Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Revival by Restaurant

An article in this month's Governing magazine by Alan Ehrenhalt raises an interesting debate about how to best revitalize old downtowns. Ehrenhalt highlights Tyron Street in Charlotte, where new restaurants, housing, and bars have helped bring back a great street that had declined in recent years (Hollywood Blvd., anyone?), but where there are few places to shop. He offers that retail may be a critical component of any overall revitalization strategy.

As councilmember, I have worked hard to bring back Hollywood Blvd. and other main streets (Glendale Blvd. in Atwater Village, Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Hollywood) throughout my district and it is clear that the most successful ones balance not only close-by housing and great places to grab a drink, a cup of coffee, or a good meal, but that also have good shopping as well.

In the past few years, we have been aggressively focused on helping neighborhood-based shopping survive and thrive in our district. From new bakeries to clothing stores, from mixed-use housing to music venues, we have worked hard with small business owners to give residents more of what they need in their own neighborhood. If we can give people a place to buy a gift, some paint, or flowers as well as a place to sit down to eat, we can build the high-quality neighborhoods we all want and help reduce traffic to boot. What do you think?