Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023 | 2 a.m.
With Formula One road closures expected to cause heavy traffic later this week, the plan to get workers to and from Strip resorts is looking like a logistical jigsaw puzzle.
The jumble of pieces include remote parking lots, shuttles, tunnels and use of the Las Vegas Monorail — along with some good old-fashioned hoofing it.
“There’s no question that the Las Vegas Grand Prix is going to be an epic event,” Brian Yost, chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said at last week’s Clark County Commission meeting.
“There’s also no question that one of the most important components to the success of the event will be the ability for the men and women who work in the resort corridor … to be able to get to work efficiently,” he said.
The F1 invasion will take over much of the Strip and surrounding streets Thursday through Saturday night for practice sessions, qualifying and the actual race.
Open-wheel racers will zip along the 3.8-mile course at speeds well above 200 mph, as tens of thousands of fans watch from bleachers and luxury boxes along the racecourse.
Moving substantially slower — if at all — will be cars and trucks traversing jammed side streets as they try to maneuver their way to and from the Strip casinos.
Flaggers and police will be on hand to help direct traffic on some critical arteries, such as Frank Sinatra Drive, which runs behind the resorts on the west side of the Strip, Yost said.
Just the same, employees — and anyone else trying to get to Strip resorts — should expect longer commute times.
Plans are in place, however, to help employees avoid some of the worst traffic.
They will be able to leave their cars in designated remote lots and use the Monorail to access some Strip resorts. The line runs as far north as the Sahara and as far south as the MGM Grand.
The Monorail can accommodate up to 3,000 passengers an hour in each direction during peak operations and will run 24 hours a day for the race weekend, Yost said.
There will also be buses at the Las Vegas Convention Center to absorb overflow demand, Yost said. “There have been pickup and drop-off points identified within the circuit that will accommodate all of these properties,” he said.
Several of the resorts have Monorail tickets so that their employees can ride for free.
The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, an underground tunnel system, will be able carry employees via Tesla electric cars from the West and South Hall parking lots to the Monorail and shuttle bus stops.
Employees of the Venetian and Palazzo, Casino Royale, Westin, Ellis Island and Hilton Grand Vacation Clubs will have use of the Convention Center parking lots.
Employees of Caesars Entertainment properties can park on property as usual. They also can use the Monorail or park at the Rio Convention Center parking lot off Flamingo Road and take a shuttle to the Strip.
MGM Resorts International, which operates several casinos on the west side of the Strip, is also allowing employees to park on site or at a remote lot serviced by shuttles.
The Wynn employee parking garage off Sands Avenue and Koval Lane won’t be open during the race, so Wynn has arranged for remote parking and shuttles.
Workers at the Wynn and Encore can park in a lot across Las Vegas Boulevard, a short walk to the resorts. The company is also leasing parking at the adjacent Guardian Angel Cathedral, less than a five-minute walk to the casinos.
“We will also offer 24-hour shuttle service from those locations,” Wynn Resorts officials said in a statement.
As for the Regional Transportation Commission, about 67 bus stops will be affected and five major routes will be detoured over the race weekend, according to the RTC.
The detoured routes are the 119 Simmons/Koval, 202 Flamingo, 203 Spring Mountain/Desert Inn/Lamb, the Centennial Express and the Deuce, which runs down the Strip.
Service to Harry Reid International Airport will also be altered, with buses stopping at Terminal 3 instead of Terminal 1, said Sabrina Glenn, senior director of operations for the RTC.
More than 26,000 riders a day are expected to be affected by the detours, she said.