Another event and another round of traffic-related lessons learned by those tied to operations at Allegiant Stadium.
Over 61,000 soccer fans attended the Concacaf Gold Cup final between the U.S. and Mexico on Aug. 1, making for another mass of people arriving at the stadium via various forms of traffic.
The traffic plan is set to evolve event after event, with officials making changes aimed at managing the traffic congestion tied to cramming droves of fans into the confined 62-acre site and its satellite parking lots.
“We enhanced signage on the roadways and better lane assignments were identified to help improve the ingress and egress,” said Theresa Gaisser, director of the Regional Transportation Commission’s Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation. “These are just some of the strategies implemented that definitely helped improve traffic flow at the event and will be used during future events.”
Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said another key change was moving where the rideshare lot was located, from south of the stadium across Russell Road to a parking lot off Dean Martin Drive on the north side of the stadium. That adjustment kept fans dropped off by ride-hailing services from having to cross Russell before and after games.
During the peak of the ingress for the Gold Cup, between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., queuing on Dean Martin southbound spilled over onto Tropicana Avenue, Gaisser said. During the same time, Russell Road westbound traffic piled up onto Las Vegas Boulevard, while the Interstate 15 southbound offramp saw traffic backed up from the ramp onto the southbound collector-distributor road, briefly spilling onto mainline I-15, she said.
Following the event there was a period of concentrated vehicle and pedestrian traffic as fans filtered to parking lots surrounding the stadium.
“Overall, the Gold Cup event saw a much smoother flow of event traffic,” Gaisser said.
Similar to previous events, the Hacienda Avenue bridge was heavily used for pedestrian access for the match, with the flow better as the emergency lane kept open for first responders was moved from the south part of the bridge to the north, eliminating a cut-off point at Allegiant Stadium Drive.
Naft said he walked the bridge multiple times before the event and noted the added shade and water areas that were lacking at the previous two events and were a cause for concern during the summer heat.
“They were definitely well-utilized,” Naft said.
Looking ahead to Saturday
With the Raiders finally set to play Saturday at their new home with fans in attendance, Naft said the Raider Nation experience is set to be different.
One transportation aspect that will help remove some vehicles from the road is the RTC’s Gameday Express bus service. Fans can catch a ride on RTC buses from five locations spread out through the valley and come back for $2 each way.
“We did a test run of that during the soccer match,” Naft said. “They had buses moving in and out to see how they impacted the surrounding traffic and it seemed like that had been successful.”
Naft said he thinks Raiders fans’ penchant for tailgating will also make things better on traffic. Some fans, he said, will arrive at the stadium much earlier to tailgate while others will arrive closer to kickoff, spreading out the traffic.
“You have a fan base who have been waiting for this for a long time as opposed to a fan base who maybe bought their ticket that week,” Naft said. “They tend to be better prepared, making a stronger plan.”
Additionally, MGM Resorts will host its first Stadium Walk tailgating zone in the Luxor parking lot. Having that available means fans will also walk across the Hacienda bridge before the game at varied times instead of mainly all at once.
“The events that MGM and the other operators are planning will help the game day experience,” Naft said. “It will help close the gap between the stadium and the Strip and make it feel closer, if you’re participating in events along the way. It’ll also improve the atmosphere out there.”