LA Kicks Cars to the Curb, Opens First Pedestrian Plaza

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
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Sunset Triangle Plaza opens to the public. (Alissa Walker / Flickr)

Sunset Triangle Plaza opens to the public. (Alissa Walker / Flickr)

You’d better get used to it, Los Angeles is remaking itself from a one trick pony town where car is king into a multimodal city for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. The latest improvement is Sunset Triangle Plaza, the city’s first pedestrian plaza created by a new collaboration called Streets for People (S4P) that hopes to churn out dozens new pedestrian-oriented spaces a year across the city. The green-on-green polka dot plaza officially opened this month to crowds of gleeful pedestrians in the hip enclave of Silver Lake, northwest of Downtown LA.

Sunset Triangle Plaza opens to the public. (Alissa Walker / Flickr)

Sunset Triangle Plaza opens to the public. (Alissa Walker / Flickr)

The year-long pilot project was designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, who said the design is open to interpretation. “The dots play off of D.O.T., the abbreviation for Department of Transportation, which is integral to the Streets for People program,” said firm principal Frank Clementi in a statement.

The 11,000 square foot plaza at Sunset Boulevard and Griffith Park connects the neighborhood to a small triangular pocket park previously stranded in a sea of streets and plays host to a twice-weekly farmers market. Moveable bistro tables and chairs, also in green, fill the plaza and large pots filled with drought resistant plants serve as bollards at its perimeter.

Streets for People is an initiative of LA’s Planning Commission and and the LA County Department of Public Health that hopes to reclaim underutilized street space in LA. “Using paint and planters allows us to recapture streets for people in months rather than decades, and for thousands—rather than millions—of dollars,” said William Roschen, president of the LA Planning Commission, in a statement. “Now that we have the process, template, and cooperation of city departments and the community, we have several key variables in place to do upward of 40 projects a year.”

The street before conversion into a pedestrian plaza. (Courtesy Google)

The street before conversion into a pedestrian plaza. (Courtesy Google)

A plan of the new pedestrian plaza along Sunset Boulevard. (Courtesy Rios Clementi Hale Studios)

A plan of the new pedestrian plaza along Sunset Boulevard. (Courtesy Rios Clementi Hale Studios)

3 Responses to “LA Kicks Cars to the Curb, Opens First Pedestrian Plaza”

  1. Tom Marble says:

    I love this project.

  2. Wendy Feuer says:

    They are taking a page from NYC DOT – the more the better!

  3. Alan Hess says:

    That headline is misleading….has anyone been to Olvera Street? Not to mention Pomona’s 1962 pedestrian mall by Millard Sheets (on the LA Conservancy’s tour last Sunday.) If we can’t get our past straight, we have no hope of getting our future right!

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