Watch me walk across La Cañada’s freeway cap park over the 210 freeway
Last week, I attended the Friends of Park 101 meeting in El Pueblo where a panel of city planning experts and an urban conscious audience converged to discuss the exciting future of capping the 101 freeway through Downtown LA with a park.
As most of us know by now, the construction of freeways have single-handedly destroyed our communities by severing them and creating social chasms with deep psychological divisions within our urban fabric. Nevertheless, urban parks designed around people are just what we need to reconnect the city’s communities we lost to the automobile.
The 101 freeway began construction through Downtown LA in 1949 and would permanently scar the built environment as it sliced through the city. Today, the birth place of our city, El Pueblo, along with Chinatown and Union Station are severed from the rest of Downtown LA by the trench known as the 101 freeway, connected tenuously with a few barren overpasses that are anti-pedestrian at best.
What should be a strong connection between the two areas of Downtown LA–ideally melded together seamlessly–is sadly not the case. Instead, to cross from one side to the other as a pedestrian (not a driver!) along the concrete overpasses (over the 101 freeway trench) is a textbook example of the most egregious kind of urban planning gone horribly awry. No wonder nary a pedestrian can be spotted in the second largest city in the country.
As the rest of Downtown LA continues to go through an amazing urban renaissance, it is even more important that we continue that momentum by bridging together the very historic heart of our city with the bulk of Downtown LA. And the 101 Cap Park Project is just the answer to fix this urban planning conundrum.
Cities like Seattle and Dallas have completed their own freeway cap parks, and we need to look no further than our own backyard in Los Angeles County, seen in the video above of La Cañada Flintridge’s 210 freeway cap park, to apply a perfect example of what we can do to ameliorate the damage done by the freeway.
Let’s reconnect our city by capping the 101 freeway trench…
…with this example of a freeway cap park in La Cañada Flintridge
Click here for an aerial view of La Cañada’s freeway cap park.