Dear MGM: Make locals happy, build arena parking garage By Richard N. Velotta, Las Vegas Review-Journal October 11, 2015 at 6:58 pm MGM Resorts International is a fine company with great resort properties. It’s Nevada’s largest employer, it’s progressive and does a lot of work with diversity initiatives, philanthropy and community service. That’s why I’m counting on the company to do the right thing and build a parking garage for the new arena the company is opening next spring. You’ve probably heard the reasons why MGM doesn’t have a dedicated parking facility for the arena, which will seat 20,000 people. Many of the events at the arena, built in a partnership with the Anschutz Entertainment Group, will be big-ticket entertainers and sporting events. MGM figures most of the people attending those events will be coming from out of town and will already have a parking place at whatever resort they choose to stay. MGM officials say there are between 4,000 and 5,000 parking stalls at the existing New York-New York and Monte Carlo parking structures which are close to the arena. The company also hopes to redefine how people attend concerts and sporting events by turning them into half-day experiences. In places like Los Angeles, people attending events at the Staples Center will arrive early and take in a meal at nearby L.A. Live before walking over to the arena, which also is owned by Anschutz, known in the industry as AEG. For the MGM-AEG arena in Las Vegas, MGM is building a park and plaza on the Strip side of the property to capture some of that dinner crowd. Will most of the crowds attending events at the arena really be out-of-towners? For many of the events, probably. Although the first act in the arena, country singer George Strait, has plenty of local followers who will want to see the first event ever staged at MGM-AEG Arena, or whatever it ends up being called. But trust me on this: On the day of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals when the Las Vegas Black Knights, or whatever the city’s new hockey team will be called, take the ice against the Boston Bruins, it’s going to be a huge local crowd. It’s a crowd that is going to want some close-by parking. Late last month, the Nevada Department of Transportation had its first meeting about a proposal for a major overhaul of the Interstate 15 interchange at Tropicana Avenue. (Don’t panic, everybody … it isn’t on the calendar for work for at least five years.) But it got engineers and citizens attending the meeting to thinking about the need for close-in arena parking — and people attending the meeting had an idea for where it could go. The I-15-Tropicana project is proposed as a complete reconstruction of the interchange, including the flyover bridge that was the first of its kind along I-15 near the Strip. The Tropicana bridge over I-15 will be wider, longer and taller over the freeway in order to allow Tropicana traffic to flow better, for the acceleration lane onto I-15 from the collector-distributor frontage road to be two lanes wide and longer and to prevent collisions with the bridge that occasionally occur because it’s less than the standard height. People attending the meeting suggested that an ideal location for a parking structure would be in the existing Excalibur parking lot, just south of where the Tropicana flyover merges with the street. If MGM were to build a parking structure and a pedestrian bridge over Tropicana, fans could park within 10 minutes of the arena entrance. MGM could even make it convenient for fans by dropping escalators or elevators down to street level. It’s doubtful that MGM would entertain such a plan because parking structures aren’t cheap and the whole idea of getting people to go early is to get fans to spend a little more and go to MGM’s restaurants and bars. But it is a good idea, hopefully one that a company as responsible as MGM would entertain. Questions and comments should be sent to email@example.com. Please include your phone number. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter @RJroadwarrior. Road work ahead Southbound Koval Lane will be restricted to one lane on the west side of Koval to where it turns into Reno Avenue, Mondays through Fridays through Oct. 19, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a sewer line project. Open trenching for a sewer line project is scheduled through Oct. 23 on the left lanes of northbound and southbound Maryland Parkway between Sahara and Karen avenues. Work is scheduled Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Interstate 15 traffic has been shifted to southbound lanes at Milepost 16 in the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona for the demolition of a bridge that is being replaced. There will be a single lane of traffic in each direction of I-15, but state officials say motorists should expect traffic delays of up to 15 minutes through December. Additional travel delays of up to 20 minutes are expected through mid-November while crews remove loose rocks near the southbound side of the bridge structure. Northbound and southbound Decatur Boulevard will be pushed to the east half of the street between Via de Palma Drive and Sahara Avenue, Mondays through Fridays through Dec. 18 from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. for a sewer line project. Intermittent lane closures are planned on Harmon Avenue at Las Vegas Boulevard and 24-hour lane closures are scheduled on two northbound and two southbound lanes on Las Vegas Boulevard between Harmon and Aria Place through mid-October for sewer construction work. Work will be conducted 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. Tamarus Street will be restricted to one lane in both directions between Warm Springs Road and Eldorado Lane Mondays through Fridays through Oct. 31 from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. for a sewer line project. The south side of Warm Springs Road will be restricted between Caliente and Tamarus streets Mondays through Fridays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 31 for a water reclamation line project. Two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane will be open on the north side of Warm Springs. Lane closures and shifts are planned on Durango Drive between Tropicana Avenue and Desert Inn Road through October. Traffic delays are expected and motorists are encouraged to find alternative routes while the paving and sidewalk replacement project is completed. Sewer lines and manhole work will restrict traffic on Tropicana Avenue about 300 feet west of Wetlands Park Lane to about 300 feet east of the intersection. Eastbound and westbound traffic will be pushed to the north side of Broadbent Boulevard and to the south side past the intersection. Restrictions begin about 300 feet from Broadbent and Broadlake Lane with northbound and southbound traffic being pushed to the east side of Broadbent. Work will occur from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Oct. 31. Two northbound lanes of Bermuda Road between Eldorado Lane and Warm Springs Road will be restricted for a sewer line project through Nov. 3. Two southbound lanes of Bermuda will be unaffected. Construction work is scheduled from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Gasoline prices The average gasoline price Friday in the Las Vegas Valley was $2.95 per gallon. It was $2.87 in Nevada. The national average of $2.32 is up 2 cents from a week ago, down 6 cents from a month ago and down 93 cents from a year ago.