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Coordinating Transit for Downtown Culture

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2007, at 01:25PM

Comments on the recent resident survey have focused a lot on how much or how little Downtowners use public transportation. Personally I think the stat that 17% of Downtown residents walk or ride a bike to work is one of the most fascinating numbers in there. That aside, it's safe to say that a vast majority of those both in and out of Downtown never avail themselves to public transit options.

One local case where transit has been very successful is in getting patrons to the Hollywood Bowl. Around each performance buses make their way in from across the county, allowing the Bowl to fill almost 18,000 seats while having very limited parking.

Yesterday Wendy Gruel, Jan Perry and Tom Labonge filed a motion asking that a task-force be convened to figure out how to apply this same transit-friendly approach to Downtown's cultural venues. Downtown is already the region's transit hub, so there's a lot already in place to work with. Certainly a large dose of marketing and organized service could serve as a great catalyst for event patrons to make better use of transit.

The motion PDF hasn't made its way onto the City's Council File Index just yet, but I've copied its text after the jump.

Photo of Disney Hall by eecue.

Motion text

The performing art and music venues in downtown Los Angeles are one of the greatest assets in the City. They are home to world-class music and theater which is a cultural resource to the entire region. Unfortunately patrons are becoming reluctant to visit these venues from areas outside downtown due to traffic. Extreme traffic levels have made a visit to a Friday night performance from the Westside and West Valley extremely difficult due to unpredictable traffic conditions or long travel times.

The Hollywood Bowl currently uses buses to bring visitors to performances, reducing the number of vehicles traveling to Hollywood. Fewer vehicles on the streets reduces traffic for the neighborhood, reduces air pollution, and removes the stress of traveling to the event.

In an effort to preserve the accessibility of our performing arts venues and improve the experience for visitors to these venues, the City must find more efficient and enjoyable ways for people to travel to special events. Specially tailored public transit service for cultural events, such as shuttles to performances, would also serve as added incentive to increase ridership. Such positive exposure to public transportation could also serve as a much needed catalyst for increasing overall ridership, above and beyond just special events.

THEREFORE MOVE that a task-force be formed to address potential strategies for maximizing mass transit usage for special events. This taskforce should include representatives of LADOT, METRO, and major special event venues in downtown Los Angeles such as The Music Center, Disney Hall, and Staples Center.

FURTHER MOVE that the task force report to the Council in 60 days with suggestions to improve the utilization of public transportation from the outlying areas of the City to special events in downtown Los Angeles, including potential public-private partnerships, reexamination of existing routes and transit assets, and suggestions for new improved transit service.

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