“Over the past few years, the community along Spring Street has become much more tightly woven. The ‘bump’ factor happens all the time now. If not daily, then at least several times a week, I will happen across not only people that I know but that occasional person that I forgot I even once knew! … As a place that brings people together, Spring Street has become a thriving neighborhood spot and an attractive regional destination for other Angelenos seeking a brief reprieve in our little small-town urban oasis we like to call DTLA.”
– Will Wright, AIA-LA Government and Public Affairs Director and Spring Street Resident
In 2011, City Council Members Jose Huizar and Jan Perry used Park(ing) Day to announce a pilot program to make everyday Park(ing) Day in Northeast and Downtown Los Angeles. The duo announced that four parklets would be built, two of them on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles, as part of a pilot program. The parklets are now the only ones of their kind in city limits, although Long Beach built a couple of them too.
Park(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. A parklet is basically a permanent Park(ing) Day space.
Thanks to UCLA and Parklet Studies, there is hard data on how the two Spring Street Parklets are performing. In short, they’re doing pretty well. The parklets were opened to the public in February of 2013. Researchers conducted their interviews a month later, and their report was released late last month. Both Downtown parklets are on the 600 block of South Spring Street.
“More and more, Downtown Los Angeles is becoming an increasingly vibrant and dynamic place to live, work, shop and entertain. The Spring Street parklets will add to Downtown’s unique urban atmosphere, encouraging and supporting a pedestrian-friendly, local experience…we are creating a model that can be used throughout the city,” promised Huizar at the parklets opening.
Reclaiming the Right of Way: Evaluation Report, is a 52 page report based on surveys and first-hand observations by researchers. Huizar must be pretty happy, because the data proves his words from last year to be true. The report looks at everything from how people use the parklets to how people perceive the parklets. For example, people feel that Spring Street is cleaner, they feel that their neighborhood is something special, and they’re more likely to start a conversation with someone they don’t know as a direct result of four parking spaces being turned over to the public.
Foosball and exercise bikes make people feel better about their community. Who would have guessed?
Research can’t put a dollars and cents value on such feelings, but even if that is the measure of success, the Spring Street Parklets are doing well. Read more…