$581K Study to Look at Safety on Las Vegas Strip

April 6, 2012

County elected officials cited Las Vegas Strip safety and image concerns as they agreed to funnel $581,000 in hotel room tax money into a three-month study of pedestrian congestion on sidewalks in the tourist corridor.

The Clark County Commission on Tuesday called for the Resort Corridor Workgroup to recommend methods and laws to curb unregulated commercial activity in Nevada’s adult playground. The advisory panel of law enforcement, casino and tourism representatives has been meeting behind closed doors since it was established last year by County Manager Don Burnette.

More police, additional closed-circuit television surveillance and a night court are among proposals being floated for the resort-lined four-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard, along with a requirement that leafleteers, derisively termed “smut peddlers,” clean up discarded advertisements bearing telephone numbers and images of scantily clad female escorts.

Virginia Valentine, Nevada Resort Association president and former county manager, talked about letters from tourists calling a walk on the Strip “a horrible experience,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Valentine said the goal was to make the Strip a more enjoyable place to visit.

American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada attorneys are closely watching the process and will sue if laws restrict First Amendment and free-speech rights, ACLU executive Dane Claussen said.

Claussen also expressed frustration that the ACLU was only invited to one of about a dozen meetings held from September 2011 to March 2012 to develop the recommendations.

Officials cite instances where passers-by have had to step off sidewalks into the street to get around crowds of onlookers surrounding costumed performers, and unregulated vendors hawking food and water. They said resort properties could pay for extra police and other resources, as they did after a rash of stabbings on the Strip last summer.

“We spend millions of taxpayer dollars marketing the beautiful Las Vegas Strip,” said County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, who dubbed the leaflet problem “way out of control” and “the nightmare of Las Vegas Boulevard.”

“There are a lot of things that happen on that Strip that are totally unnecessary,” Weekly said. “It’s ridiculous to have a child on the streets, and someone is putting this type of information in a child’s hands.”

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