It’s Not Easy Being Green: Sunset Triangle Plaza Edition

Photo: Sara Dryden via ##

Early Tuesday morning, the Sunset Triangle Plaza was the victim of a hit and run crash.  A driver plowed into a parked car and some of the plastic planters on the east end of the park.  The result: no injuries but one very messy park.  The LAPD arrived on the scene, Councilman Garcetti vowed the cleanup would be fast, and by the mid-afternoon the crash was just a memory.

Except to the commenters at Eastsider, the website that broke the story.  A handful of angry commenters decided that the cause of the crash was Sunset Triangle Plaza and not the hit-and-run driver.  A sample:

This has not happened there before. No sooner is this street closed than we have such an accident. Points up how poorly considered this is. Unnecessarily mixing pedestrians into the middle of the flow of motorized traffic is not a bright idea — clearly it is dangerous. That certainly is why it was not done when originally built.

So it was the plaza’s fault?  Here are two quick notes on the crash itself, and the level of dissonance it takes to blame the plaza and not the driver.

First, according to LAPD reports, the hit and run driver actually collided with a parked car before entering the plaza.  The driver was so inattentive or impaired that he/she missed seeing a parked car before driving into it.  The damage to the plaza was collateral damage to the hit and run crash.

Second, the plaza was built because pedestrians crossing Griffith Park Blvd. on Sunset just north of Maltman were taking their lives into their own hands.  This crash proves that this area of road is still a dangerous place, but not because of the plaza.

Remember, Sunset Triangle Plaza is a temporary project, to be reviewed next year.  If the city decides to make the park permanent, those plastic planters could be replaced by something a little tougher.  In other words, next year it won’t be quite so easy to run when a planter is hit head-on.

  • WTF is up with those comments. Geez. This plaza is a brilliant idea. Anything to further bring LA out of its car-induced madness is fantastic.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, it seems like the key is making the barriers that protect the plaza stronger, while still pleasing on the eye. New York has done a good job with this, using rough granite blocks and concrete planters.

  • Urban LA

    The challenge in LA is that the city does not allow/use barriers that could potentially injure an automobile driver who crashes into them. They will allow K-rails, but only if marked with standard type of markings, nothing creative such as a mural or placing plants in front of them.

  • Since the plaza is techincally only a temporary instillation, it may be that the powers that be aren’t interested in putting in something stronger, which would require more effort. Just speculation on my part. 

  • Henry

    Actually, that comment you quote is not blaming the plaza. It says it is in line with the traffic flow so prone to such problems as this accident, and thus people on it are in danger accordingly. And in fact, it is. If you go straight along Sunset, you will drive straight through this plaza. Sunset curves at that point, and you have to make a curve to the left to avoid driving straight into this plaza. I suppose this accident was probably a drunk driver, but not necessarily; it might have been someone just not alert enough in the dark for various reasons and so kept going straight.

    I also note: that parked car was illegally parked; it is posted for no parking there at that time of night. Those cars parked at the traffic lane on the curve are a hazard, and might very well have been a contributing cause of this accident.

  • Busytimmy

    I’m all for a nice public space, but this green thing is downright ugly and not in any way associated aesthetically with the neighborhood in which it is placed. It is an eyesore! 

  • Lauren

     But who said the car was going straight in the first place? People are assuming that, but it sounds to me like the driver was trying to follow the curve and lost control of the car…

  • Lauren

     To add to my first comment; supposing the drive WAS going straight instead of following the curve, and he t-boned into the parked car; that is an issue of major major impairment!! Even if the plaza wasn’t there and the car was just sitting in the middle of the street, it’s the driver’s job to be cognizant of such obstacles. Good thing it wasn’t a person.

  • Gentrifucation

    Yeah it really ruins the aesthetics of the huge 99 cents store across the street.

  • Diamondave1000bc

    i’m going to chime in on this, i as a resident of 25 yrs and within 1/2 block from the plaza.  this is the BEST thing that has ever happened to this dump.  i personally worked 6 years getting peeps together in order for this to happen.  the peeps that are hating on this don’t live here or in the immediate facinity. all of my neighbors love it.  so i have a favor to ask of the naysayers, please go somewhere else & spread your hate.  nobody wanted to complain when every other car if that made a complete stop on griifith park ave& edgecliffe as i can see it from my house & have witnessed many accidents and pedistrains being hit in the crosswalk, but you never heard the above complainers say anything about that. i would l to invite everyone to experience new & old people & good times by coming by and sharing a smile!

  • Busytimmy

    Funny, if you look both to the right and left of the plaza it is not at all in keeping with the aesthetic. Also, the color is incredibly ugly.

  • Busytimmy

    I think it’s necessary to distinguish between those who never wanted the project to take place and those who dislike the design/execution.


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