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Second Class Sidewalks

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, May 09, 2007, at 01:53PM
Street Staging at 717 W. 9th Eric Richardson [Flickr]

On the way to a meeting yesterday Bert Green and I were walking past the LAPD HQ construction at 1st and Main. Bert remarked that Los Angeles was the only place he'd seen where a sidewalk closed off by construction wasn't replaced by some sort of walkway blocked off in the street.

Sidewalks get closed off regularly Downtown, and it's entirely true that it's very rare to see that pedestrian linkage replaced. In fact the only spot Downtown where I can name a pedestrian accommodation is Flower street in front of 717 W. 9th (pictured). Even there I'd suspect we wouldn't see that walkway if it weren't for the fact that the opposite sidewalk has already long been closed by construction of Market Lofts.

More after the jump...

Off the top of my head I can think of the following current sidewalk closures Downtown:

  • LAPD HQ: 1st, Main, 2nd and Spring
  • Market Lofts: Flower (half block) and 9th
  • Hanover: Olympic
  • Concerto: Figueroa (half block), 9th and Flower (half block)
  • LA Live: Figueroa, Chick Hearn, Georgia and Olympic
  • 4th/Broadway: Broadway (half block), 4th (half block) -- both due to the fire back in February

There may well be others. Each presents a serious obstacle to pedestrian flow. Also, these closed stretches of sidewalk are dangerous. Regardless of the signs, it's inevitable that people take to the street itself in their attempt to get around.

As we continue to make Downtown's focus pedestrian oriented, I think it's time we start demanding that pedestrian access be accounted for in these sort of construction projects. Forcing those on foot to walk around to the other side of the block just continues to tell people that walking is a second-class form of transportation here in Downtown.


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