LOS ANGELES — A community market opened March 30 outside the portal to the Westlake-MacArthur Red-Purple Line Station where street vendors can sell their goods.
The market, a one-year pilot program and the first to be located at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority station, was created in partnership with the city, county and neighborhood organizations.
“This street vending initiative is the first-of-its-kind on the MTA system,” said John Fasana, MTA board chair. “We’ve been able to come up with a win-win solution that helps hard-working 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 MTA system.”
Street vending in Los Angeles was only decriminalized in February, but still is against the law and punishable by citation. The City Council and city attorney’s office currently are working to draft a policy that will create a permitting system to regulate the industry.
MTA spokesman Dave Sotero said the vendors will operate on MTA property, not city sidewalks, and have been given permits to do it so the market is fully legal.
The MTA said the deal to open the market was reached through an agreement among City Councilman Gil Cedillo, county Supervisor Hilda Solis, Central City Neighborhood Partners and Union de Vendedores Ambulantes (Union of Street Vendors).
“The Street Vending Pilot Program at the Westlake/MacArthur Park MTA Plaza will provide street vendors in the First Council District with the dignity and respect they deserve while trying to earn an honest living,” Cedillo said. “It has taken a county-city partnership with the MTA 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.”
There is no cost to the MTA to operate the market, and it will be administered by Central City Neighborhood Partners, a community nonprofit street vendor membership organization, and Union de Vendedores.
“The Westlake-Macarthur Park station is the most active and congested station for street vending on the entire system,” said MTA 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.”