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Parking Space Parklets Could Last Past Park[ing] Day in Downtown

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The LA complete streets movement just got legislative backing. City Councilmembers Jan Perry and José Huizar will announce a motion at a press conference in City Hall tomorrow that will instruct the Planning Department, the Departments of Public Works, and DOT to implement parklet demonstration projects--miniparks in former parking spaces--in Downtown. Planning and design has already been underway on the parklets--the demonstration is the result of the efforts of a working group created by the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Parks and Transportation committees, which has been working for several months on the idea. In a call for ideas published on Blogdowntown in July, DLANC Parks Committee Chair Valerie Watson put the purpose of the endeavor succinctly: "We want people flocking to, not speeding through, Downtown LA."

The working group started with an idea to create a better balance of uses between cars, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit along Spring and Main Streets in Downtown's Historic Core, and now the city is throwing its hat in the ring. Watson told Curbed today that "The motion and the creation of a Citywide Parklets Program is the next step forward in bringing together stakeholders with the city of Los Angeles to create imaginative, vibrant public space."

A similar program for Boyle Heights called UnPaveLA was proposed last fall, but never really got off the ground. Since DLANC launched its efforts, projects on North Huntington Drive and York Boulevard in Northeast LA have also been initiated, and parklets have already gained traction in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco (where the Planning Department oversees the program).

If you're not sure what a parklet is (sounds cute, doesn't it?), you'll be able to see creative versions on display all over the city tomorrow for Park[ing] Day LA. According to Watson, "Parklets are a simple design intervention that can be replicated throughout the neighborhoods of Los Angeles, but tailored through their design to suit the unique needs and context of each community." She added that parklets are, "small 8'x20' or 8'x40' spaces with objects that enhance and foster life on the street."
· DLANC Complete Streets Working Group Wants Pilot Project Ideas [Blogdowntown]
· Editorial>Architecture in the Streets [Architect's Newspaper]