(Note: Details on all three City Council hearings on the resolution authorizing four parklets to be built can be found at the end of this story.)
By Friday, the Los Angeles City Council could give the green light to four “pilot” parklets. Parklets are miniature open space projects where one or more parking spaces are converted into a small park right on the city streets. The four parks being considered include two parklets on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles, the York Boulevard Street Porch in Northeast L.A. and the El Sereno Street Plaza. Streetsblog has previously discussed the Street Porch and Street Plaza here.
“I am thrilled that all four of these pilot parklets are in Council District 14,” said Councilmember José Huizar, who sponsored the resolution and represents the area where the parklets will be built. “From Downtown, to El Sereno, to Highland Park – community members have spoken and they want more pedestrian-friendly public spaces that support local businesses and neighborhoods. It’s a marked shift back to community planning of decades past, where now, like then, we are emphasizing local, sustainable communities where residents can shop, relax and spend time in their own neighborhoods. I look forward to seeing parklets launched Citywide.”
The four parklets would join the Sunset Triangle Plaza as examples of the city making use of its abundance of curb-side parking to create open space for all residents. While L.A. is considering a pilot program, parklets are already popular throughout California. Streetsblog actually held interviews for its Long Beach writer position in a parklet in our neighbor to the south and San Francisco has already installed 40 parklets throughout the city.
“These meetings are the result of many dedicated parties, within and outside of the City, working together over the last 2 years to bring parklets to fruition,” explains Madeline Brozen, the Program Manager for UCLA’s Complete Streets Initiative. “These first demonstration parklets allow for Los Angeles to join the growing list of cities who are using parklets to re-think the use of streets and enhance the public right of way.”
Funding has already been identified for the projects on El Sereno Street and York Boulevard, and the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council promises that private and in-kind donations will fund construction of the two on Spring Street. Members of the Neighborhood Council have already invested $20,000 in volunteer work to design the two parklets.
“Members of the DLANC Complete Streets Working Group have convened to re-imagine our streets Downtown as living streets, better balanced for all users, including people who drive, walk, ride transit, bike, shop, and do business in our neighborhood,” explains Valerie Watson, a Board Member with the Downtown Neighborhood Council. “We look forward to seeing how these parklets will benefit the neighborhood, and are excited to contribute innovative design that honors the ongoing spirit of investment and community-building that makes Downtown LA such a great place.”
This morning, the Arts, Parks, Health & Aging Committee will consider a motion that gives these four parks, and only these four parks, the green light. On Wednesday, the Transportation Committee is expected to approve the motion as well. Assuming all goes according to plan, the Full City Council is scheduled to give the final green light on Friday. The Mayor’s Office has already expressed support for the program.
Parklet supporters, including Brozen, Watson, Living Streets L.A., the American Institute of Architects and even the office of Councilman Jose Huizar, hope that supporters of open space show up to demonstrate strong public support for the proposal.
Arts, Parks, Health & Aging Committee
Location: City Hall Room 1060
Date: Tuesday, August 21
Time: 8:30 am-10:30 am
Location: City Hall Room 1010
Date: Wednesday, August 22
Full City Council Meeting
Location: City Council Chambers, 3rd Fl., City Hall
Date: Friday, August 24
Time: 10am-12 noon