Downtown LA’s New Spring Street Park Adds Much Needed Open Space to Historic Core

Downtown LA's newest urban park, Spring Street Park, officially opened today at 10AM with a community gathering

Downtown LA’s newest urban park, Spring Street Park, officially opened today at 10AM with a community gathering

Today was another great step forward in Downtown LA’s evolution in becoming a mature urban center that’s balanced not only with more needed density but open space as well — two important ingredients needed in urban planning that encourage a pedestrian lifestyle. The 0.7 acre Spring Street Park, nestled in between two historic condo high-rises — The Rowan and El Dorado — between 4th and 5th Street, officially opened at 10 am with a community gathering and inauguration that included downtown residents, community stakeholders, and LA Mayor Villaraigosa along with Council Members Huizar and Perry. The mood was cheerful and celebratory as today’s park, designed by Lehrer Architects, opening marked an important milestone for the Historic Core that further establishes the district as a bona fide urban residential community.

Not only is the new Spring Street Park a wonderful new addition to Downtown LA, but it should become a model for future smart growth in our growing urban center. Spring Street Park, which broke ground two years ago, started out as an ugly surface parking lot (i.e., dead zone) that provided little-to-no value to the community’s livability. However, with the park’s grand opening today, residents and visitors alike were treated to a park replete with a sprawling oval lawn, trees, landscaping, a fountain, and a fun playground for parents and their kids. As Downtown LA continues to grow and evolve, we must help guide its future by pressing for more changes that cater to the pedestrian instead of the automobile.

Also, because we obviously want to keep the park CLEAN and ENJOYABLE for everyone, it is important for downtown residents to take PRIDE and OWNERSHIP of the park (love it like your home) and “report” (take a picture of) any dog owner who does NOT clean up after their dog defecates anywhere in the park. Take a picture and email it to the Spring Street Park “Wall of Shame.”

The Spring Street Park rules posted in front of the park

The Spring Street Park rules posted in front of the park

The downtown community gathers for the grand opening of Spring Street Park

The downtown community gathers for the grand opening of Spring Street Park

The new Spring Street Park, which replaced an ugly surface parking lot, now provides a pleasant walk along the sidewalk

The new Spring Street Park, which replaced an ugly surface parking lot, now provides a pleasant walk along the sidewalk

A view of the park facing Spring Street

A well landscaped Spring Street Park has plenty of seating and a water fountain

Parking for bikes

Could use a few more bike racks

Plenty of seating in Spring Street Park

Plenty of seating in Spring Street Park

An adobe colored pathway leads pedestrians into and out of the park

An adobe colored pathway slices diagonally through the park

A sprawling oval lawn is the main focal point of the Spring Street Park

A sprawling oval lawn is the main focal point of the Spring Street Park

Shortly after the park opened, it already became a community gathering spot with many sitting on the lawn

People enjoying a park that used to be a desolate surface parking lot

Dogs are welcome in the park but must be on a leash and their waste must be picked up immediately to keep the park clean and enjoyable for everyone

Park rules: Dogs are welcome in the park but must be on a leash and their waste must be picked up immediately to keep the park clean and enjoyable for everyone

Yoga and stretching

Perfect for yoga and stretching

A great place to read and relax

A great place to read and relax

A father and son walk over to the new playground in the park

A father and son walk over to the new playground in the park

The playground was an instant hit with downtown parents and their kids

The playground was an instant hit with downtown parents and their kids

Downtown kids enjoying the new playground at Spring Street Park

Downtown kids enjoying the new playground at Spring Street Park

The future "Title Insurance condos" will have great views of the Spring Street Park

The future “Title Insurance condos” will have great views of the Spring Street Park

49 responses to “Downtown LA’s New Spring Street Park Adds Much Needed Open Space to Historic Core

  1. Fantastic pictures. I’m hoping to enjoying it myself tomorrow.

  2. The park looks great and really adds a nice gathering spot to the neighborhood. It feels surprisingly large inside and the playground is wonderful for downtown families. It’s now up to the community to take ownership of it and keep it clean! It’s up to all of us to help maintain it. If you see trash, pick it up, if you see an irresponsible pet owner, take a pic and send it to the wall of shame.

  3. Alec Mitchell

    Have they relaxed the no dogs on the grass rule as those pictures imply? (see http://www.springstpark.com/rules)

  4. Nice! Hopefully they will install some canopy umbrellas on the asphalt seatin areas so the ppl won’t bake to death!

  5. @ Alec Mitchell, no, but there isn’t anyone to enforce the rule so it’s essentially meaningless.

