The “Bringing Back Broadway” campaign aims to revitalize downtown Los Angeles by tapping into the city’s historical core. Plans include restoring historic theaters, designing more pedestrian-friendly streets, and installing a streetcar. The “Broadway Streetscape Master Plan,” finalized in February this year by City Planning, is one of LA’s first examples of a “Complete Street” project. The initial stages of the project will launch Fall 2013, costing about $1.2 million.
The public-private partnership initiative will:
- Reduce the current six lanes of traffic down to three
- Widen sidewalks to accomodate streetside dining
- Reactivate inactive theaters, like what has been done with the Los Angeles Theater, The Palace Theater, and The Orpheum
- Reactivate more than a million square feet of vacant commercial space
- Assist retailers and prevent further retail vacancies
- Encourage cultural, entertainment and retail uses on Broadway
- Create a sense of place and history through urban planning, historic preservation, urban design, lighting design and streetscapes
Later this year, a semi-permanent pedestrianization of Broadway will begin in a phase called the “Dress Rehearsal.” The urban streetscape design is similar to the Jan Gehl pedestrianizations of Times Square and Herald Square in New York City.
As for the streetcar, it will make stops at the Civic Center, the Financial District, Pershing Square, Broadway and more. Construction for the streetcar, which includes the final design and engineering, track installation, construction of a maintenance facility and the purchasing of street cars will take place from from 2013 to 2015.
Other initiatives of Bringing Back Broadway include a creative mixed-use Broadway Arts Center, which has received a $10,000 planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Creative Arts Corridor, facade lighting grants, and the establishment of a Broadway Signage District that encourages the use of neon!
According to Streetsblog, almost all of LA’s retail was Downtown in 1900. Broadway was Downtown LA’s beating core with 34 theaters, restaurants and retail stores. Bringing Back Broadway is a great first step to revitalize Downtown LA, but we have a hunch it’s going to take more than streetscaping. According to Mark Vallianatos for Streetsblog, an integrative strategy of planning for centers, setting minimum density standards, reducing parking requirements, planing for affordable housin and alternative transit like bike and car sharing are also necessary to bring back Downtown LA’s legendary status.
Additional reporting by Michelle Young.