Las Vegas Strip corridor transportation plan has people talking

That idea to drill a double-deck tunnel under McCarran International Airport to carry cars, trucks and possibly a light-rail train to the Las Vegas Strip won’t be a slam-dunk.

For that matter, neither will the proposal to build a subway under the Strip between Sahara and Hacienda avenues.

Or extending the Las Vegas Monorail to Mandalay Bay and a high-speed rail station across Interstate 15 from that resort.

But the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s “go-big-or-go-home” Wednesday unveiling of a series of economic development-based transportation solutions that’s been called the Transportation Investment Business Plan accomplished at least one of its goals already — it got people talking about what could be in store if tourism corridor gridlock problems aren’t addressed.

“I have to admit, it took me a little while to breathe when I first heard about it,” Clark County Aviation Director Rosemary Vassiliadis said of the proposal to link Russell Road east and west of the airport with an underground route.

“When (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO) Rossi (Ralenkotter) asked us to look at different proposals, he asked us to open ourselves to every idea,” she said. “Something has to happen. If the tourism corridor is in gridlock, it’s going to impact us all.”

Vassiliadis said she likes the idea of broadening access to the airport with a Russell Road tunnel but there are issues with the proposal that go beyond cost.

FEDERAL APPROVAL REQUIRED

Because of new security measures approved after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration would have to sign off on a tunnel and it’s possible they wouldn’t be excited about building anything under the airport terminal, tarmacs or runways.

An airport multimodal transportation center is prominently mentioned in the plan and would interface with public transit and private transportation services. The station would be on property owned by Clark County between Paradise Road and Swenson Street south of Tropicana Avenue.

Vassiliadis has toured the PHX Sky Train facility at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix and likes the concept of an automated electric people-mover system that circulates between the city’s light-rail system stop, parking areas and terminals and eventually serves the airport’s off-site rental car facility.

Not only does the Sky Train reduce air pollution but it minimizes curb congestion, an appealing benefit for McCarran which occasionally endures long cab lines and blocked lanes at passenger drop-off and pickup points. In addition, it won’t be long before transportation network companies such as Uber are knocking on Vassiliadis’ door to figure out where their drivers can drop off and pick up customers.

“They’re the new wild card for us because they were only recently approved for operation by the Legislature,” she said. “But that isn’t the only wild card. We’re still waiting to find out what’s going to happen with a UNLV football stadium, which would definitely affect us, and we still don’t know how the new MGM arena is going to affect us. That’s why new access on Russell is important.”

SUBWAY IDEA DRAWS QUESTIONS

The other “wow” project on the plan list is the proposal to build an underground light-rail system beneath the Strip.

Critics were quick to jump on the massive expense of such a system.

Tina Quigley, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission, who unveiled the plan Wednesday, acknowledged that such a system would cost billions of dollars to build. It would be even more expensive because it would require tunnel boring, not a cut-and-fill construction method since Strip resorts could not bear the time or expense of street closures that would occur if there were long periods of open construction pits along the length of the boulevard.

“We’ve already heard some of the criticism,” Quigley said in a Wednesday meeting of some of the key stakeholders participating in the plan’s drafting. “The big question is: This is great, but how are you going to pay for it?”

That’s the next phase of the planning process. Greg Gilbert, outside general counsel for the Regional Transportation Commission, will compile a detailed summary of project proposals and list prospective funding sources for the projects over the next three months.

“The real question is do we as a community want to do things necessary to plan responsibly for these potential alternatives?” Gilbert said. “In order to do something this significant from an infrastructure perspective, we’d be required to engage in any number of different environmental permitting exercises that would take quite a lot of time. It’s going to take five years on our best day to get through an environmental process where we’re even at a point where we can say who’s going to pay for this now.”

At that point, the committee would explore the different possibilities, from local and state sources and the federal government as well as the private sector.

The initial challenge was for every stakeholder to be on the same page.

“One thing we were determined to make sure of was that this was a community consensus blueprint,” Quigley said. “It couldn’t just be the RTC’s study or the county’s study. It had to be community stakeholders’ recommendations.”

The group tried to find another city that experienced the same problems and duplicate its successful efforts.

“One of the things we tried to do early on was find a mentor city that we could look to to see how they addressed something similar,” Quigley said. “What we found out is there is not a single city in the world in terms of the number of people they are moving between very concentrated destinations. We’re on our own at this point.”

One of the unique qualities of Las Vegas is that the people using the core tourism corridor — the biggest users of transportation systems — turn over every three days when they visit and leave. That led to some less expensive proposals to better educate visitors of their travel options.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT EXAMINED

Economist Jeremy Aguero of Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis made sure the committee’s analysis was data-driven and incorporated an element of return on investment.

“The thing is, these people aren’t just coming to Caesars Palace, plopping down and not going anywhere anymore,” Aguero said. “They’re moving around, going to different places, which is what Las Vegas has become. In a place like Disneyland, they arrive at the park and use the company’s transportation infrastructure, but mostly on the property.”

The one thing all the stakeholders agreed on was that regardless of their prior experiences in Las Vegas, visitors always know how to call a cab to get from one place to another, which is why the Nevada Taxicab Authority and Bell Transportation executive Brent Bell were at the table.

Ileana Drobkin, who heads the Taxicab Authority, said the industry’s leaders wanted to participate because they know that failure means convention and meeting planners will take their events elsewhere.

“If we don’t solve this, Orlando is going to try to pick off some of our conventions because that’s what they’re already trying to do,” Drobkin said.

Indeed, Orlando officials are preparing to break ground on a transportation system from Orlando International Airport to the Orange County Convention Center.

A $400 million magnetic levitation system that would link the airport east to the convention center and International Drive, the home of several hotels surrounding the center, and will get conventioneers to their trade shows and hotel rooms as quickly as they’re able to do it now in Las Vegas.

“If we don’t start the conversation today,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, “five years from now we’re not going to be in any better place and maybe even further behind the eight ball.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta.

ad-high_impact_4
News
NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local
Lights FC coach Eric Wynalda lost his home in California wildfire
Eric Wynalda, coach of the Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team, talks about losing his home in the deadly California wildfires during an interview in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 17, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Women face issues from Essure birth control implants
DeVonna "Kat" Normand said she had complications from the Essure birth control implants. Normand uses her Sin City Heat show at 22.3 TakeOver Vegas Radio internet radio station in Las Vegas as a platform to raise awareness about Essure and connect with other women who have used the device. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Truancy and Clark County schools
Tony Stark, one of 23 attendance officers with the Clark County School District, have a tall order tracking down students who aren't in school.
North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like