule may force promoters and performers to operate in less visible areas, ultimately diminishing their exposure to tourists and visitors.

The proposed ordinance has sparked debate and raised questions about its potential impact on the vibrant street culture and entertainment scene along the Las Vegas Strip. Some argue that the restrictions could limit the visibility and accessibility of performers and promoters, while others stress the importance of maintaining safety and order on the pedestrian bridges.

As discussions continue, the future of these iconic structures and the individuals who rely on them for their livelihoods remains uncertain. The balance between public safety and the preservation of the unique street atmosphere of Las Vegas Boulevard is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and collaboration among all stakeholders.

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