In what seems to be a bemusing turn of events, the Clark County Commission unanimously decided to outlaw the otherwise innocuous act of standing still on pedestrian bridges along the bustling Las Vegas Strip. The ordinance, passed on a Tuesday meeting, now labels such stillness as a misdemeanor, potentially warranting up to a half-year incarceration or a hefty fine of $1,000.
The Rialto Bridge or Pont des Arts might champion lovers or tourists pausing for a moment of contemplation, but in Las Vegas, hesitating on bridges to even snap a picture of attractions like the MSG Sphere, fasten a shoelace, or query for directions could be met with legal reprisals. It was only under a late amendment that individuals queuing for escalators or elevators were spared from the rule’s reach.
Tailored to ensure the smooth flow of traffic during massive gatherings such as the New Year’s Eve festivities or the anticipated F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, the law aims to facilitate unhindered access for emergency and police services in high-risk situations. Undersheriff Andrew Walsh emphasized the challenges of managing large bridge-bound throngs during such crucial times.
However, beyond these sporadic events, the law appears to cast its net predominantly over the permanent fixtures of these bridges – the unlicensed vendors and street performers, whose static presence has long been a thorn in the side of local authorities. As per the commission, performers can now only ply their trade in motion, seemingly a quixotic directive for artists traditionally reliant on stationary crowd engagement.
The ordinance, framing itself as a bastion of pedestrian safety, has not gone unchallenged. The ACLU of Nevada has forewarned of impending legal confrontation, accusing the ruling of an overreach that chafes the fabric of the First Amendment. Yet, voices of dissent were overshadowed by pro-safety advocates within the commission, determined to shepherd throngs of pedestrians through these arteries in a more orderly fashion.
In anticipation of the enactment of this controversial ruling, the county plans to install signage that elucidates the newly minted restrictions. A definitive date for the ordinance’s ingress remained unspecified at the time of the meeting.
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