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Strip Traffic Solutions: A Subway?

black_white_subway.jpg

New York City subway
Thenails/Flickr

Could Las Vegas be the new home for a subway system similar to the iconic New York City subway?

With more than 40 million visitors a year, the 4.2 miles of Las Vegas Boulevard containing the world-famous Las Vegas Strip is bound to get a little crowded sometimes.

Cars, taxi cabs, limousines, buses and shuttles are all trying to get visitors and residents to their intended destinations. Mix in thousands of people strolling along the famous sidewalk and gridlock is the result.

Talk of what to do in the future as visitor and resident numbers are expected to rise has been in the works for several years now.

At a Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada meeting Wednesday, an aggressive long-term plan was unveiled, which included a new light-rail subway system beneath Las Vegas Boulevard.

Las Vegas Review-Journal transportation reporter Rick Velotta told KNPR's State of Nevada the Strip is a victim of its own success. 

“Right now, the Strip area, the resort corridor area is close to gridlock and that’s because there has been such a great success in bringing more people to the city,“ Velotta said.

He said the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has long been concerned about the impact gridlock will have on the visitor experience. 

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A long-term proposal that could take up to 20 years to come to fruition, no cost estimates were included in the initial plan. Velotta said the details must first be worked out, and then engineers and planners would generate cost estimates.

“It’s no secret that these systems are not cheap and we’re talking billions of dollars,” Velotta said. 

A Las Vegas Review-Journal article points out that plans to extend the Las Vegas Monorail were notably absent.  

The monorail was originally slated to go down the middle of the Strip but casino companies did not like that idea. The monorail now takes riders along the backside of many resorts on the eastern side of the Strip.

Another big transportation project that has been on the back burner in Nevada for years is the high-speed rail line to connect Southern Nevada with Southern California. Velotta said the Strip subway would take precedent for several reasons. 

“Locally, you’ve got a team of people that have a goal here and they see the consequences of failure so they would certainly move to get this done,” Velotta said. 

Guests

Richard Velotta, columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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