Wednesday, December 19, 2007


When flipping channels I stopped to watch a county planning commission meeting on the public access channel on our cable tonight, because the name of the big hotel next door came up. There is a proposal to build a new version of the convention center that I work at about a block to the east, further away from the strip. This is because of the huge increase in property prices on Las Vegas Boulevard. The most recent large purchase was of the New Frontier last year, that property going for about $34,500,000 per acre. This is much higher than past prices, bringing the land that our center is on to a much higher value. By moving the convention center off strip the current property is then available to flatten and put up several new hotel towers and a bigger casino space.

The big corporation is applying for a waiver in order to construct fewer parking spaces than required by law. Listening to the planning discussion it was apparent that no property has ever been held to what is required by law, and everyone has gotten waivers on everything. This leads me to wonder why we even have these laws, if no one is held to them. The request of a waiver seems to be a big farce, with every one granted after long discussions and much money spent on lawyers. Needless to say, the corporation got their parking waiver.

One of the problems is that the Wynn Hotel, located right across the street, has constructed an employee parking garage between our current site and our new site, making the two properties ‘non-contiguous’. The Wynn has constructed a bridge over Sands Boulevard so that employees parking in the garage do not have to cross the street to go over to the Wynn resort. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you realize that this is about 10,000 employees crossing the street, with most of them going to work in the morning and getting off in the evening at about the same time. There are three shifts, in order to keep the place running, but the night shift is much smaller than the day shift. Here is what that bridge looks like.

This is Sands Boulevard looking west, with the garage to the left, the Wynn resort off camera to the right, and the pedestrian bridge crossing the picture. Overhead is the tracks for our monorail. Visible under the bridge is our convention facility, with the tower of the big hotel next door behind.

The new convention center will be behind the photo, off to the left behind the Wynn parking garage. A new pedestrian bridge will be build connecting the new facility to the old one. This will run over the sidewalk on the left side of the photo. The main problem is that the Wynn bridge is right where this new one will have to be, so it seems that there will be an overhead intersection where the two bridges will meet up in the sky, causing big pedestrian traffic jams in the morning when Wynn employees cross to go to work and convention visitors cross them to get to the new convention center. Better than another thousand cars at this intersection.

Here is what it looks like from the other direction.

Totally confused? OK, but it matters to me because I will be walking back and forth on this new bridge every day, and am wondering what it will look like. Of course, this is two years in the future, if I still work there, but it is something to think about.

For something completely different, the yucca in our front yard has just finished blooming again.

And a few weeks earlier the sage was also looking good.

But I get up in the dark to go to work, and get home near dark. Not as bad as Iceland, but I am ready for it to start turning into Spring, looking forward to longer periods of sunshine and warmer weather. Yes, I know it’s not officially winter yet, but it’s cold.

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