Weekend Update: The Park(ing) Day Ride
2:06 PM PDT on September 19, 2009
Ok, so maybe I bit off a bit more than I could chew. The route I originally mapped on Streetsblog had us visiting twenty parks at all parts of the city. Thanks to arriving early, late, or just flat-out not being able to find the spaces we ended up making it to thirteen spaces in our over forty-mile ride that began in Culver City, swung through Santa Monica and ended in the Downtown.
Most of the spaces that we planned to swing by and hit were in the Downtown, and many of those were captured by Curbed and will certainly be on blogdowntown early next week. As for the rest of our coverage, read on after the jump.
As for the Streetsblog ride, five of us left media park at around 9:15 in the morning and headed west towards Marina del Rey. It turns out the sign for Del Rey street off of Washington Boulevard was missing so we ended up biking all the way to the coast and coming back. When we finally arrived, the good folks of Cunningham Group Architecture greeted us with bagels and coffee.
From there we went back to Abbot Kinney and headed North. One of the three spaces weren't ready yet, but we were able to see the beginnings of a space at Denizen and Greg Green Designs and DEX Studios.
From there we hit a bit of disappointment. Lacking both a cross-street or a Santa Monica native we were unable to find the Venice Environmental Park. All that talk about Santa Monica's Park(ing) Day policy and we missed their space. Of course, since I don't know the hours of their park, it wasn't on the map, it's possible we rolled right by the space a couple of hours early.
From there we had the longest leg of the ride, and ended up at Hauser and Pico for the Metered Dance Station sponsored by Creative Seeds dance studios. The studio does dancing events for children, seen here helping create the space, but some of the other pics in our pool show that you could comfortably dance inside a parking space if you were so inclined.
From there we pedaled to Wilshire/Western where there are usually a couple different spaces and this year was no exception. Community Art Resources (C.A.R.S.) and CicLAvia planted two parks on the eastern side of Wilshire Western.
I get some heat for supporters of CicLAvia because I often complain that L.A. won't sponsor those gigantic, car-free parties that started with Ciclovia in Bogota and have extended to several American cities. Yet, I rarely point out that L.A. does have activists working on bringing a Ciclovia to Los Angeles. You can follow their efforts on their occasionally updated blog or their Facebook page.
As for their spaces, C.A.R.S. had fruit and veggies for park visitors while CicLAvia had plenty of informational materials. C.A.R.S. also had out a smattering of art materials for anyone that wanted to kick back in the shade and create something beautiful to rival the day.
I'm pretty unabashedly impressed with the amazing effort put forth by the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council with their mega park in Heliotrope and Melrose. We headed there next for lunch and pool time. This year, the pool was full, and I celebrated by not letting out a lot of the water like I did last year.
We headed out from the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council's park to hit the East Hollywood Council's other park. Only EHNC and the LACBC sponsored two spaces, so hats off to each of those groups.
This park was located right in front of the L.A. City Light Yard, which EHNC is pushing to become an actual, year-round park. The light yard is a great place for a park, in the middle of a high-density residential area, across the street from a library and surrounded by artists. Good luck, EHNC!
Just because I didn't make it to the Downtown parks doesn't mean that I didn't get to see a variety of creative things. Dancing, swimming, grilling and now we see catering company Jared Cooking working on a quiche on the street.
Up next was the Urth Yoga studio's park in the street. They featured an accordion player, which of course is another thing I don't see on a regular basis.
From there we continued down Sunset Boulevard to the Echo Park Time Bank who had lemonade and soccer. Hard to argue with the awesomeness of either of those things. I honestly didn't know what a Time Bank was, but it's pretty much what it says, a collective whose purpose is to facilitate the cooperative exchange of goods
and services among its members. In other words, you give of your time and someone else will give you some of there's. You can read more about Echo Park Time Bank at their website.
Then we rolled into the Downtown, but it was after three and of the three spaces we went to, all we saw was the Adobe Community at Traction and Alameda.
However, all was not lost. We did run into a couple of Ridazz who escorted us to the one downtown park that was still open at 11th and Hope, called "South Park."
From there the rest of my group split off to head all the way back west, and I had one more stop at the MacArthur park stop of the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition. The LACBC was set up on the pavement by the Northwest entrance to the park. When I pointed out that they missed the street, they told me they were chased off the street by nine members of the Rampart Division's finest. For the record, everywhere I went we ran into supportive police and parking enforcement.
However, the Rampart Division is the same group that reacts to pedestrians getting hit by cars by ticketing pedestrians even as cars run red lights right in front of them.
But let's focus on the positive, the LACBC had a big map of the area and some smaller ones. They were asking visitors to color in the map with the kinds of street improvements they would like to see to grow their advocacy efforts in the area. A good idea to get some local buy-in before they start their campaign.
All in all, yesterday was another great day with a lot of great spaces and creativity. I think next year instead of an all-day ride, Streetsblog will sponsor a smaller one and set up our own park.
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