Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Las Vegas

What Will It Take to Make Las Vegas Walkable?

2:57 PM EST on December 15, 2015

A surprisingly high number of visitors to Las Vegas get around on foot, but right now the infrastructure isn't exactly friendly to them. Graphic: RTCSNV
Contrary to popular belief, visitors do walk to get around Las Vegas, but the streets don't work for them. Graphic: RTCSNV
A surprisingly high number of visitors to Las Vegas get around on foot, but right now the infrastructure isn't exactly friendly to them. Graphic: RTCSNV

Saying the future of the city's economy depends on it, Las Vegas tourism interests are pushing a $12 billion plan to improve transit and walkability, reports the Associated Press.

A group of tourism industry leaders, hotel owners, transit officials, and taxi companies are backing a plan from the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada that includes major transit expansions and street overhauls, as well as HOV lanes on freeways. They see the investments as essential to staying competitive with other cities with significant convention business.

A key element of the proposal is connecting the Las Vegas Strip to the airport by light rail. The same line would connect to the convention center and downtown. According to the AP, some large conventions require hundreds of shuttle buses to bring people from the airport. Without high-capacity transit, transporting tens of thousands of people to events like the Consumer Electronics Show can be "chaotic," according to Travelpulse.

The plan calls for several more transit upgrades, including expanding the city's financially troubled Monorail line, creating a number of high capacity bus rapid transit lines to bring workers to the city center, and adding a "downtown circulator trolley." However, options to prioritize transit on some streets, including the Strip, are already not "recommended" in the plan.

As far as walkability goes, the Strip would remain a hellish place for people on foot, it seems, with the main changes being the addition of elevated pedestrian bridges and walkways, and not much in the way of traffic calming. Planners considered and rejected proposals to both pedestrianize the street and add dedicated transit and taxi lanes.

But other key boulevards would be in line for much smarter changes. For example, the plan calls for "prioritizing pedestrians" on Convention Center Drive. With tens of thousands of people walking between the convention center and the city's resort corridor every day, planners are also eyeing the pedestrianization of some blocks linking the two destinations.

This being Las Vegas, it's not all about walking, buses, trains. Several freeway expansion projects are also on the table.

The plan is undergoing two months of public review before transportation commissioners vote in March. Funding it would require a mix of federal, state, local, and private sources.

Even if it is approved, the AP reports, light rail planning won't be completed until 2022, and design won't be finalized until five years after that.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

NYC Debuts Public E-Bike Charging for Delivery Workers

Finally, they’re taking charge! The city’s first public e-bike charging station opened in Cooper Square on Thursday — the start of an overdue six-month pilot that is part of a “Charge Safe Ride Safe Action Plan” for delivery workers that Mayor Adams announced last year.

March 1, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Have Questions

What's an optimal rebate to get people to buy e-bikes without wasting money on those who were going to buy one anyway?

March 1, 2024

To Recruit Transit Workers, More Than Just Higher Pay Is Needed

Labor shortages continue threatening public transit systems, and a new report adds another layer to the conversation.

February 29, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Streets for Skateboards

Aaron Breetwor on skateboards for transportation and designing streets for safer skateboarding.

February 29, 2024

Agencies Need to Use Federal Funding to Buy Land for Transit Oriented Development

Transit agencies do not prioritize transit-adjacent housing development often because they lack funding to acquire land.

February 29, 2024
See all posts