Ashlee Polarek | PR Manager
Once the king of all West Coast cities, Los Angeles was the city people wanted to live in or visit. But somewhere along the line it lost its glitz, glam and crown. Although it seems that the great city has declined, Los Angeles still attracts millions of tourists according to the LA tourism and convention board—42.2 million in 2013 to be exact.
Even with rising numbers in tourism, the city of angels is in need of a renaissance. Currently a massive revitalization process is taking place in Los Angeles. Its goal? To make LA a bright, shining city once again. Investors are putting money into new and old developments, buildings are getting remodeled and entire districts are receiving much-needed face lifts. The future of LA is looking up. While the entire downtown renaissance movement won’t be completed until 2020, small projects are being finished monthly. Transportation is becoming more modern and efficient and there’s going to be a lot more green space in the new LA.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has taken huge strides in an effort to modernize and urbanize the city’s transportation system. Currently in the process of expanding, improving and connecting more bike lanes, the city hopes to make biking safer and more convenient for Angelenos. In 2016, the city will launch its first bike share program. With 65 stations and more than 1,000 bikes, anyone who signs up for the program will be able to borrow a bike to get where they need to go in downtown LA.
Robert Sanchez of the LADOT commented, “It’s a program that is geared around making bicycles available pretty much to everyone who signs up with the program, it’s mostly designed for short trips in and around downtown.”
A bigger quantity and better quality of bike lanes and bike paths are being created in Los Angeles, making way for more opportunities and higher safety for cyclists.
The LADOT is planning to connect existing metro rail lines to others for a more efficient transfer system. The regional connector’s goal is to connect the Metro Gold Line to the Blue, Expo, Red and Purple lines by bypassing Union Station. According to Metro.net, passengers will be able to ride from Azusa to Long Beach, or from East LA to Santa Monica without transferring lines. There is even talk of a street car making its way to LA.
Upgrading the Art District
The new Broad Museum has been the talk of the town, with a waiting list spanning into January. The free contemporary art museum is doing well in its first month. Home to 2,000 works of contemporary art the $140 million dollar building hosts massive galleries and a small park, the museum has transformed the art scene of Los Angeles.
Museum director and veteran curator Joanne Heyler recently told AP in a tour of the museum, “Los Angeles is now a place, a city where if you’re serious about collecting contemporary art, if you’re serious about understanding contemporary art, you cannot not come here.”
The Peterson Automotive Museum is receiving upgrades for its 21st birthday. With the addition of 100,000 square feet, Disney/Pixar Cars Characters, Forza 6 racing simulators, virtual tours for iPhone and iPad and more, the museum hopes to bring in car enthusiasts and curious visitors from all over.
The Arts District in LA has also undergone its own remodel, including the additions of new housing and studio complexes, hip restaurants, vegan paradises and a high-end collection of restaurants and boutiques. Come 2016 the Arts District will no longer be a place to avoid, but a place to view art, buy art and make art once again.
Cleaning LA’s Waterway
Running 51 miles through countless cities in Southern California, the Los Angeles River is in dire need of a clean up. According to Curbed LA, “The US Army Corps of Engineers has promised a $1-billion revitalization for roughly 11 miles running between Downtown and Griffith Park.”
And although much of the effort for cleaning up the LA River has been focused downtown there are plans in the works for cleaning up all 32 miles of the river that run through the city of Los Angeles.
The project is supposed to protect wildlife, enhance water quality, celebrate neighborhoods and promote the health of the river. The project will improve and add to green spaces and bike and walking paths. The Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, complete with a pair of parks, will be finished sometime in summer 2016, offering residents an escape into nature.
If you can’t wait for these new parks and the clean and updated river, visitors can kayak a section of the LA River. For a small fee, kayakers will follow a guide across small rapids and see rare wildlife in an underground spring all within an urban setting.
Steven Appleton of LA River Kayak Safari discussed the importance of people caring for and exploring the LA River.
“People are surprised you’re walking along one level and you’re seeing small factories and then you drop down to the river and you’re surrounded by plants, birds, there are fish and there is wildlife. The value of it is education, stewardship, recreation and having a vision of what it would be like to have a park plan in an urban situation.”
Bringing Back Broadway
Rest assured, the historic downtown theater district of Los Angeles won’t be left out of the renaissance movement going on. LA city council member José Huizar has a 10 year plan to bring the district back to its prime.
The theater district has already seen the beginning of the remodel when famous Grand Central Market received desperately needed improvements in 2014. Now the space hosts hipster coffee shops, unique eateries and specialized markets, including a cheese and flower shop as well as a butcher.
The broadway district was the original home of the route 66 and was the birthplace of vaudeville and cinematic entertainment in LA. According to bringingbackbroadway.com The ten year project aims to reactivate inactive theaters, improve on infrastructure, increase parking and transit options, create “sidewalk dining”, assist retailers and bring back downtown streetcars.