Illegal To Perform On A Bridge? Rules on The Strip May Be Changing Soon.

by Brandon Summers | April 18,2022

After an off-duty cop got stabbed to death by a homeless man in late March, Clark County Commissioners will consider designating bridges as “crosswalks”. Things have been bad before, but this is REALLY BAD. It is true that the only constant in this world is change; and the conditions for buskers on the Las Vegas Strip have continued to worsen over time. After two successful lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLU) in 2009, cops backed off from ticketing performers. But the peace didn’t last long and crackdowns resumed in the summer of 2013– the main target that year was amplifiers powered by car batteries. Fortunately, Metro went back to fighting real crime for a while and left buskers alone. That was until the Community Impact Court was established in 2016 (behind closed doors), giving Metro and the DA’s office the ability to process thousands of “chronic nuisance” misdemeanors attributed to homelessness, water vending, and street performing. From 2017 on, cops would give performers tickets for being stationary and/or not having everything off the ground. Performers made the adjustment by attaching tip jars, normally placed on the ground, to their body or instrument. And here we are in 2022, and the police may have the ability to haul someone to jail for merely standing still on a bridge.

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND TITLE 16, CHAPTER 16.11, SECTIONS 16.11.020 AND 16.11.040 OF THE CLARK COUNTY CODE, TO CLARIFY THE DEFINITION OF “CROSSWALK” TO INCLUDE PEDESTRIAN OVERPASSES AND UNDERPASSES AND TO PROHIBIT OBSTRUCTIVE USES IN, ON OR WITHIN 20 FEET OF A TOUCHDOWN STRUCTURE; AND PROVIDING FOR OTHER MATTERS PROPERLY RELATING THERETO.

Excerpt from the proposed amended ordinance
Clark County Commissioners (April 2022)

According to the language in this proposed ordinance, anyone could be cited/arrested while posing for a picture on a pedestrian bridge; but we know who this is intended for. Homeless people. They are hard to miss on the Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street— especially Fremont Street. Many of them are odious and many have pets as companions. They are not an immediate threat to public safety, but elected officials have always made it a priority to pass the buck to law enforcement and let the police deal with it. And yes cops do write homeless folks tickets and occasionally arrest them; but they come right on back. Personally, I’ve seen the some of the same homeless people on Las Vegas Boulevard for years and they need assistance beyond the threat of criminal punishment. Whether this ordinance passes or not, the problem won’t cease.


The introduction of the ordinance will be on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Clark County Commissioners will receive a presentation on Tuesday, May 3 where then, a vote can be made to amend the ordinance into county code.


Recommendation:
Introduce an ordinance to amend Title 16, Chapter 16.11, Sections 16.11.020 and 16.11.040 of the Clark County Code, to clarify the definition of “crosswalk” to include pedestrian overpasses and underpasses and to prohibit obstructive uses in, on or within 20 feet of a touchdown structure; and providing for other matters properly related thereto; and set a public hearing. (For possible action)

County staff and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have been working together on this matter. Public Works will be asking the Board of County Commissioners to adopt an amended map, as required by Clark County Code Section 16.11.050, identifying the above-described areas as no obstruction zones. Additionally, markings will be placed at the sites along with updated signs. Staff recommends that the ordinance to amend Chapter 16.11 of the County Code be introduced and a public hearing be set for Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at 10:00 a.m.

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