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EDITORIAL: Long walk to new arena? The horror!

Las Vegas has long wanted to attract a major professional sports franchise, and it’s on the brink of doing so with the National Hockey League. But apparently there’s concern about where all the local fans might park to access the gleaming new Strip arena being built by MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group.

As the Review-Journal’s Alan Snel reported Sunday, while Las Vegas residents eagerly await the arena’s April opening, they’re also bracing for the traffic and parking challenges the sports and entertainment venue will pose. The 20,000-seat arena fits snugly on a 14.5-acre site bounded by the New York-New York parking garage, the Monte Carlo garage, Tropicana Avenue and Frank Sinatra Drive. But Mr. Snel noted that no new parking garages or major lots are being built for the arena, and that valley residents are already feeling the angst.

To those residents, there’s a greeting card in the mail. It reads: “Welcome to being a major sports city. Love, every other major sports city in the country.”

This should not be a problem, especially for anybody who has ever attended a major sporting event or concert at an arena in any other major metropolitan area. Not only is a substantial walk often involved — perhaps a half-mile, maybe even a mile — but that comes after plunking down a chunk of change to pay for parking. At Los Angeles’ Staples Center, which has dedicated lots, cheap parking is $15 (still followed by a decent walk), and close-by valet parking can run $100 or more.

On the Las Vegas Strip, patrons can drop their cars with a valet attendant who will be thrilled to get 20 bucks, or they can park for free at any of several garages within a half-mile of the arena. God forbid anyone might have to walk 15 to 20 minutes from their free, covered parking space. The arena might actually increase ridership on the Las Vegas Monorail, too.

We’re spoiled. This is what people in other cities deal with all the time: early arrival, a decent walk (the horror!) and a slow exit. Welcome to the big leagues, rookie.

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