There is nothing pleasant about a huge road full of cars. No one finds such a place enjoyable except, perhaps, someone in love with traffic or weaving in and out of traffic or some traffic engineers (but even most of them probably don’t love it). Have you ever stood on the side of a very busy street with no proper pedestrian amenities? Have you ever walked a decent distance along such a street? Not fun, not enjoyable. But this is what we’ve let take over our cities, increasingly take over our local communities and environments.
Los Angeles, a place known for its super fantastic traffic and auto-oriented design is taking some steps to try to return transportation balance and pleasure to its citizens and visitors. One such change is an awesome new pedestrian street and plaza where an automobile street used to be. Nate Berg of the Atlantic Cities has more:
On a short strip of street bordering a small triangular park within a vibrant commercial area, officials from the city’s departments of planning, transportation, and public works partnered with the county’s public health department to close the street off to car traffic and convert it into an outdoor plaza. On 11,000 square-feet, the roadway has been effectively removed form the automobile grid with the simple application of paint (in glowing neon green polka-dots), bike racks and planters around the edges and seating in the middle. The project was inspired by similar street plazas created in New York City and San Francisco.
“In L.A., 60 percent of our land area is devoted to streets and parking lots. So the real hope here is that we can take that and transform it into something really different than just spaces for cars,” says Bill Roschen, president of the city’s planning commission.
Roschen helped spearhead the street-to-plaza project, part of an effort called Streets for People. His intention is to spread projects like this one throughout the city.
The new pedestrian street/plaza just opened this month. For much more from Nate, check out his piece: ‘Los Angeles Seeks Pedestrians‘.
All Images by Nate Berg