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A Streetcar Named Downtown


Blog Downtown's Eric Richardson alerts us to progress (well, to starts) being made to create a streetcar system for downtown L.A. The streetcars, whose tracks are scheduled to be laid in 2012, should begin operating in 2014, and will connect South Park, Bunker Hill and the business district known as the Historic Core. (No, it's not Skid Row -- the core is that skinny commercial strip that flanks Broadway from Third to Ninth streets). The project is run by the nonprofit L.A. Streetcar Inc., which will host an open house in the Bradbury Building July 29, 3:30-7:30 p.m., to present the public with the grid's "conceptual alignments" -- basically, the routes.

Richardson interviews LASI's executive director, Dennis Allen, who's been on the job six months. Of special note to those concerned with social engineering issues that have been associated with the rise of work-live-shop corridors in Hollywood, is Allen's announcement that, while the primary idea behind defining a core-services area was to simply shuttle people between such popular destinations such as Staples/Convention Center and the Civic Center, there has also been a strategy to "route them through the locations they might not have known about or seen previously, like a Broadway corridor or Pico Blvd."

The reasoning here, according to Allen, is to use the streetcars as "a local circulator and transportation solution, and . . . as one of the best economic development tools to surface in recent times." Before some reach for their revolvers (or car keys) at what sounds like an "agenda," Allen assures us that nothing's written in asphalt yet.

"In the end," Allen told Richardson, "this streetcar system will need

to most adequately serve those who will be riding it. So we are open

and anxious to get as many opinions and comments from the public."

Again, that's the Bradbury Building, 304 S. Broadway, July 29, 3:30-7:30 p.m.

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