LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Citing safety concerns for pedestrians, food trucks, sidewalk vendors and musical acts will not be allowed inside a four-block radius of the monthly Downtown Art Walk, city officials said Wednesday.
Last month, a driver near Spring and Fourth jumped the curb and hit pedestrians on the sidewalk, including a 2-month-old in a stroller that suffered fatal injuries.
A task force of officials from the public works, public safety and transportation departments made the decision to limit movement in and around the walk, in an effort to make it easier for pedestrians to move about freely.
Art Walk is held on the second Thursday of the month with dozens of food trucks, vendors, crafts, and performers. What started as an open house for several galleries in 2004, has grown into a major event drawing an estimated 30,000 patrons at any time in an around the old bank district.
Council persons Jan Perry and Jose Huizar represent the districts covered by the various downtown streets that make up the Art Walk. They issued a joint statement Wednesday praising the new guidelines. “We’re hopeful that the safety changes we’re implementing for tomorrow’s art walk will allow us to reduce large crowds drawn to non-art related activities,” they wrote.
Matt Geller, CEO of the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association, however says his group believes these new guidelines are an overreaction to a terrible tragedy. “We’re disappointed that the action from the city was knee-jerk,” he said.
Geller believes pushing food trucks that far from the main event might make it economically unfeasible for many to continue to participate.
Joe Moller, executive director of the board of Downtalk Art Walk, said his group welcomes the new regulations despite maintaining “there was no casual relationship between the tragic incident and the Art Walk.”
The accident in July, he cautioned, was the first in the Art Walk’s seven-year history and pedestrians are injured by cars jumping curbs about 300 times a year.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)