    • I’m going to enforce it along with a huge amount of people I talked to today who were already pissed off that we’ve seen dogs pissing and shitting in the park. Along with kicking up the plants in the ground. Ill be the guy taking pics of you breaking the rules. Feel free to come over and say hi.

  6. The lawn is for people to roll around in and who want to roll in Dog Piss???

  7. There were a ton of dogs there today, which is to be expected since there seems to be as many dogs as people on Spring St. What is unrealistic is to think that dogs won’t go to the bathroom there. As such, they should have mitigated this by installing one of those bag dispenser things there. I have a roll thing on my leash, but it would still be helpful for others.

    • What does that do? Does the roll on your leash wipe up the piss your dog leaves all over the sidewalks? Does it wipe up your dogs skid marks on the sidewalks?

  8. Wonderful! Excited about the park. Such a nice addition to our neighborhood!

  9. I’m all for banning dogs from the grass. Love dogs — hate the constant smell of piss and shit all over DTLA.

    My worry was that this park would be overrun by the many, many, irresponsible owners that we all see DT. Sure, maybe YOU aren’t — but there are many to fill your place with their ineptitude.

    Glad to see a harsh policy in place and thank you for policing those who would otherwise just trash this beautiful new park.

    • That smell of piss and shit is mostly from the bums. Everyone bitching about dogs should be much more worried about keeping the hobos out.

  10. Love it! I will definitely be using this park to sit down and read. This is a beautiful addition to the Historic Core. I don’t like the idea of not allowing skateboarders. I think people enjoying a park in a skateboard is a perfectly normal thing.

    • I don’t think skateboarders would really help the park be a relaxing place for most of the rest of the population in the area to enjoy. And skateboarding tends to do damage to some of the hardscape, from what I have seen.

      And, while I understand the need to provide security for the park after-hours, it’s a major bummer that the park had to be walled off with fencing, but it sure is a beautiful change from the flat lot that was there before.

    • The park is beautiful. I am so glad there is a rule for no dogs on the grass. Many of us are not dog owners and don’t need to sit on that lush lawn only to see a pile of dog crap.

  11. This park fell short of it’s full potential. First instead of those gray cement cinder blocks they should have put vintage wooden benches strategically place under trees in the park. Secondly, the large swath that looks like a running track was a missed opportunity for much more needed grass. Thirdly, the playground blue rubber flooring is going to get scuffed and marked by constant play. They should have put a sandbox instead. And the succulent garden is unnecessary. That area could be lined with trees and wooden benches. They over did this park with too much filler and not enough grass and trees. That’s unfortunate. But better than a parking lot I guess.

  12. This sense of entitlement from dog owners is really tiresome. If they want government handouts for their dogs, then they should be willing to pay a dog tax to the city. Until then, STFU.

    • What do you think paying a yearly license fee is? Think before you start telling people to STFU

      • Woah, calm down ladies! There’s no need to get catty, we can all respectfully agree to disagree. This topic involving pets is always a controverial one.

    • Kind of like the sense of entitlement from parents of squealing children? Personally I’d much rather have had a designated area for dogs rather than a playground. If anything is going to disrupt a place of relaxation it’s screaming kids, not dogs.

  13. Not sure why they didn’t immediately restrict dogs from the beautiful lawn area. Just walked by and dogs already using the lawn as a bathroom. Such a shame. I didn’t see any signs that mentioned keeping dogs off the lawn.

    • Did you read the post or look at the images? Dogs are allowed in the park, however a dedicated dog area would serve the neighborhood better than a kid area based on population.

  14. The next park should be for the 4 legged residents of downtown.

  15. I own two dogs and I also pay taxes so I expect the same amount of space for everyone to enjoy our city. I am not offended by parents who demand a poop-free zone for their kids. I think that’s not too much to ask for, but I also expect the city to provide our four-legged children with some grass to run, poop and maybe even barf.

    Perhaps this will be a solution? http://www.ladowntownnews.com/news/city-buys-eyesore-property-at-first-and-spring-plans-new/article_2f52bfcc-d54c-11e2-b97b-001a4bcf887a.html

  16. Someone needs to tell them that PUTTING SIGNS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS MAKES THEM HARD ON THE EYES.

    • Yeah, I noticed that too. It’s like they (The Department of Recreation and Parks) are screaming at us.

      Anyway, great addition to DTLA. I hope we all treat the park like its an extension of our homes.

  17. Nah. The douches are the ones who don’t curb their pets.

  18. Amen to keeping the dogs off the grass. I have a dog and I think it’s only fair. Otherwise the lawn will just become just another toilet. The lawn behind the police headquarters has already been completely taken over for dogs, most off leash despite clearly posted signs. There is a decent fenced in dog park in the new Grand Park.

