Putting money toward downtown trolleys
The dream of bringing streetcars back to Broadway will face a key test this week at the Community Redevelopment Agency. Backers are seeking $5 million to jump-start the effort. Officials think trolleys would make it easier for people to get around downtown, and also boost efforts to remake Broadway (and its historic movie palaces) into a entertainment district. This from Councilman Jose Huizar, a big supporter of the streetcar system:
"This vote represents an opportunity for the public sector to demonstrate its commitment to bringing a modern streetcar system to downtown Los Angeles as soon as possible. When we first kicked off 'Bringing Back Broadway,' the streetcar seemed like it would be the cherry on top of the sundae — something we would do much further down the road. But we now realize the powerful effect a streetcar system will have on economic development and revitalization of our entire downtown area. It’s clear we need to do this right away. We intend to ride a streetcar downtown by 2014."
The Times' Cara Mia DiMassa reported earlier this year: "The revitalization is already creating something of a culture clash. While the downtown development boom has brought thousands of mostly white-collar professionals into lofts and luxury high-rises, Broadway has for decades been the premier shopping destination for working-class Latinos. Along the rows of bridal shops, discount stores and shopping arcades, some Broadway merchants agree the street could use a face-lift but wonder if the city's plans include them."
Artist's rendering from "Bringing Back Broadway"