Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 | 12:29 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 | 5:28 p.m.
A weekend curfew for those under 18 that covers a popular, bar-filled area downtown unanimously passed the Las Vegas City Council today.
The curfew will begin this weekend, which will be a key test for its effectiveness because hoards of young people flood East Fremont Street on the first Friday night of the month.
A mile from Fremont Street, the First Friday art walk has grown in popularity, which some believe also draws more people to East Fremont, where redevelopment incentives have helped bring eight bars and four bar/restaurants into a one-block area.
For months, Metro Police have tried different measures to get a handle on the growing crowd. With the cooperation of businesses this weekend, police will fence off the Fremont Street Experience, similar to how it is set up on New Year’s Eve.
Police also will keep barricades and maintain a relatively heavy presence on East Fremont Street, which authorities and some businesses say were effective in reducing on-street drinking and partying last month.
Starting Friday, those under 18 will be subject to a ticket of $300 if identified in an area bound by Main Street, Ogden Avenue, Bridger Avenue and Maryland Parkway, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day. A current city curfew begins at midnight on weekends.
The area for the special curfew is significantly smaller than a proposal from Mayor Carolyn Goodman last month.
Terry Murphy, president of the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance, which represents several downtown businesses, said she is happy with the council’s vote.
“This is only one piece of the public safety puzzle for downtown,” Murphy said. “(We) will continue to work with the city and other stakeholders toward the goal of making downtown safe for our local and out-of-town visitors.”
The new curfew exempts teens accompanied by parents or guardians, as well as those who need to travel to the area for work or organized events.