Las Vegas Outlaws Standing Still on Pedestrian Bridges

Posted on: January 2, 2024, 05:27h. 

Last updated on: January 3, 2024, 10:17h.

No, you didn’t click on The Onion by mistake. When the governing body overseeing the Las Vegas Strip introduced this bill on November 22, few believed it would pass. Who in their right mind would declare standing still on a pedestrian bridge a crime?

Las Vegas tourists photograph the MSG Sphere from a pedestrian bridge
Las Vegas tourists photograph the MSG Sphere from a pedestrian bridge spanning Sands Avenue, an act that will soon be against the law. (Image: KVVU-TV)

Not only did the Clark County Commission do exactly that on Tuesday, their vote was unanimous.

Stopping to tie your shoelaces or to ask someone for directions could result in a misdemeanor summons if you do it on a pedestrian bridge crossing the Strip, or near the escalators, elevators, or stairways connected to those bridges.

If you’re found guilty, you could face up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

A last-minute amendment to the ordinance had to be provided just to exempt anyone who is waiting to use an elevator, stairway, or escalator.

A Permanent Law for Temporary Events

The stated justification makes sense for special events. Allowing police and emergency personnel to cross the bridges easily is crucial during congested events such as the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix and New Year’s Eve, which are more vulnerable to acts of terrorism that would require emergency assistance.

“We’ve seen large crowds on bridges during major events,” Undersheriff Andrew Walsh said during Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s very difficult for officers to get onto those bridges and to maintain order.”

However, for more than 300 days a year, this measure is most likely to target the illegal water vendors and performance artists who set up on the bridges. In fact, a Commission staffer said at the meeting that performers would only be able to perform on bridges if “they continue walking.”

People who stop on bridges to photograph the Sphere are another annoyance to Clark County officials, though they weren’t mentioned in any of the arguments in favor of the ordinance.

Stop Stopping

As you read this, the ACLU of Nevada is almost certainly readying its first lawsuit.

I can assure you if this passes, this will result in litigation because despite buzzwords being used about this being narrowly tailored to the least restrictive alternative, it’s not,” the organization’s executive director, Athar Haseebullah, said before the vote. “I encourage you, if you’re in support of the First Amendment, to not move forward with this proposal.”

The commission was more swayed by Commissioner Jim Gibson’s argument that the measure would “keep every pedestrian that would move along those bridges and down the elevators safe.”

The county will place signs alerting the public of the restrictions whenever the ordinance goes into effect. No start date was given at the meeting.