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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (6)
  1. Darrell Griffin says:

    A totally stupid decision. But, what else is new.

  2. John Paul says:

    It began as an authentic, sophisticated art gallery collaborative with local character.

    It turned into a junk-culture experience with tacky vendors.

    Bring back the authentic art.

  3. Timothy McGarry says:

    Don’t worry folks- Jan and Jose are on the job.

  4. Kimberly says:

    The event is fun for people, and gives downtown great exposure to outlying Angelenos who would otherwise not even realize that downtown is becoming a place with a lot to offer, and would likely never entertain the idea of spending their dollars in Huizar and Perry’s districts.

    Being employed at a nearby bar, often times art walk Thursday is the most profitable weeknight all month for us, and this decision will hurt the local businesses and their employees at a time when the economy is precarious enough for tipped employees and the Mom & Pops.

    I don’t understand why they can’t just send a couple city workers out there to seal off a block or two for a few hours and allow the vendors only in that area, and give the pedestrians the entire center of the street to mill around. It’s not like our city ever has a problem spending money, right? Or get local businesses that profit most to help sponsor and fund crowd/traffic control costs.

    But our city’s solution is to want LESS people to come downtown for a good time and to spend money? Then why are us local employees working so hard and so proudly to build up downtown? I’ve been working in the nightlife of downtown for six years, and when I first took the job, it was a leap of faith, and we made very little money for a long time. After years of hearing “just wait, it’ll get better,” I’m actually able to pay my bills. But taking away a major incentive for attending art walk will take $200-$300 out of the pockets of myself and two of my coworkers every month. Not to mention the thousands it’ll cost my boss every month. That’ll probably affect his generosity toward his hard working staff come christmas bonus time.

    I hope Timothy is right and that our councilmembers are working to figure out a better solution to this, because it WILL hurt local businesses.

    Maybe I’ll just go work in Nevada, where I won’t have to pay state tax for the privilege of the local gov’t telling my customers to go spend their money somewhere else.

  5. Nobody Reads says:

    Many people go for the food trucks!
    Food is an Art
    and BabysBadAssBurgers are d’Bomb!!!

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