Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year's Resolutions for the Las Vegas Strip

The coming of a new year is a time for celebration. You made it another year! It’s also a time for self-reflection. The Las Vegas Strip may not have its own New Year’s resolutions, but if it did, we think they’d look something like this.

Courtesy Las Vegas Monorail
Traveling along the 4-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that constitutes the Strip can be a nightmare at times. Between the heavy flow of traffic, pedestrians and city buses, things can get a tad dicey. This is exactly why the city needs to expand the monorail. The Las Vegas Monorail currently runs from Sahara Avenue at the north end of the Strip to Tropicana Avenue not quite reaching the south end. While it’s fairly useful within that 3-mile track, there is a large amount of untapped potential. At the very least, the line should connect to McCarran International Airport, offering visitors to Sin City a more affordable and direct route to their hotel rooms. It would also be great to see it continue further north into Downtown Las Vegas, making Fremont Street much more accessible.

As already mentioned, it’s not easy to navigate the sidewalks of the Strip thanks to throngs of tourists and a maze of pedestrian bridges. People touring Glitter Gulch should be allowed to focus on dodging taxi cabs without being hassled by costumed panhandlers. The dingy facsimiles of cartoon characters and superheroes du jour that bark at passersby hover around that baseline of tolerability. What these people are doing is technically legal since all they are asking for is a “donation,” however forceful that may be, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the practice is obscenely tacky.

Speaking of obscenely tacky, let’s finally do something with Fontainebleau. The 68-story tall, blue-glass building has stood unfinished across from Circus Circus for nearly eight years. It took some serious threats from Clark County commissioners before owner Carl Icahn finally agreed to make some temporary face-lifts to the decaying facade. The structure certainly has the potential to be a beautiful addition to the Strip’s less shiny north end, but sadly it remains one of the city’s biggest eyesores.

Which brings us to our final New Year’s resolution for the Las Vegas Strip. If the City of Las Vegas can manage to clean up East Fremont, then Clark County should be able to at least spruce up the Strip’s north end. Recent additions such as SLS, a total revamp of Sahara, and Lucky Dragon, a tiny Asian-themed hotel and casino that opened Dec. 3, have had a positive effect on that area of town. However, the portion of the Strip between Sahara Avenue and Spring Mountain Road remains the type of urban space that prompts pedestrians to quicken their pace, especially after sunset. Some dedicated festival grounds or a public park type space similar to MGM’s The Park would be a much welcomed quick fix.

We love our city, and if these suggested New Year’s resolutions come off a bit overcritical, it’s only out of respect that we point a digital finger. Join in on the conversation on the VegasDaze Facebook page and share with us some of your suggestions for improving the Las Vegas Strip.

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