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Lengthy Closure Brings Everything but Cars to Chick Hearn Court

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 02:05PM
Road Closed Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Chick Hearn Court between L.A. Live and Staples Center has been closed to traffic since July 3. When it reopens after August 3, it will have been closed for a month.

Over the past month, Chick Hearn Court has hosted elephants, media risers, skateboarders, basketball players and a red carpet. The one thing missing? Cars.

The one block stretch of road that separates Staples Center from Nokia Plaza was closed on Wednesday, July 1, a few days after pop star Michael Jackson passed away. It has remained blocked off ever since.

The question is, has anyone missed it?

On June 5, City Council approved CF 08-1669, a motion designating the ESPY Awards and X Games as a special event. As part of the motion, Chick Hearn Court was approved for closure between July 11 and August 3.

The closure ended up starting earlier, when reports that a Jackson memorial service would be held at Staples started to firm up. LAPD closed the street on Wednesday, July 3.

That's not to say that it sat idle.

Chick Hearn Court quickly turned into a media staging area in the lead-up to the Jackson service, and risers were built on the street and Nokia Plaza to hold the hordes of cameras that descended on the event.

After that cleared, the street stayed busy. On July 10, 710 ESPN held "710 Day" and used the closed street for a basketball court and games. The ESPY Awards were held in Nokia Theatre on July 15, and the street was used for a media tent and red carpet arrivals.

A few days before the Jackson news, the street had been separately closed when the plaza hosted a kickoff for X Games ticket sales and Chick Hearn Court was converted into a skatepark.

Even aside from special events, the closure has proved convenient for those attending events at Staples Center, allowing them to easily walk from L.A. Live to the arena without having to travel to crosswalk at Figueroa.

Earlier this year, City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Transportation and AEG (CF 08-3401) that would allow more frequent closures for the street. Automated bollards are installed in the pavement, in theory allowing the street to be closed without bringing in barricades.

One would suspect that AEG plans to implement the MOU this fall, when the Lakers and Clippers get back underway. At that point, Chick Hearn should spend just as much time closed as it does open. One doubts anyone will really mind.


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