    The entitlement of some irresponsible dog owners is indeed tiresome.

    • Interesting how you and others bring this up. I was in the park today reading for a good 2-3 hours and on several occasions I saw dogs peeing on the grass. Sad and gross.

  19. Congratulations to LA on building a dog toilet right smack dab in the middle of downtown. Nothing like sitting on dog urine soaked grass to revitalize the soul.

  20. That sense of entitlement tilts both ways. If they dont want dogs on the grass, they need to have a fenced in area for them — there are TONS more dogs than there are kids and we need grass for them to “roll around” as well. Its ridiculous to build a park and then act like they cant be on the grass at all. Grand park allows dogs and somehow the sky hasn’t caved in there yet…

  21. Grand Park is a dozen acres with a small population close by. This small park is less than 3/4 of an acre for a huge population of dogs. I say keep the dogs off the grass and in the children’s area. Two blocks north is the LAPD one acre lawn. It is an easy walk. Also, have the city create a linear park along the sidewalks next to the curbs. Problem solved.

    • The LAPD park is not necessarily the answer. Personally, I’m strongly against off leash dogs as my small dog has been attacked by offleash dogs for no reason. I don’t go to that park because of this. It’s the wild west.

  22. I was in the park today, lots of dogs on the lawn and the grass already has burn marks, so that’s that. I’ll settle for a fence around the playground so the dogs that are off-leash (I’ve seen those as well) don’t chase after a running toddler.

    Good news is the playground is being used. Have been there three times, twice there were about 7-10 kids and lots of parents. This morning we were the only folks there but it was early.

    Also, powers-that-be, can we please have some meaningful community input the next time you build something like this? The minute I saw the lawn next to the playground I knew there would be a conflict.

  23. Antonette DeVito

    The park immediately brought together communities of workers, residents, families, and, yes, dog-owners. Many of the children are delighted by the dogs (and vice versa). I see nothing on the list of posted rules about dogs not being allowed on the grass, just that they must be on-leash & owners need to clean up after them. Rather than everyone getting all up in arms about this, I think if we are respectful of the space & each other, the community wins.

  24. Mixing space with people and dog poo-poo is just plain STUPID!!!

    Agree with the others, keep dogs off the grass. The city was meant for PEOPLE, not pets. We should focus on that…

  25. Some of the loft residents that live next to this park have got to be the most overbearing, entitled A-holes i’ve ever encountered.

    I was admonished by a Rowan Lofts resident and his friend the other day (one of the guys told me his buddy lived in the Rowan), for simply walking my bike inside the park (mind you the bike racks were full when I visited). He pointed to a sign and said ,”It doesn’t matter..you see there, it says no bicycles allowed!”. Then he had the gumption to question whether I’m a Downtown resident or not? I told him I wasn’t a resident and that I’m an Art student from Pasadena, just visiting the area after shopping at The Last Bookstore. The super aggressive guy had the audacity to tell me “well, you don’t belong here” and he asked me to take my bike and leave. Like really? It’s not like I was riding my bike inside the park’s premises, and I made sure it wasn’t even on the grass when I sat on the grassy area. Anyway, I was supposed to meet up with a friend at Urth Caffe later that day and did not want an altercation with that man, so I left before anything escalated from there. I don’t think I deserved to be treated like I was a nobody, for simply walking my bike inside the park. Had he laid his hands on me? I would’ve called the police on his butt!

    Is it true no bicycles are allowed inside or did the signs posted mean ‘NO Bicycle Riding’ inside the park? How about some clarity on this issue from any residents in the area? Thanks.

  26. We need a sign that says “Keep your dogs off the grass”! As a downtown resident and a dog owner, I think it’s ridiculous that other residents have been bringing their dogs by to piss and shit on this patch of grass! And Roger, the piss and shit smell is NOT coming from the homeless, it’s coming from DOGS.
    Anyway, it was really short-sighted of the park planners to not include a fenced-off area for dogs, since we have so many dogs downtown. As a resident, all I want is some grass to sit/lay on. The dogs need to be restricted to another area of the park.

  27. Went to the park this morning for the first time, and was astounded by the non-stop parade of dogs not only in the park, but on the grass – pissing, shitting, etc. One guy even had his dog off leash just wandering around. Where are the “no dogs on the grass” signs?!?? Not that it will make much difference, sadly. And while I don’t own a dog, I am a fan of them and happy there are so many downtown. This is about inconsiderate, self absorbed people with no manners or respect for public property. A shame.

  28. Poor, stupid, Los Angeles’ 5th rate urban center…

  29. And it looks over run with bully breeds. No Thanks. Maybe I will just stay in the Arts District instead of moving to the Core.

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