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Californians Wanted for Downtown "Staycations"

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, June 12, 2008, at 02:03PM
Chinatown Station Eric Richardson [Flickr]

The Gold Line travels through Chinatown. Transit plays heavy in the promotion of car-free vacations.

The Downtown Center BID kicked off a marketing campaign today that hopes to sell the idea of a Downtown getaway to those who live in California. The close-by stays are called "staycations," a silly term for a concept that has become more appealing given the high price of gas.

While the promotion includes package deals at several hotels, its most interesting aspect is a push to get visitors to leave the car at home and make their way Downtown via Amtrak. Service into Union Station is convenient from much of Southern California.

Car-free vacations are a great concept, but is Downtown's transportation system really set up to handle them? During the week DASH offers decent options, but the situation is much less friendly in the evenings and on the weekends. DASH routes stop running by 7pm, and the Metro rail lines run their last trains around midnight. Weekend DASH service is very limited, making it hard to move around inside Downtown. The highly circuitous Downtown Discovery route attempts to hit all of Downtown in one pass, and in doing so creates a 52 minute round-trip.

Whether Downtown's quite ready or not, it's good to see the concept getting a push. Downtown can make a great destination, and the ongoing rebirth is just going to continue to add more life to explore.

Update (June 19): The L.A. Stay-and-Play program now has a page on the DCBID's website.

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