Did you hear Los Angeles is officially one of four cities representing the United States’ bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games? The U.S. Olympic Committee made the announcement on Wednesday night, and while some locals may balk at the potential pitfalls of hosting an event of this magnitude, I think there’s plenty of kick-ass ways the Olympics coming back to L.A. would be fantastic for our city.
Here’s 5 of those reasons below.
1. We Already Have the Basic Infrastructure
Unlike some less developed countries or cities where they build a bunch of pop-up stadiums and make-shift infrastructure (I’m looking at you, Sochi and Rio), Los Angeles is already equipped to deal with an event on this scale. In fact, because of our previous success hosting the 1984 games and the scope and size of our city, I think of few better places in the world to host a games than L.A.
Think of it like this: It would be asinine for a family of four living on a middle income to buy a huge mansion way beyond their means SPECIFICALLY to host an awesome Thanksgiving for their extended family. No matter how sweet the occasion was, it would leave the family debt ridden and with a bunch of space they’d probably never use.
What makes sense is to pick the relative with the biggest place and easiest access to get to and host at their house.
So yeah… L.A. is your rich uncle!
2. It Could Actually Reduce Traffic? Yup
Did you know that the two weeks of which the 1984 Olympics took place in Los Angeles was actually one of the least congested (traffic wise) periods in the history of our city?
According the L.A. City Beat (via governing.com), the list of innovations and tactics for decreasing traffic during that time included the following:
“More car-pooling and bus-riding. Major incident response teams were on full alert, around the clock. Traffic flows on Figueroa and Flowers streets were switched to one-way. Commercial deliveries were made at night. Telephone hot lines kept the public informed. School buses were used to shuttle attendees, the press, and athletes to different sites. Employers allowed their workers to have flexible shifts or work from home. A specific traffic management plan was put into motion each day.”
The result: Because of a number of innovative ideas implemented during that time congestion was reduced by about 60 percent, and truck traffic was down by as much as 16 percent during peak periods. Pretty cool, right?
The optimist in me says we could do it again. It just takes the right motivation…
3. Speeding Up Construction of Public Transit and Infrastructure
What if we were to get ‘Yes’ votes on all public measures to improve public transit over the next few years? What if opposition to these projects was muffled by the fear of the possible cluster fuck if we didn’t get our public transit in line by the time the Olympics showed up?
Well wouldn’t that be special…
4. Spike in Revenue for Local Businesses
This is your classic ‘bring dollars to the locals’ argument and, frankly, and on the surface, this sounds almost too good to be true. But to be fair you need to look at the whole picture.
As a city on the whole Olympics games tend to be less than profitable for their host cities, but on the flip side, because of the existing infrastructure, L.A. really does have a chance to make this a more profitable venture, just like we did in ’84.
Essentially, I’m betting we would be the exception rather than the rule, and either way, the local businesses who have nothing but upside will love the extra money flowing through the market.
5. You Could Drive… And Go Watch the Olympics!
Seriously, for most people this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. And those who were here in 1984, well then damn, twice in a lifetime is even better, right?
Granted, this is all not to say there couldn’t be downsides to hosting the Olympics. Public transit improvements could get stalled, traffic could be worse than anticipated, hell, local politicians
will almost certainly could use it as an opportunity for a cash-grab rather than to make genuine improvements… there’s even the chance (however tiny) of being a target of terrorism because of the profile of the event.
But on the whole, I think it’s a good thing, and I’m hoping we win the bid (though we’re still a ways off from that coming to fruition).
What do you think?