Updated November 22, 2023 - 12:01 pm
Individuals may soon be prohibited from stopping on pedestrian bridges in the resort corridor under a proposed county ordinance introduced Tuesday.
The measure, introduced by Clark County commissioners, would prohibit any person from stopping, standing or engaging in activity that causes another person to stop on pedestrian bridges or near escalators, elevators or stairways connected to the bridges.
The ordinance is meant to increase public safety by ensuring “continuous movement of pedestrian traffic” on the bridges, which allow pedestrians to cross traffic-heavy portions of the Strip safely.
Any person who stops in what are called Pedestrian Flow Zones, which include the bridges and up to 20 feet surrounding the connecting stairs or escalators, could be charged with a misdemeanor. According to the proposed measure, the county will place signs designating the zones and will alert the public of the restrictions against standing or stopping.
“Clark County continues to attract major sporting events and has become the home to major sports teams,” the ordinance reads. “Clark County has a substantial government interest in providing safe pedestrian access on the Las Vegas Strip.”
During this weekend’s F1 race, a footbridge and connected escalators at The Venetian were crowded with people trying to take videos of the racers.
But an official with the American Civil Liberties Union contends the ordinance violates the First Amendment.
“There’s a right to engage in protected First Amendment activity, whether that’s protests, whether that’s street performances or street art, whether or not it ends up being someone who’s attempting to administer religious services,” said Athar Haseebullah, executive director of the Nevada ACLU. “Under this specific proposal, none of those activities would be permitted.”
Haseebullah also raised concerns about whether the ordinance’s enforcement would be done in an equitable way.
“If we’re in the resort corridor and there’s a few tourists who stop to take a selfie, we’re not clear if they’re going to enforce this the same way they would if they see a street performer stopping by or if they see a group of individuals who are stopping for three to five minutes,” he said.
But the ordinance argues that despite some impact on First Amendment activity, “ample” space for speech exists on sidewalks that are not part of the Pedestrian Flow Zones.
A public hearing will be held on the proposed measure at 10 a.m. on Dec. 5.
A spokesperson for the county declined to comment and directed inquries be made to the Metropolitan Police Department. Metro could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.