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LA's Huge Year in Pedestrians, Parks, and Public Transit

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It's the last week in December, when according to tradition we make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to all the best, worst, and shitshowiest of things that happened in Los Angeles real estate, architecture, and neighborhoods this year. These are your 2012 Curbed Awards.

Trend of the Year
Closing down the streets to move giant objects through them. LA's best times this year were spent watching the giant LACMA boulder and the space shuttle Endeavour roll through town. God, we had fun.

Comeback of the Year
Ok, technically it'll be January 1 before the LA River becomes a real, accessible river (as opposed to a flood control channel), but it wasn't waiting: this year the city passed plans to spiff up its banks, the North Atwater Park (the first piece of the river revitalization plan) opened, as did the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, and the park under the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge broke ground. Meanwhile, it's getting a fancy new Sixth Street Bridge and people keep coming up with awesome schemes to make it more welcoming: a redevelopment of the old Lincoln Heights Jail, a huge water wheel art piece by the North Broadway Bridge, and a public atrium space under the Seventh Street Bridge.

Park of the Year
Downtown's big Grand Park opened in stages throughout the fall and quickly became LA's big public gathering space.

Gold Star in Greenery
LA's 50 Parks Initiative, which aims to build 53 (!) small neighborhood parks in underserved areas.

Achievements in De-Public-Ification
The City Hall lawn reopened with a post-Occupy makeover, but there are plantings to prevent anyone from hanging out for too long, strict new hours, and a no-tent rule.

People Totally Walk in LA, Ok? Award
LADOT hired pedestrian coordinators this year, and they're already hard at work making the city more pedestrian-friendly.

Image Award
For proving that LA does too have an urban center (it's just very long, running from Santa Monica to Downtown), this one goes to USC Geographic Information Science and Technology grad Samuel Krueger.

Mindblower of the Year
The Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan, which creates guidelines for a mixed-use neighborhood around the Los Angeles State Historic Park and requires exactly no parking.

Better Late Than Never Award
The City Council finally approved an ordinance that calls for a comprehensive update to Los Angeles's zoning code--which last got the treatment way back in 1946.

Transpo Opening of the Year
The Orange Line busway extension in the Valley is cool and everything, but we have to give it to the Expo Line, which opened to Culver City in the summer. There are tons of development plans around the new line and the city has announced it intends to create a (t)expo Line tech corridor.

Top 3 Rail Groundbreakings
3. Downtown's Regional Connector
2. The Crenshaw Line connecting the Expo and Green Lines
1. The Purple Line extension down Wilshire

Red Tape Killer of the Year
Whoa, the California high-speed rail project actually cleared its hurdles and is set to start (very difficult) work in 2013.

The "No Way, This is Really Happening" Award
Metro, you're giving us palpitations! It's a tie between some kind of rail link-up to LAX and the 405 corridor transit project, both of which made real, significant movement this year.
· Curbed Awards 2012 [Curbed LA]