a group of people on a walkway
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Stopping on Pedestrian Bridges To Become Illegal in Las Vegas?

Will this bridge the gap to increased safety?

Thousands of visitors cram and crowd the area along Las Vegas Boulevard — which is also known as The Strip — to gamble, dine, drink, be entertained, and enjoy what the city has to offer. Could stopping on pedestrian bridges become illegal in Las Vegas in 2024?

Stopping on Pedestrian Bridges To Become Illegal in Las Vegas?

Paradise Las Vegas Nevada
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

As part of what are known as Pedestrian Flow Zones, pedestrian bridges in Las Vegas are designed to safely separate the throngs of pedestrians from the traffic of motor vehicles. When those bridges are available, pedestrians are not permitted to cross the street from the curb at ground level. The absence of crosswalks and electronic devices for pedestrians further encourage pedestrians to use the bridges and discourage them from crossing the busy street.

The board of commissioners of Clark County initially were going to vote on the proposed ordinance on Tuesday, December 5, 2023; but deliberations on the proposal have been delayed until a public hearing which is scheduled for Tuesday, January 2, 2024.

“The parameters for the pedestrian bridge design did not include uses beyond pedestrian traffic crossing from one side to the other side. The parameters included that pedestrians would not stop, stand or congregate other than for incidental and fleeting viewing of the Las Vegas Strip from the pedestrian bridge. For pedestrians to be able to stop, stand or congregate for any other reason, the pedestrian bridges would have been designed differently to account for such uses”, according to the official proposed ordinance. “Stopping on the pedestrian bridges creates conditions that can foment disorder which, in turn, can lead to crime and serious safety issues. Because pedestrian traffic demand on the bridges varies significantly and unpredictably regardless of day or time of day, it is impossible to know in advance when stopping will result in criminal or otherwise dangerous conditions (whether involving the particular pedestrian who has stopped or others) and because of the physical nature of the pedestrian bridges, by the time such conditions exist, it would often be too late for law enforcement or other first responders to intervene, mitigate, render aid, rescue, or take other actions necessary as a result of crime and other serious safety issues. In recent years, numerous incidents have occurred that underscore these concerns. There is an ever-increasing demand as visitation numbers have reached near historical levels. Clark County continues to attract major sporting events and has become the home to major sports teams. Clark County has a substantial government interest in providing safe pedestrian access on the Las Vegas Strip. The increased number and frequency of high-profile attacks in places of public gatherings throughout the country have contributed to the occurrence of threats and perceived threats that result in public panic and immediate and unexpected demand on pedestrian bridges as in an event of flight by large groups of people.”

Although pedestrian bridges constitute only approximately six percent of the total linear feet of public sidewalks available to pedestrians, service calls pertaining to disorderly conduct on pedestrian bridges are almost double the amount of calls along ordinary sidewalks.

The measure to prohibit individuals from stopping or engaging in an activity that causes another person to stop on pedestrian bridges — or near escalators, elevators, or stairways connected to the bridges — was first introduced on Wednesday, November 22, 2023.

According to the aforementioned proposal, “Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed six months or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

Final Boarding Call

a city with many tall buildings
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

I find navigating through the crowds of Las Vegas Boulevard to be annoying at best. I dislike using the pedestrian bridges because they seem to take an inordinate amount of time to navigate — plus, one must use either elevators, escalators, or staircases simply to access them…

…but then again, I do recognize their usefulness as a solution to the increasing problem of keeping pedestrians safely away from vehicular traffic — plus, one is not required to wait until a break in vehicular traffic presents the opportunity to cross the street.

I was concerned that the proposal would not allow me to take photographs from pedestrian bridges; but doing so would apparently be permitted.

As for criminal activity on pedestrian bridges, victims are limited as to the ways they can extricate themselves and escape from such situations; so I can understand that part of the proposal as well.

If the proposal indeed officially becomes an ordinance, I am curious as to how it will be enforced…

All photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

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