Dozens of locals came out to Downtown Los Angeles' bustling Fashion District to critique the walking environment and offer suggestions for making it more appealing to visitors. Notes from the walk audit will be compiled into a preliminary report, which will serve as a guide to improving the area's walkability. Grant money from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will expire if not used by 2008, pushing leaders at the community Business Improvement District to generate concrete plans soon.
"'We're not at Times Square yet, but we're close,' said Kent Smith, executive director of the area's BID. 'Our district is 90 blocks. It's daunting in terms of people trying to get around.'"
"That the Fashion District needs the improvements is not in doubt. Like many parts of Downtown, sidewalks in the district are narrow and cracked in some places. Street "furniture" is mismatched in spots, crowds the walking area or is in disrepair. Elsewhere, access ramps direct people toward the center of intersections, instead of into the crosswalks."