From the Archives: Declining pedestrian traffic at 7th Street and Broadway


Declining pedestrian traffic in downtown Los Angeles is documented by photos taken of the intersection of 7th Street and Broadway in 1926, 1958 and 1974

In a July 10, 1974, article, Times Urban Affairs Writer Ray Hebert reported:

Pedestrian activity has dropped about 30% in downtown Los Angeles since 1961, City Traffic Engineer S.S. Taylor reported Tuesday.

He said 1,118,900 pedestrian movements were counted at 274 mid-block points in a new central business district study compared to 1.7 million 13 years ago.

The downtown pedestrian survey, the first of its kind since 1961, showed that Broadway and 7th St. still ranks as downtown's busiest intersection, a role it has held for many years, Taylor said….

And as expected, the survey of downtown pedestrian characteristics shows that the greatest concentration of sidewalk activity occurs between noon and 1 p.m….

As an example of downtown's declining pedestrian activity, Taylor displayed photographs taken in 1923 and 1958 at Broadway and 7th St.

Each was taken about noon, with the 1958 photograph showing about 220 persons at the intersection. Twice that many were in the 1923 picture.

Photographs taken at the same location Tuesday showed another sharp reduction in the number of noon-time pedestrians.


These three photos accompanied Hebert's article in the July 10, 1974, Los Angeles Times.

The first photo, originally identified as taken in 1923, was actually taken between Nov. 12 and 19, 1926,– the week the movie "Syncopating Sue," starring Corinne Griffith, played at Loew's State Theatre.

This post was originally published on Feb. 22, 2013.

April 1958: Pedestrian traffic at 7th and Broadway about noon. According to a short Los Angeles Times article of April 16, 1958, the movies "The Brothers Karamazov" and "The High Cost of Loving'" opened at the State Theatre that day.
(Los Angeles Times)
July 9, 1974: Pedestrians around noon at intersection of 7th and Broadway.
(Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times)

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