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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) today announced a new partnership with city, county and neighborhood organizations to open a community market where vendors can sell their goods outside the portal to the Westlake/MacArthur Metro Red/Purple Line Station.
Metro has brokered an agreement among L.A. City Council Member Gil Cedillo, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Central City Neighborhood Partners and Union de Vendedores Ambulantes (Union of Street Vendors) to launch a one-year pilot street vending project at the station. The agreement seeks to allow street vending on the station’s plaza, but in a regulated manner to achieve a host of goals. These include minimizing blight and disorder at the station, eliminating unpermitted street vending, reducing crime, ensuring safe boarding and alighting of bus patrons and transforming the station plaza into an inviting community environment.
“This street vending initiative is the first-of-its-kind on the Metro System,” said John Fasana, Metro Board Chair and Mayor Pro Tem of the Duarte City Council. “We’ve been able to come up with a win-win solution that helps hardworking entrepreneurs in Westlake/MacArthur Park earn a living while helping keep our station accessible to all riders. If successful, it could potentially lead to similar arrangements on other parts of the Metro system.”
The city and county of Los Angeles have pooled financial resources to fund pilot program expenses over the next year. These include various permits, maintenance and security costs. There is no cost to Metro. The program will be administered by Central City Neighborhood Partners, a community nonprofit street vendor membership organization that will keep records of vendor applications and coordinate member contributions as well operating costs. Fees will be collected by Union de Vendedores.
Starting today, a total of 34 booths and 68 spaces will be made available on a daily basis for local street vendors. One booth will be made available for local nonprofits to conduct outreach and education on a rotating basis. Extra security as well as restroom facilities will also be provided.
“The Westlake/Macarthur Park station is the most active and congested station for street vending on the entire Metro system,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “This pilot program is a great idea that strongly supports our commitment to provide a safe and quality experience for all our customers.”
Central Cities Neighborhood Partners will organize an advisory committee to process applications and conduct a lottery for selection of pilot market members. To be an active member of the community market, the street vendor must be a local resident or demonstrate at least a year selling in the area.
“The Street Vending Pilot Program at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Plaza will provide street vendors in the First Council District with the dignity and respect they deserve while trying to earn an honest living,” said Gil Cedillo, L.A. City Council Member. “It has taken a County-City partnership with Metro and multiple departments to bring to life this innovative program that will create a permitting process for street vendors at one specific location in my district. It is truly a win-win-win situation for all involved.”
“As a Metro board member, my priorities are the communities’ priorities,” said Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “The County, Metro, and the city of Los Angeles have been working hard to bring mobility, accessibility, and safe streets to our communities. I’m happy to launch this pilot program that represents a favorable compromise between safe access to the transit system while advancing the ability for local residents to earn a living. I look forward to a successful program over the next year.”
The initiative is part of Metro efforts to establish innovative “Problem-Oriented Policing” strategies to address long-term concerns about blight and disorder at stations. The strategy aims to reduce crime by involving public and private organizations in the reduction of community problems.
“This program gives us the opportunity to shift from a response-based policing model to a problem-oriented approach,” said Alex Wiggins, Chief Systems Security and Law Enforcement Officer at Metro. “Metro has successfully partnered with external stakeholders to solve problems rather than rely alone on enforcement. Metro is transforming stations affected by blight and disorder into safe and attractive places to access transit.”