The Atlantic Cities observed last week that it was remarkable Los Angeles is thinking of narrowing Broadway's busy stretch downtown to three lanes as part of a plan to make the street more pedestrian friendly. This is in the part where the new Broadway boosters supported by Councilman Jose Huizar are rejuvenating the old movie palaces and connecting the theaters with other parts of Downtown by trolley loop.
Los Angeles has a great deal of walkability despite its car-centric reputation, but much of it remains hidden to the public. In the city's historic Broadway corridor, at least, that secret is about to come out. The city council recently voted to fund an initial redevelopment of Broadway into a legitimate pedestrian plaza — reducing six lanes of road down to three in the process....
The proposed changes will alter Broadway to its core. Instead of five travel lanes plus a "ghost" sixth lane for buses, the street will devote just three lanes to traffic and extend sidewalks and curbs for walking. Transit will be enhanced, too, with improvements to bus service and groundwork for a streetcar line the city hopes to bring to the corridor.
All told, Broadway's reconfiguration will increase pedestrian share of the road from 38 percent, at present, up to 47 percent — just about going halfsies with cars.
The goal is to rejuvenate a Broadway strip that's lost much of its historic charm, at least according to the master plan. While shoppers do flock to the area during the day, at night the street is largely shuttered to business. Some of the old theaters have even been converted into non-entertainment venues, though many have agreed to revive their previous roles once the street changes take place.