Happy Park(ing) Day, LA!
The First Park I Actually Made It To on the Corner of Heliotrope and Melrose
In Los Angeles, I pulled my bike into 14 different parks throughout the day. You can see all the pictures I took at the Streetsblog Flickr Page but for the best picture from each park you can read on after the jump. Before you get into the pictures let me give apologies to the two parks I couldn't find that I wanted to get to. The first is The Bus Bench's park at Union Station and the second was the Koreatown Performing Arts and Fixed Gear Society's moving park. However, on Monday we'll be doing a follow-up post so get your Park(ing) Day LA pictures online and either email them or send me a link and we'll give them the praise they deserve.
After visiting the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council's park, I pedaled down to Wilshire Boulevard to see what parks would be in the Koreatown area surrounding the Wilshire-Western Purple Line stop. The first park I happened upon was by Mia Lehrer and Associates. Their park doubled as a reminder of the damage that pollution can cause to the LA River. In addition to the willows and"giant reeds" in the planters the shade was created by plastic bags and police lines.
Next was a park by the Urban Studio. Their Park was an artistic rendering of the shadows of street vendors. Despite being part of LA's street culture, they aren't "legal" in the eyes of the law. To drive that point home, I saw a street vendor removed from their location about 20 minutes after visiting the park. She was a senior citizen selling bottled water.
East Los Angeles College Department of Architecture had three parks in three spaces. The first, pictured above, was a basketball court. Behind it, and available for viewing in the Flickr Page were designs showing the fragility of an urban eco system and a mini-bridge for people to place some urban artwork.
One of the cooler parks that I saw was by the SWA Group. In addition to showing the difference between driving and biking for the environment, notice the bike is "emitting" a stream of plants and flowers; they also had park visitors plant a green or yellow flag if their commute was by transit, scooter, walking or biking. You can guess what the red ones were for.
From the SWA Group's park by 7th and Fig I biked down to Olive Street for "Melendrez Park." I think they win the award for most plants in a space. They also told me the story that a film crew for Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles was filming basically on each side of them and didn't bother them at all. In fact, they were respectful of what they were doing. Kudos.
Next wasn't a park but a quick visit to do some real estate shopping. As, soon as that house back in Jersey sells...
Anyway, Torti Gallas and Partners took an interesting look at parking in Los Angeles. To buy a piece of real estate in downtown Los Angeles that was roughly the size of a parking space, it would cost $77,000. How much money do you think the city raises on their parking meters per space? The one that Torti Gallas and Partners was in was $1 per hour.
For some reason none of my pictures for this space, or for Ladies Who Lunch came out. Fortunately, Torti Gallas provided me with the one above.
The Los Angeles County Bike Coalition set up shot a couple of blocks from City Hall. To help them celebrate, the city's DIY Department added a Sharrow right next to their park. Nice!
I am so upset these pictures didn't come out for some reason. This was one of my favorite spots. No sponsors, no fancy design, just two friends, Jocelyn Sia and Nicole Eng, getting into the spirit of the day and setting up a park in Little Tokyo.
Nina Barbuto, the principal of the fledgling Awesome Studios earns bonus points for setting up her park in a pay parking lot near the corner of Rose and 3rd just east of Little Tokyo. She gets double bonus points for providing shade with a tarp made of 200 black bras.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Downtown Neighborhood Council threw a block party with bands, exhibits and even a petition to create a dog park in the downtown.
I apparently just missed CRA/LA's park. I hear it had a pool. Hey, speaking of pools...
A quick bike and train ride later I was back at the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council's 4 parking space park in the Heliotrope-Melrose Bike District. They had food on the grill, snacks available and, well a pool. I should note that of the four metered spaces they were converting to parks, three of them were broken.
In same spirit of Ladies Who Lunch, two gentlemen set up their own park right in front of Good Luck in the Hel-Mel Bike District. The Hitchin' Post park was my fifteenth and last stop of the day before heading home.