The upcoming Formula One race in Las Vegas is stirring up controversy as the city makes extensive preparations for the event. While the race is expected to bring in a significant amount of tourism and attention to the city, the measures being taken to prepare for it have disrupted the daily routines of residents and regular visitors. These disruptions have shed light on the hidden costs and consequences associated with organizing such a high-profile race.
One of the major preparations for the race includes significant traffic rerouting, with key roads such as Las Vegas Boulevard, Koval Lane, Harmon Avenue, and Sands Avenue being completely closed to vehicular access from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. While alternative routes will be provided, they are expected to cause substantial detours and delays for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
These measures have not been well-received by residents and regular visitors, who feel that the city’s infrastructure is already struggling to cope with the disruptions. There are also complaints about the heavy use of view blocks, which prevent pedestrians from catching a glimpse of the race and make the city feel unwelcoming to tourists.
In addition to the traffic disruptions, the preparations for the race will also impact the city’s entertainment scene, as many headlining shows are taking a break during the Grand Prix weekend. This means that tourists attending the race will have limited time for other entertainment, while regular visitors may choose to avoid the city altogether.
The preparations for the race also extend below ground, affecting the network of interconnected concrete flood channels known as “the tunnels,” which are home to a transient population of roughly 1,000 people. Signs have been posted announcing a “Tunnel Clean Out for Formula 1,” during which a tactical unit will clear the tunnels of human presence, rendering them inaccessible until November 20. This has raised significant concerns as the nearest homeless shelters are miles away and may not be accessible to those with low mobility.
The interaction between the high-profile sporting event and the vulnerable population living in the tunnels highlights broader societal issues faced by cities hosting such events. It underscores the need for comprehensive planning to mitigate unintended consequences. Many locals believe that better organization and planning could have mitigated the impact of the Grand Prix on the city and its residents. This situation serves as a lesson for city authorities to learn from their shortcomings and better mitigate the impact of future events on society.