Tito’s Owner Wrong About CicLAvia, Clarke Claims

Ari L. NoonanNews24 Comments

Photo: Gary McCarthy / Wave Newspapers

Re: “Outraged Owner Demands Relief from City” 

“The woman just does not understand what CicLAvia is all about,” City Councilman Jim Clarke said of Lynne Davidson, owner of Tito’s Tacos who is furious at City Hall for blocking off driving access to her hugely popular business on Sunday, Aug. 9.

“I wish I had mentioned this to her at the Council meeting,” Mr. Clarke said. “They estimate 150,000 people who will be participating in CicLAvia, who will be going by Tito’s Tacos.
“If one percent of the people stop at Tito’s Tacos, because people are familiar with Tito’s and they know Tito’s has great food, Tito’s will sell 1500 tacos,” Mr. Clarke said, his voice rising.

Ms. Davidson is threatening legal action, asserting that the city effectively is closing down her Washington Place business for a day – especially since virtually all customers arrive by car.

For this edition of CicLAvia, known as When Culver City Meets Venice, Washington Place will be off-limits to car traffic most of the business day, from about 8:30 to 4:30.

Mr. Clarke disputed Ms. Davidson’s charge that Washington Place will be blocked off for eight hours or more, during peak business hours.

“It is not blocked off,” Mr. Clarke said. “It is just that cars can’t travel on Washington Place.

“All of the bicycles and all people on foot will walk right by Tito’s Tacos.”

CicLAvia, a sprawling bicycling event that designed to discourage car driving, is marked by numerous closed-off streets, has made one previous appearance in Culver City.

24 Comments on “Tito’s Owner Wrong About CicLAvia, Clarke Claims”

  1. Paul Ehrlich

    Because hundreds of hungry pedestrians and bicycle riders are are going to pass by her restaurant during this event, I would expect the sales at the business will increase significantly. Therefore, the City of Culver City should sue her to recover any resultant sales “above average.”

  2. Tito's Regular

    Unless you already know about Tito’s, chances are you aren’t going to stop there over any other place. Most of their business is from repeat customers, and their new customers come via word-of-mouth. Anyone who doesn’t already know about Tito’s is going to think, “What a dive” and ride on by. And there are so many other eating places along the route, including a Farmers Market, I think 1 out of 100 people stopping at Tito’s is overly optimistic. I’d be surprised if more than 50 people stopped to get food. Most riders are either going to be eating down in Venice, at the Farmers Market, or downtown Culver City.

  3. Kathleen Oliver

    Uh, Ms Davidson, I have some news for you . . . I ALWAYS take the #6 Bus when I go to Tito’s, many other of your patrons do too! And a lot WALK to your place (CCFD Station #2 guys, for example). It is unrealistic for you to state that “virtually all customers arrive by car”. Get your head out of the sand!

  4. A. Rodriguez

    Mrs. Davidson must be conveniently forgetting that Tito’s parking and traffic jams cause jaywalking and a multitude of traffic violations on that corner year round. CicLAvia will be saving people’s lives – especially if they skip that poor excuse for a “taco”.

  5. Brian

    Maybe Ms. Davidson should call up the owners of Stout on Ventura. They decided to be part of the event when CicLAvia was in the valley and were so busy it was at least an hour wait when we went by. From what I hear, they’ve never had business that good on a Sunday.

  6. Heidi Rushforth

    I agree, Kathleen. I’m a Tito’s regular; I walk there from my house about a mile away and I am participating in CicLAvia. As an avid cyclist and supporter of small businesses and community health and wellness I find it really sad that she is making this all about her, when she could spin it to her advantage if she wasn’t so focused on the fact that her parking lot will be temporarily closed. I hope that instead of boycotting Tito’s, people will stop there and she’ll see how beneficial this community event is. But it’s still sad that she has missed the point of people living in community and taking back the streets for our families and for our health. After all isn’t that a big part of being a locally run small business?

  7. Margaret

    Dear Ms. Davidson,

    Driving access to your business HAS NOT been blocked off. Sepulveda Blvd will be open to autos. Your parking lot is easily accessible from the alley next to Johnnie’s Pastrami. Bet that business isn’t whining.

    Thank you CicLAvia for coming back to the Westside!

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  10. Joe

    As the person who did door-to-door outreach for the first two years of CicLAvias, I would urge cyclists not to hate on Tito’s Tacos. Before experiencing their first CicLAvia, lots of businesses are worried about customers. Business owners don’t know what to expect, and envision a marathon bike race rushing past. After experiencing a CicLAvia, 99% of these businesses are happy and want to know when it will come again.

  11. TitosCustomerNoMore

    I have been going to Tito’s for many years, and always without a car. I love their food, but maybe with the owners behavior and attitude towards a changing Los Angeles I just wont go there ever again.

  12. mig

    Worst taco i’ve ever had in LA. Went once and never went back. So many better food options on that corridor. I might have considered giving them another shot, but not anymore.

  13. Jozelle

    Lynne – SO many people who may have only HEARD of Tito’s Tacos will now ride by and see the place & if they don’t stop by on Sunday will remember seeing it & make a point of stopping by in the future!

  14. Sarah

    I agree with her, she should be able to get some compensation if her receipts are way down from previous Satudays. Im not a biker and really don’t enjoy the streets to be closed because of it.

    1. Mia

      Sarah, clearly you ate related to Ms.Davidson.
      Titos is a gold mine. They squeeze what they can out of each customer. For example they should not be charging extra for cheese for their tacos.
      That famiky Should be grateful because they are blessed with that lucrative business. To whom much is given much is expected. I no longer want to support them I want to give my money to businesses that embrace my community, those are who deserve my money.

    2. Wayne

      and should she compensate Ciclavia if her receipts are way up as a result of Ciclavia? Trust me, I’ve been to every Ciclavia and even with the Tito’s Taco’s owners rant, she stands to do better than any day in the history of Tito’s Taco’s. Here’s some advice, Hire a DJ, put up some baloons, add more staff and embrace a situation that is going to much better than she could ever imagine. Oh and on Monday, come back and tell us how she was wrong.

  15. NJgirl

    We had planned to drive up for 25 bean and cheese burritos to freeze and take home to NJ. Guess we’ll do it another day! Don’t want to dodge cyclists.

  16. Mehmet

    These studies are ongoing for each CicLAvia, but there has been work done to assess the economic impacts of CicLAvias on local businesses along routes: http://www.lewis.ucla.edu/publication/economic-impacts-of-ciclavia-study-finds-gains-to-local-businesses/

    Essentially the best thing to do during a CicLAvia if you are a business, especially a business that provides food, beverage, or retail is to participate and engage with CicLAvia participants: have a special, put an employee outside with samples, staff up and draw people in. Even if you’re a business owner and view the event with displeasure, 100,000 folks going by is definitely a business opportunity.

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  18. Mobri

    If I owned a place like Tito’s I would embrace CicLAvia and set up tables and chairs in the parking lot, hire a Mariachi band, and make a party of it.

    1. Marlene Polansky

      I knew I’d find my creative event as Lynne hopefully will do now! Jozelle gave you a great idea Lynne, take it and join the festivities!
      Culver City, an iconic community coming of age, still carries Tito’s
      4 generations into the present. Embrace your following and fresh beginnings.
      Culver City resident and graduate
      Culver Crest and Ed Foundation

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