Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What the Future Holds for the Las Vegas Strip

There has been quite a number of shakeups on the Las Vegas Strip in the first half of 2016. We got a park! The 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena opened back in April and already has a new NHL franchise awarded to it. A large portion of Riviera was recently imploded. All of this upheaval really has us thinking. Come along with us as we stare into the VegasDaze Crystal Ball™ and imagine the Strip of the not too distant future.

What good are shiny new toys if there’s no one here to play with them? Interstate 15 is a serviceable option when traveling to Las Vegas from Los Angeles (well … really the only option), but imagine a world in which traffic-weary Angelenos can get to their Sin City fix in less than two hours via high-speed train. They’ll be able to get from the West Hollywood vegan fro-gurt shack to a Strip sports book and bet on the Dodgers to choke in the postseason in about as much time as a Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar acceptance speech. All while leaving the Prius in that choice spot on the side of Sunset that’s never open!

Speaking of public transportation, Clark County should seriously consider expanding the Las Vegas Monorail. It’s not exactly useful considering tourists have to walk a mile to get to the nearest station to travel 2 miles down Koval Lane only to walk another mile back to the Strip. Extensions running to McCarran International Airport and Downtown Las Vegas seem feasible enough. How about some love for the suburbanites? A terminal at Downtown Summerlin that connects to the main station at the convention center would help Strip properties better tap into the local market while providing easier access to the airport. It’s a win-win-win!

With approximately 14,000 deposits for season tickets to Las Vegas’ inaugural season in the NHL already put down, it seems pretty clear that the largest metropolitan area without a professional sports franchise is aching to support a team or two of its own. A casino mogul and avid supporter of bringing an NFL franchise to the city, Sheldon Adelson has already committed to pitching in for the proposed $1.3 billion project that would see a domed stadium built on the Strip for Oakland’s Raiders, but let’s not punish the folks paying our bills, the tourists, by hiking up the room tax. The Raiders’ Mark Davis has agreed to pony up $500 million. If Adelson wants to reap the benefits of an NFL franchise in his front yard, he should be fronting at least $500 million of his own.

Pedestrian safety has long been a major concern in Las Vegas. There is already a handful of pedestrian bridges that safely carry Strip revelers over some of the busiest intersections, but the piecemeal approach to building these walkways has left it difficult to navigate the entirety of the Strip on foot. Let’s take a page out of Calgary’s playbook and build a Strip-encompassing and enclosed elevated walkway connecting every major property. Imagine walking the Strip with a yard-long frozen margarita in the safety and comfort of an air-conditioned bridge high above the bumper-to-bumper traffic.

We’re seeing one last premonition here: Elvis holograms. If Tupac Shakur can get his own hologram, why not The King? Not many names are as synonymous with Glitter Gulch as Mr. Presley's. The man performed more than 700 sold-out shows at the International Hotel, now Westgate, between 1969 and 1976. In the immortal words of John Lennon, “Imagine there’re no impersonators. It’s easy if you try.”

Of course, the VegasDaze Crystal Ball™ has been known to deliver fuzzy signals from time to time. We hope these portents will come to fruition, but you never know with a city like Las Vegas. For all your present-day Las Vegas bookings, browse VegasDaze for tickets to the city’s hottest shows, attractions and tours!

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