Amanda Drago
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Is Los Angeles Banning Cars From Broadway?

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Broadway in Los Angeles
Broadway in Los Angeles
Photo: Downtowngal

A Los Angeles City Councilmember is attempting to make a car-free zone on Broadway. The hope is that the ban would not only make the area safer for pedestrians but also boost business in the area.

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Background and potential effects of the ban

Councilmember Jose Huizar decided to introduce the motion, which would designate a 1.5-mile stretch of Broadway as a car-free zone. The proposed ban would occur between First street and Twelfth street.

Although private vehicles would not be able to drive in that area, buses, bikes, scooters, and pedestrians would be permitted. If put in place, the ban would be the first arrangement of the sort in Los Angeles. Huizar said in a statement that the ban would “enhance businesses and contribute to the further revitalization of the area.”

Broadway has been a popular location for entertainment and shopping over the years. Recently, Huizar has been committed to working on his Bringing Back Broadway program, through which he has helped grow the nightlife and resurrect historic theaters. Its iconic Tower Theatre building has also added several new businesses as of late.

Back in 2014, work was completed on Broadway to create wider sidewalks and a smaller number of traffic lanes. Huizar believes that taking the reconfiguration a step further by prohibiting vehicles entirely would “create a truly multimodal street that will offer residents, workers, and visitors options for safe and convenient travel.”

Many environmentalists approve of car bans in key areas since they can encourage individuals to opt for more sustainable means of travel, like public transportation or bikes. Downtown Los Angeles also has plans for a streetcar that pedestrians could take, though little information has been released about the project.

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San Francisco also created a car-free zone in Market Street just last month in hopes of increasing pedestrian safety. If will be interesting to see if and how Huizar’s motion affects Los Angeles’ Broadway.