Some small businesses to receive compensation
By Kai McNamee
As construction on the LA Metro’s Purple Line extension continues, have some local businesses in Westwood have faced losses in revenue?
Interruptions to local businesses have been a concern for LA Metro since the beginning of Purple Line construction: LA Metro announced last month that the Business Interruption Fund (BIF) would be expanded to the Westside. Under the BIF program, small businesses located on Wilshire Boulevard would be able to apply for compensation from the $10,000,000 fund. But few small businesses in Westwood are located on Wilshire Boulevard, making very few Westside businesses eligible for compensation.
This poses a problem for some businesses located in Westwood. Margarita Barba, an employee of Ike’s Place Sandwiches, believes traffic due to Purple Line construction has caused a temporary slowdown in business. Barba described business as “really slow,” and is hopeful that sales will pick up again after the construction ends.
Alfredo Basilas, an employee of D’Amore’s Pizza, similarly blames traffic for slow business in Westwood. But Basilas explained traffic has been a problem for Westwood businesses long before Purple Line construction began. Traffic between Wilshire, the 405 freeway and Sunset Boulevard — compounded with strict parking enforcement and a lack of parking space — creates a “scary” deadlock for potential costumers, Basilas said. To Basilas, the current traffic problem is 30 years in the making; Westwood’s growing population has resulted in an increase in the number of cars on the road, making the area difficult to access.
For other businesses, however, the Purple Line construction has created no noticeable impacts. Cassidy Blauvelt, an employee of TLT Food, said most of their customers come from the offices around Westwood and UCLA. According to Blauvelt, TLT Food’s “foot central” location has helped business despite the increase in motor traffic — Blauvelt also believes the rise of electric scooters like Bird and Lime have helped keep Westwood accessible.
Similarly, Jared Oh, an employee of SenSai Fresh Japanese Grill, has not noticed any lost business due to Purple Line construction. Oh explained that in the 12 years he has worked in Westwood, traffic has always been an issue, but Purple Line construction hasn’t changed anything. Oh also explained that most of the construction work happens at times of the day when traffic is lighter.
Construction on the Westwood portion of the Purple Line is slated to be finished by 2026. The entire project, which ends with a terminal on the West LA VA campus, is estimated to be complete by 2027.