Crossing from one side of the 101 Freeway to the other in Downtown LA is not a pretty walk. There’s no greenery, no shade—just a wide sidewalk and the view and noisy din of the cars speeding by on the freeway below. That might not be the case forever.
An in-the-works plan to cover part of the 101 Freeway through Downtown with a park would radically change the neighborhood’s look. Previously released renderings have illustrated where the planned green space, playgrounds, terraced seating, and festival areas would go.
Now, using photos from Downtown-based photographer Sterling Davis and plans for the first phase of Park 101 as a guide, we’re taking a closer look at the segments of the freeway that would be transformed, block by block.
The cap park, as it’s called, would be built over the freeway like a platform, topping the areas where you can look down from the street and onto the cars passing by on the 101 Freeway between Hill and Los Angeles streets.
Friends of Park 101, the nonprofit behind the project, says future phases of the park could include “capping” the freeway all the way to Grand on the west and Hewitt Street on the east. It could also include the development of a handful of freeway-adjacent sites to generate funds for the park’s maintenance. (The photos below just show where the first phase would go.)
Looking west over the 101 Freeway from Los Angeles and Arcadia streets: This open space overlooking the freeway would be topped by an area referred to as “The Mercado,” an open area with patterned paving and space for festivals.
The block, like all four sections of Park 101 between Hill and Los Angeles streets, would be ringed in trees.
This gaping hole immediately south of Main Street and Arcadia would be topped with “The Plaza” section of the planned Park 101, which would include a tree-filled “Bosque” area (Spanish for forest) and space for public events.
The block-sized opening over the freeway between Spring Street (the street running diagonally toward the bottom of the image) and Broadway (the street toward the top) could include terraced seating, a designated play area for kids, and a shade structure.
The naked freeway onramp between the two streets is one of a handful of freeway-adjacent sites that could be considered for future development, which would help fund the maintenance of the park.
The small rectangle of open space over the freeway between Broadway and Hill would become “The Hill,” an area with a viewing deck and native plants.
Looking east over the 101 Freeway, the three openings over the freeway from top to bottom would be covered with multi-purpose park space. Out of view is what would become a capped and inclined viewing area, between Hill and Broadway.