The Clark County Commission is considering a new ordinance that could impact tourists visiting Las Vegas. The ordinance would establish “pedestrian flow zones” on the city’s 15 pedestrian bridges and within 20 feet of adjoining escalators, stairs, and stairs. It would make it unlawful to stop, stand, or engage in an activity that causes another person to stop or stand within these zones.
The proposal’s timing has raised questions about whether it is in response to crowd behavior during last weekend’s inaugural F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, during which the bridges were clogged with pedestrians attempting to watch and video the race. However, concerns about pedestrian traffic flow on the bridges have been an ongoing issue for the county for at least four years.
The ordinance cites an analysis by UNLV’s Department of Criminal Justice, which showed a 23% increase in calls for disorderly behavior on Las Vegas Boulevard from 2018 to 2022, with 11% occurring on bridges, despite representing only 6% of the resort corridor’s total available sidewalk space. Additionally, there was a 1,700% increase in calls for disorderly unhoused individuals on the bridges from 2018 to 2022.
While the ordinance does not explicitly mention the MSG Sphere, the pedestrian bridge nearest to it has been perpetually clogged with pedestrians standing still and waiting to photograph the world’s largest external video screen since its activation on July 4th.
The proposal has raised concerns about potential violations of the First Amendment’s right to assemble, as the ordinance would restrict activities such as protests, street performances, and religious services within the pedestrian flow zones. However, the ordinance argues that there would still be “ample” space for free speech on sidewalks that are not part of the proposed zones.
A public hearing on the measure will be held during the next Clark County Commission meeting. The outcome of the proposal and its potential impact on tourists and civil liberties will be determined in the coming months.