I love downtowns in general, and L.A. is no exception. I spend tons of time there, and the revitalization of L.A.’s historic core excites me to no end. However, I don’t know how the city thinks it’s going to support a fully realized downtown revival if they continue to shut down half the streets and parking every weekend to facilitate film production. As an example, I’ve been going to Lost Souls pretty frequently since it opened, but every Sunday when I get there the parking situation is more and more ridiculous. Today, production on the popular series House had taken over at least three square blocks smack in the center of the financial district, which itself is the center of much of the most completed revitalization efforts. After fighting traffic and a lack of parking, I came back home to eat, and followed up with coffee in Silverlake. Goodbye downtown dollars.
I know that film is an integral part of our economy (though last time I looked into it I discovered that aerospace was actually SoCal’s largest industry). But for downtown to be a fully functional community people have to be able to live and visit there 7 days a week, 24 hours a day without consistent, major hassles. Occasional gaffes and interruptions are to be expected, but if a recent story in LA Downtown News (which unfortunately I can’t find online) is any indication, conflicts between residents and production needs are shaping up to be a serious hurdle to a downtown that’s actually useable and livable. And the film industry, used to years of working in an area that was mostly abandoned after hours and on weekends, doesn’t show a lot of enthusiasm for making changes. Hopefully some of that $12 billion being funneled into the city center is earmarked for some huge, multi-story parking lots. But that’s only part of a larger problem, and personally I don’t even know where to begin addressing the rest.