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Las Vegas Strip Girds for Proposed Major Change

MGM, Caesars, and the other Strip casinos are listening to a very big idea.

The south and central sections of the Las Vegas Strip have become a mix of vehicular gridlock and pedestrian confusion. 

It's not really a street that's walkable -- at least not without a lot of interruptions. Only limited stretches of walkways are clear; instead, the sidewalks are broken up with escalators and skyways that make it possible to cross various side streets.

For pedestrian, it takes a lot of effort to get to most places on the Las Vegas Strip, and crossing the famous road has become even more difficult. At intersections that allow crossing, huge masses of people build up, making for a chaotic experience.

For a few days, however, during the National Football League draft, a section of the famed road was closed to vehicle traffic. 

That made the Las Vegas Strip a road people could walk on. Getting between various events became much easier, making the city feel more like one big connected party rather than each casino (or group of clustered casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment,  (CZR) -  MGM Resorts International,  (MGM) - ) and Wynn Resorts  (WYNN) - .

For a few glorious days, the heart of the Strip felt more like Fremont Street, where cars are forbidden, and a sort of endless street party persists. Now, one Las Vegas leader wants to make this change permanent, closing the Strip to cars and making the entire area walkable.

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Walking the Las Vegas Strip

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has begun talking to Las Vegas Strip casino owners (MGM and Caesars would be the biggest players by far) about closing the Strip to cars, at least some of the time, reported.

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Segerblom took to Twitter to share his thoughts after the recent NFL draft "when officials to traffic for the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard from Flamingo Road to the entrance of Paris and Bellagio."

The commissioner has not made clear exactly when or how he plans to close the Strip to cars. Doing so permanently would likely not be possible because various casinos and businesses on the street use Strip-based driveways to accommodate delivery trucks.

“How would I deliver/restock the Target on the Strip?” asked one disgruntled delivery driver. “How would I deliver to the Casino Royale? These places are ONLY assessable [sic] to delivery trucks through their driveways that are on the Strip,” one person responded to Segerblom on Twitter.

Las Vegas Strip Changes Won't Happen Quickly

While consumers may enjoy getting around the Strip much more comfortably, the casinos might not go along with the idea. As it stands now, both Caesars and MGM Resorts have people staying at their properties, not trapped, but at least somewhat stuck inside their sections of the Strip.

Caesars, for example, has Harrah's and the Linq well connected by the Linq Promenade, with Bally's and Flamingo flanking those properties on either side with the massive Caesars Palace across the street.

It's not impossible to walk from any of those properties to various MGM locations, but it's certainly easier to opt not to. That could lead the biggest casino operators to oppose this plan or at least want to heavily limit when the Las Vegas Strip might be closed to traffic.

Closing the Las Vegas Strip to vehicles won't happen quickly, but the success of the idea during the NFL draft might put it on the table at least for special events. 

If that happens, consumer demand could sway both casino owners and the political leaders, who ultimately make this decision.