Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Seen Any Headless Horsemen Downtown Lately? Well... Just Wait!

Downtown’s Haunted Walk of Horror!

If you missed the haunted house attractions of last Halloween, you can still get your thrills and chills by simply walking the single darkest and scariest place in all Downtown; the two terror filled blocks between the front door of Ralphs and the 7th and Hope subway stop.

Now this surprisingly deserted pathway should be well lit to encourage people to get to Ralphs by subway rather than getting in their cars and driving; but, instead, this corridor of darkness seems to have been lit for a night shoot of Icabod Crane’s immortal encounter with the headless horseman. If CIM had deliberately decided to create barrier between the subway and Ralphs to keep us subway-riding riffraff out of their stores, they could not have done a better job.

This free of charge thrill ride begins once you leave the front door of Ralph’s and start to head east; after you pass the glass walls of Ralphs, and once the corner coffee shop closes, darkness ensues and hope vanishes. There is no exterior lighting anywhere on that side of that building that directly lights the sidewall.

Then upon turning the corner onto the ironically called ‘Hope’ Street to head north – all hope becomes extinguished since there not one exterior light that shines directly on the side walk (and only a few pale lights barely illuminating the side of the building). Not a single light brightens your path until you approach the canopy over the front door. Then, even when you do reach those few lights, they are placed so high as to be almost useless; they dispense little light on the sidewalk – even on the rare occasion those lights aren’t burned out.

And that’s the good news!

It then gets darker and darker the rest of the block. From then on – on both sides of the street – the sidewalks are just barely illumined by the dimmest of dim lights in all Los Angeles – excepting possibly a few dim bulbs at City Hall. Even by the impossibly low standards of downtown street lights – these barely provide enough light to create even a pale shadow.

So while I used to see people walking the subway stop at night after Ralphs first opened, and even though there are more people in the store at night, it’s been weeks since I’ve seen even a single person make that walk from the subway in the evening. People simply do not feel safe walking along streets when it's too dark to recognize the faces of the people walking towards you.

So what needs to be done?

First, CIM needs to attach lights on all sides of ALL their buildings that are not just decorative – but lights that actually provide enough light on the sidewalks so pedestrians will feel comfortable. Then they need to realize how dark their sidewalks are once the light in the stores have been turned out and light the outsides of their buildings so that the sidewalks feel safe even when the stores are closed.

Lastly, CIM needs to get the city to put real light bulbs in the street lights (and fix the ones that are broken) so the rest of the block (and the next block before the subway stop) is bright enough at night for people to feel comfortable walking.

It’s either that – or keep a sharp eye out for the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow.


Sun Follower said...

So... what about the subways between the hours of let's say 10pm and midnight - are those safe to ride?

Just askin' since you have such an insight into the downtown life ;)

Brady Westwater said...

I have never encountered any danger of any kind in all the years I have been riding the subway. A few people who loudly talk to themselves, but never anything worse than that. I also walk the streets of Downtown well past 1 AM and even when Main Street was filled with drug dealers, I have never had a problem.