Tito's Tacos backpedals demand to shut down CicLAvia

Tito's Tacos in Culver City has been open for more than 50 years.
Tito's Tacos in Culver City has been open for more than 50 years. PunkJr/Flickr cc by-nd

The popular Culver City restaurant Tito's Tacos has announced it will be open during CicLAvia on Sunday despite its previous opposition to the open streets biking event.

The 6-mile CicLAvia route — the first to traverse so much of Culver City — will run into Venice along Washington and Venice boulevards, passing right in front of Tito's Tacos.

Restaurant owner Lynne Davidson had threatened legal action against organizers over concern she would lose business if Washington Boulevard were closed to car traffic.

"Originally I hoped they would change the course," said Davidson on Friday.

Since it became clear that was not happening, Davidson has backed off rhetoric threatening to shut the event down.

Tito's has been an institution in Culver City for more than 50 years and is known for its crunchy tacos laden with shredded beef, iceberg lettuce and bright orange cheese.

Many CicLAvia enthusiasts have been weighing in on Twitter this week, some critical of the restaurant's opposition, but many, like the blogger known as Militant Angeleno, encouraging participants to prove Davidson wrong by patronizing her business.

Since CicLAvia began in 2010, many business owners along its various routes have seen a boost in sales during events as tens of thousands of hungry cyclists pass by at a leisurely pace. A UCLA study from 2013 showed businesses along one route increased sales by an average of 10 percent across the board. Those that actively engaged with passersby with a booth or music saw a 57 percent increase in business.

Davidson said she welcomes business from cyclists at CicLAvia but she worried that many of her longtime regular customers would be deterred due to the inconvenience of the street closure.

"My regular customers order large amounts of food which you can’t carry off on a bicycle," she said.

To help alleviate those concerns, CicLAvia organizers have agreed to put up signs directing traffic to an alternate parking entrance.

Davidson is now working with organizers to make sure customers know how to reach the parking lot while the street is blocked off for bikers.

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