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Officials want to make Venice safer, but could changes kill the culture?

Car Into Beachgoers

Maarten Smitskamp/AP

Pedestrians gather as police and fire officials respond after a car drove through a packed afternoon crowd along the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. At least a dozen people were injured, two of them critically, according to police. (AP Photo/Maarten Smitskamp)

Last summer, an Italian tourist on her honeymoon was visiting the Venice Boardwalk when a man drove his car onto the crowded boardwalk, killing her and injuring 16 others others. 

The Venice Boardwalk has always been known for an eclectic mix of artists, beach goers, street vendors, tourists and a bit of a rough element. But it was the car incident that encouraged officials to begin to develop plans to help secure the area.

They've been working on a public safety assessment to identify the needs of the area, as well as a budget to figure out how to fund them.

Some of the safety measures that they're moving towards are simple, like making sure that the boardwalk is adequately lit at night. They're considering adding a PA system, and they're thinking about using things like benches and bike racks in an effort to not only close more roads, but to keep the closures visually attractive.

But according to Matt Stevens from the LA Times, changes like these are often met with resistance by Venice locals. The worry is that the changes could have an impact on vibrant bohemian scene.

What do you think? Can officials make Venice safer, but continue to "keep it weird"? Let us know in the comments below.


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