Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2018

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Banning certain vehicles from the Strip should be considered, Giunchigliani says


Steve Marcus

Police direct traffic as they reopen the northbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard after an accident near Flamingo Road Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Six vehicles were involved, including a stolen pickup truck and an RTC bus.

Looking to improve safety and traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard, one Clark County commissioner envisions banning private vehicles from the famed road.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani wants the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada to consider allowing only certain vehicles on the Strip such as taxis, ride-share vehicles and buses to ease congestion.

Alleviating traffic jams that hinder police and medical response on the Strip is needed, said Giunchigliani, a member of the RTC board and a Democratic candidate for governor. The need to look at options increased after the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting on Oct. 1, she said.

“I hope people have conversations about what the Strip should really look like for the future. Are there better ways to make sure police, fire and EMS have access in and out in a much more rapid way?” she said.

Prohibiting tourists from driving their own vehicles on Las Vegas Boulevard could take away a major lure of Las Vegas. Cruising up and down the Strip is a popular activity, and Giunchigliani knows the impact such a proposal could have.

“I totally get it — I used to do that in my convertible,” she said. “That’s part of the debate that should be thought through, as far as the guest experience that’s there. But I also hear from guests who are sick and tired of the trucks and mobile billboards that ruin the view and experience on the Strip.”

David Swallow, RTC senior director of engineering and technology, said that the agency is open to ideas that promote safety.

“The Resort Corridor Feasibility Study will respond to input from Clark County and resort corridor stakeholders,” Swallow said. “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.”

If plans as drastic as banning private vehicles on Las Vegas Boulevard don’t go through, Giunchigliani said there are less restrictive ways to go about increasing safety.

“At a minimum we should have dedicated lanes that are for emergency vehicle and public transit,” she said.

Giunchigliani suggested a similar plan several years ago, but it did not gain traction. Despite that, Giunchigliani said she isn’t deterred from trying to increase safety.

“You never change anything if you don’t have conversations,” she said. “Since we just approved the RTC study to start looking at that, I thought that it was reasonable to raise the issue again.”