The Spring Street Parklet Evaluation examines how the new projects – initiated by DLANC and maintained by the Historic Downtown BID – are being used and perceived by the neighborhood. Major findings? Pedestrians, parklet users, and local business operators think the parklets are a great local asset that the BID is taking great care of them. For more information, visit The Lewis Center website, or download the report here.
The fourth and final pilot parklet was dedicated this weekend on February 16th, 2013, with much fanfare. People St and Councilmemer Huizar gathered with the LA 32 Neighborhood Council, Barrio Action, Living Streets LA and the Wilson High School Band to commemorate the grand opening in El Sereno. This parklet sits on the T-intersection at Huntington Drive and Rosemead Avenue in the heart of El Sereno’s commercial district.
The parklet was designed through a series of workshops by local residents who wanted to add a public gathering and seating place to Huntington Drive. Funding for the project came from Councilmember Huizar who worked with Living Streets LA to create an “Improvement Vision and Action Plan” for the Huntington Drive corridor. Here, small details that reflect the community were able to make their way into the final designs. For example, the lavender plants and lime and lemon trees pay homage to the areas not so distant agricultural heritage.
Like the parklet on York Blvd. in Highland Park, the Huntington Drive parklet was built 100% by hand by the skilled youths at the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Located just blocks away from El Sereno Elementary, along one of Northeast LA’s most visited corridors, the Huntington Parklet is ready for when you visit!
LADOT celebrates the installation of the Spring Street Pilot Parklets in Downtown Los Angeles, the result of a 2-year collaboration between the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC), the City of Los Angeles Departments of Transportation, Public Works and City Planning, Councilmember Jose Huizar, the Historic Downtown Business Improvement District (HDBID), the UCLA Complete Streets Initiative, the Gilbert Foundation, and countless project partners and supporters.
The parklets initiative of the DLANC Complete Streets Working Group received City Council support as a pilot project in Fall 2012 and convened grassroots volunteers and community members to work with an array of talented design professionals, all on a pro-bono basis, to design and install the parklets. The urban parks, which occupy the length of two metered parking spaces, are located on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Parklets aim to create more space for sidewalk amenities while encouraging a more vibrant street life with traffic calming measures. Exercise bikes, a foosball table, and a variety of seating in the parklets are designed to complement public life on Spring Street.
Major funding was provided by The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation. Research support was provided by Parklet Studies and the UCLA Complete Streets Initiative. The Historic Downtown BID, parklet steward, has partnered with DLANC and LADOT to assume responsibility for long-term maintenance and operations.
This pilot project effort, led and designed by the DLANC Complete Streets Working Group, was achieved with a variety of pro-bono contributions, donations, and sponsorships. The interdisciplinary team of pro-bono design professionals included architects, urban designers, landscape architects, environmental graphic designers, web designers, and planners who led and managed the design process with the city, instigated a parklet impact study, crafted a wayfinding and signage system, and developed a website with public information materials. Community-driven design shines through in this project, which will inform the future development of a citywide program for parklets.
More information about the Spring Street Pilot Parklets and DLANC Complete Streets Working Group, including team member bios and a list of project sponsors, can be found at www.completestreets.dlanc.com
On Thursday February 7th, 2013 People St unveiled one of the city’s first pilot parklets on York Blvd. in Highland Park. The Parklet design came out of a months long collaboration between Councilmember Huizar and Living Streets LA who worked to create an “Improvement Vision and Action Plan” for York Blvd. After dozens of community workshops, community members selected the parklet and it’s location between Avenue 49 and Avenue 50 as the centerpiece of the community-driven improvement plan. LADOT engineers worked in unprecedented close collaboration with designers and community members to translate concept drawings into the parklet that exists today.
The York Parklet is the only parklet in the City of Los Angeles to feature custom mural tile work, done by local Highland Park artist, Cathi Milligan, whose shop the Glass Studio is just down the block. The entire parklet was built by the hands of skilled youths from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by the York Parklet on your next visit to Northeast LA.
The UCLA Luskin’s Complete Streets Initiative released a comprehensive guidebook to planning, building and maintaining “parklets,”—small parks created in urban areas from the conversion of parking spots, alleyways and other underutilized spaces for cars into places for people.
The report, Reclaiming the Right-of-Way,” compiles best practices from cities in the U.S and Canada that have implemented parklet projects in their communities. These projects, which enhance neighborhoods through low-cost, small-scale inventions, were pioneered in San Francisco but have also appeared in New York, Philadelphia, and Vancouver, B.C., among other cities.Download the full document here.
The Los Angeles City Council has directed the Departments of Transportation, Public Works, and City Planning to assist community groups with the installation of four pilot parklets. Over the past year, community groups in Highland Park, Downtown Los Angeles, and El Sereno have been developing plans for improving the public realm, design elements such as parklets as a centerpiece of their plans. Parklets are small areas for seating and planting that extend the sidewalk into on-street metered parking spaces.
The four pilot parklets – one on York Boulevard in Highland Park, two on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles, and another on Huntington Drive in El Sereno, will be the first of their kind in the City of Los Angeles, and will inform the development of a citywide program to facilitate communities across Los Angeles with implementing similar projects.
“Experimenting with the Margin: Parklets and Plazas as Catalysts in Community and Government” was published this month by the University of Southern California this month. This graduate thesis from student Robin Abad Ocubillo resulted from interviews with over sixty parklet and plaza stakeholders in New York, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. Parklets and Plazas – besides being novel new open spaces where communities gather – actually play a huge role in bringing neighbors together through the process of planning, fundraising, design and implementation. From the Abstract:
Two related typologies of small-scale, experimental urban design have emerged in recent years as a synthesis of community action and progressive governmental experimentation: the Parklet and the Pedestrian Plaza. The Parklet occupies curbside parking spaces while the Pedestrian Plaza reclaims excess roadway, often at irregular intersections. While the typologies differ in physical form, both emerge from a common thrust of experimental action redressing the urban fabric and environment. Together, these two typologies – and the city programs created to facilitate their implementation – begin to define a process of Heuristic Urbanism: a collaborative practice that engages urban design through provisional programs and projects that are continually self-evaluating. This thesis illustrates how the Heuristic Urbanism of Parklets and Pedestrian Plazas necessitates innovation within city government through the assimilation of grassroots initiatives. A literature review outlines the theoretical and practical contexts from which Heuristic Urbanism emerges; suggests the evolutionary heritage of Parklets and Pedestrian Plazas; and examines the range of assumptions, expectations, and outcomes engendered by the new typologies and their relatives. The thesis then leverages interviews with over 65 individual stakeholders from government, advocacy groups, design and business communities in four California cities which are in various stages of advancing Parklet and Pedestrian Plaza programs…
The discussion then moves from overarching examination of program development to circumstances at the site and neighborhood scale; identifying common physical and social conditions as pre-requisites for Parklet and Plaza viability. This set of conditions is generated from stakeholder interviews and correlated with the literature review. Here the thesis articulates a coherent practical framework for evaluating future potential sites of intervention; engaging the dialectic between action, research, analysis, and refinement that characterizes Heuristic Urbanism. The study concludes with a discussion on the long-term implications of Heuristic Urbanism for urban design and planning practice. Significant and recurring themes emerge from the interviews; defining a territory which addresses public-private tensions, the role of design professionals in activism and governance, and the catalytic potential of Heuristic Urbanism for re‐adapting both the urban fabric and modes of its management.