Out of Control Policy Blog

Congested Culture

Later this month the LA Business Journal will publish a piece I wrote that examines how traffic congestion hurts the offbeat offerings that make cities interesting–basically establishments, from funky ethnic restaurants to performing arts venues, that serve niche markets.

The LAT's Steve Lopez explores the same general theme:

    [L.A. County Supervisor Zev] Yaroslavsky said it's a big topic at downtown cultural institutions, where they're wondering if traffic combat fatigue is keeping Westsiders from filling up seats at music, dance and theater events.

    ...

    [Santa Monica lawyer Kevin] Sheehy ... told me he and his wife subscribed to the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood several years ago, in part because the trips to downtown arts and entertainment events had become such a nightmare.

    And patrons at Wednesday night's chamber music performance at Disney Hall – which had 160 no-shows (people who bought tickets but didn't attend) – told me Westside bottlenecks are making it harder to justify the trek. David Nimmer, who lives in Beverly Hills, said he recently picked up his mother in Westwood at 6 p.m. and they missed a 7:30 curtain for the L.A. Opera.

    "It's definitely something I think about all the time," said his friend Robert Smith, who lives at Pico and Robertson boulevards and is reconsidering his commitment as a volunteer at a kosher food bank near downtown. "You have to be there at 6 o'clock, and you just can't go east after 4 in the afternoon."

Apart from one-way street conversions, I don't have much to agree with regarding the solutions discussed in the piece. But the whole thing is well worth reading.

Related: Congested Culture–Bay Area Edition

Related: Congested Business

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