Bringing Back Broadway: The Vision

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Is the dream of a new Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles about to become a reality? You might want to snap some pictures now, because, in 5 years it might be unrecognizable. A new plan was unveiled today by Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. It’s a plan that, if successful, will change the face of Downtown and put a shine on one of the city’s greatest jewels.

There is one big red flag, after the jump!

Just a few of the exciting ideas proposed as part of Bringing Back Broadway’s 10-year plan:

  • Historic lighting design
  • Broadway history walk
  • Plans for using under-utilized upper floors for new uses (possibly residential)
  • Revival of a Downtown streetcar that would connect Broadway to L.A. Live and Grand Avenue

It looks like Huizar is headed in the right direction. His goal is to restore Broadway to its former glory and make it an attraction in its own right. Both safety and cleanliness are addressed, as well as attention to historic detail in signage and street lighting.

The one aspect of the Bringing Back Broadway plan that hits a nerve is parking. It is well known to residents and visitors that parking can be scarce Downtown. One of their “Keys to Success” was the following statement:

Parking for Broadway should be plentiful and easily accessible.

Part of the plan is to better utilize the parking structure at Pershing Square for Broadway patrons. But there is also a brief mention of a “new parking facility to serve Broadway.” Where will this “new parking facility” be constructed? Do we really want to encourage more people to drive cars into the heart of the city? Shouldn’t we be doing more to encourage ridership of existing Metro Rail lines? The Red, Blue, Purple, and future Expo lines all stop at 7th Street/Metro Center Station, which is 4 BLOCKS AWAY from Broadway. This 4-block strip on 7th is already in the crosshairs of a plan to establish a new Restaurant Row. There has also been a renewed push for a Downtown Connector that would enable a direct trip from the Gold Line.

5 rail lines into Downtown L.A., a revived streetcar line, and the Bringing Back Broadway plan is talking about building a new parking garage? That sounds a little irresponsible. I would much rather they concentrate on the Downtown Connector, encourage the use of taxis and pedicabs, and – God forbid – tell people to start walking.

Still, I’ll cut Jose some slack. Despite some of the negativity about the project with regards to even more evil gentrification, I think this is a good start.

Then again, we have heard this story before, haven’t we?

As always, Angelenic brings their A-game when it comes to DTLA. They report that efforts are underway to renovate the Cameo, Arcade, and Roxie theaters, and that the Orpheum will play host to Oliver! later this year.

It is almost as if L.A. is trying to be a real city… again.

Bringing Back Broadway – Official Site

10 Replies to “Bringing Back Broadway: The Vision”

  1. Well, there is a lot of emphasis put on the proposed streetcar system. But that’s a big suck that there’s literally no mention of public transportation other than that.

  2. Using the streetcar as circulator, the parking facility can be located at the south end of the corridor and carry patrons up into the heart of the district. It doesn’t need to be a facility right in the heart of Broadway. That said, there are already two garages at 7th and Broadway that just don’t get as big of mentions since they’re privately owned.

    Our recap of this morning’s unveiling event is here:

    http://blogdowntown.com/blog/3090

  3. Works for me. Transportation is a nice bit to bring back the glory since the Red Cars are gone.
    More importantly, recycling old buildings and giving them new life is preserving history which is the BIGGER plus in my book.

  4. isn’t there some work being done (at metro or city of la) to look at turning broadway into a transit mall – only allowing buses and bikes and peds? now that’d be cool.

  5. Jessica – There was talk of doing just that with Broadway. I may be wrong, but from looking at the .pdf on bringingbackbroadway.com, it looks like that plan has been replaced with this new one: a streetcar that co-exists with cars and pedestrians.

    You raise a good point, though… what about bikes?

  6. I formerly produced a number of successful non-profit events at the Orpheum Theatre when the general population was terrified of downtown including the successful Spook-a-thon Halloween Film Festival from 1989-2001 (BEFORE it was restored) and do not feel parking is an issue. Aside from Pershing Square which is close to the mid part of the district where the largest concentration of theatres are located, the south end of the district has large parking lots surrounding the Orpheum and adjacent to the closed Tower and Globe Theatre (now an urban-crowd weekend nightclub). The private parking structures are not large enough for major events and only hold 100-150 spaces which certainly could supplement parking, but not be relied on as being adequate in themselves.

    What needs to happen is that the Delajani Family who own 4 of the other key remaining theatres (L.A., State, Palace & now Tower) need to be given assurances from the City and the local powers that be–that their sizeable rehab investment of one or more of those theatres (L.A., Palace & Tower) will be justified. There also needs to be a coherent vision because over the years there have been numerous, ambitious plans which have ultimately failed. The main difference now is that an sizeable number of upscale loft & apartment residents have since moved in and the areas surrounding Broadway have drastically improved.

  7. Let’s at least be honest in naming this thing. “Bringing Back Broadway For White People.” For countless thousands of Latino immigrants, for many years, Broadway never went away.

    This revival-of-the-Red-Car thing smacks of gimmickry to attract tourists and yuppies. A little Potemkin “transit” system to make the place look more fauxthentically old-timey and replace those icky buses that only poor people use (apart from Metro Rail, many bus lines also come within blocks of the Broadway district). Since when is the City of LA serious about public transportation, anyway?

  8. What a dumb comment by Percival. I happen to be Latin and a 5th Generation Angelino and i would love to see many of those crap busineses pushed out of broadway. My grandfather is thrilled at the idea that he may live to once again see broadway restored to its former glory. This project will allow people of a higher economic status and all races to be able to enjoy broadway.

    I think its insulting of you to assume that only white people would be the only ones to enjoy a clean, thriving, restored, revamped, reused Broadway. Are you trying to say that Latins, Asians and Blacks wouldnt feel comfprtable shopping someplace clean, safe and nicer? If so then i believe your ultra leberalism has backfired on you.

    How sad that you feel the need to turn something positive into a racial issue.

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