Art Walk Can't Become 'a Mardi Gras Type of Event:' L.A. City Hall Looks at Reining it in Following Death of Infant
It looks like City Hall wants to make downtown's burgeoning Art Walk a safer place for hipsters after a 2-month-old boy was killed in an accident during a crowded version of the event earlier this month.
A 22-year-old without a drivers license was attempting to parallel park July 14 when the Cadillac he was driving jumped a curb and hit the baby in its stroller.
The tragedy prompted criticism of the event's throngs and evolution as a bar-fueled party night, even though cops said the driver had not been drinking and the victim was on the sidewalk. One gallery owner has even suggested ...
... that the city shut down major streets such as Spring and Main for the walk.
The proposal today by Councilman Jose Huizar and Councilwoman Jan Perry would create a task force "review traffic, crowd maintenance and other public safety measures during the Art Walk events, which happen on the second Thursday of every month," in the words of City News Service.
Victor Wilde, owner of The Brutique at The Last Bookstore (453 S. Spring St.), has been gathering signatures in support of calling on City Hall to close the streets around the event.
But that idea is apparently not on the table. Huizar spokesman Rick Coca:
The LAPD has been pretty solid in their opposition to that for the reason that they believe it would actually drastically increase the number of people that are there and turn it into what they called a Mardi Gras type of event.
He acknowledged that Art Walk partiers are an issue:
You get people who are there to appreciate the art and want to go to the galleries. Then you also have another contingent of people who are there more for the street fair atmosphere. We have to look at ways to control that.
Fewer food trucks and a limit on live music in parking lots could help do the trick, he said.
The task force would look at "immediate" measures that could make the next walk, on Aug. 11, safer.
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