Los Angeles Streetcars and the downtown Broadway Theatre District

Feb 27, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Did you know that Los Angeles used to have the “Largest Trolley System in the World?”

With a fleet of over 900 electric trolley cars, covering over 1,100 miles of track, Los Angeles was the leader in streetcar transport and tracks.

Alas, it died a slow death when the last streetcar was put into “cold storage” in 1963.

Here’s a blast from our past:

The video above is LA circa 1950 or so. Even then, LA’s refined look attracted people from around the nation, and the world over, now a half a century ago.

Old LA

But that was then, and this is now:

Streetcars are making a comeback, but in a much smaller way.

Although today is Sunday—we’re not showing another edition of Travelin’ Local’s Sunday Afternoon at the Theatre—because our goal is to keep you informed about our past, in order understand our present.

Ergo, a mini-break to talk about streetcars.

As evidenced from the title, streetcars and the theatres are related.

They are part of the “new” streetcar movement:

The goal is for the downtown streetcar system to run up or down Broadway and link to other destinations in downtown, such as LA Live and the Convention Center on one end and the Bunker Hill/Music Center area on the other. Source:  Bringing Back Broadway

To be sure, that’s the same Broadway that’s home to all of Travelin’ Local’s Sunday Afternoon at the Theatres stories we’ve covered to date.

Example of a modern streetcar from Portland

In February, 2010, the City of Los Angeles submitted an application to the Federal Transit Authority Urban Circulator grant program, requesting $25 million for the Downtown LA Streetcar’s to be brought back.

Even though the total project cost is estimated to be around $100 million, a $25 million dollar grant would definitely be a step in the right direction.

The plan is to get the new streetcar system up and running by 2014.

Let’s hope for the best.

Isn’t it amazing how history repeats itself? Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t quote Santayana whose famous dictum is only too true—“Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

LA might no longer boast about having the largest trolley system anymore, but at a minimum, we’re striving to bring back Broadway one trolley car at at time.

Subscribe via RSSIf you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or bringing Travelin’ Local home with you via the RSS feed.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Culture, Downtown, Los Angeles, SoCal
No Responses to “Los Angeles Streetcars and the downtown Broadway Theatre District”

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv Enabled