This snapshot I took in Chelsea of a typical scene in New York shows how wonderful a city can be when it is pedestrian oriented
Every time I visit New York, I’m like a kid in a candy store. Why? I’m an urbanist at heart and New York is brimming with urbanism. No, it’s exploding with urbanism! I love walking and being a pedestrian free to roam the city, and whenever I’m here in New York (usually for a week at a time), I feel liberated and empowered as I dart through the energetic streets, slide my MetroCard on my way down into the ubiquitous subway stations, and jaywalk whenever and wherever I please. The way New York and other East Coast cities are built, compact and mixed-use, encourage a thriving pedestrian culture. What are some key ideas that we can bring back from a city like New York that can continue to help Los Angeles (and specifically Downtown LA) develop that wonderful pedestrian urban lifestyle and lessen our dependence (read: handicap) on automobiles?
Posted in bicycle oriented, community involvement, downtown los angeles, education, environmentally green, Ideas for Downtown LA, parks, pedestrian oriented, public spaces, smart growth
Tagged flatiron district new york, gansevoort plaza meatpacking district, gansevoort plaza new york, greeley square new york, herald square new york, pedestrian plazas downtown la, pedestrian plazas los angeles, pedestrian plazas new york, road diets downtown la, road diets los angeles, road diets manhattan, road diets new york
Some ideas on how to bolster pedestrian connections — between City West and the rest of Downtown LA — include making the 110 overpasses safer and more attractive for pedestrians (mainly Wilshire Blvd and 7th Street)
As Downtown LA continues to evolve and mature into a multi-faceted urban center that’s not only a commercial hub but a bona fide residential community, it becomes even more important that we focus on creating an environment that is pedestrian friendly making it enjoyable and convenient for residents to live, work, and play in. That enhancement to the pedestrian realm — wider sidewalks, narrower streets, more bike lanes, etc. — in Downtown LA is needed to create the strong walkable connections that eventually spawns a walking culture.
Posted in architecture, art and culture, bicycle oriented, city west, community involvement, downtown los angeles, economic development, environmentally green, financial district, Ideas for Downtown LA, pedestrian oriented, public spaces, smart growth
The One Santa Fe mega mixed-use project will bring 438 new apartments for rent along with almost 80,000 square feet of dining, retail, and possibly a new grocery store to the burgeoning Arts District in Downtown LA
As the Arts District in Downtown LA continues to grow with the addition of more dining and retail — Stumptown Coffee, Eat.Drink.Americano, Poketo, and Apolis: Common Gallery to name a few — the next exciting game changer on the horizon that will have the single largest impact on the burgeoning urban neighborhood is the $160 million One Santa Fe mixed-use project being developed by three entities forming “One Santa Fe PMC, LLC” (“PMC” includes Polis Builders/Nick Patsaouras, The McGregor Company/Bill McGregor and Cowley Real Estate Partners/Chuck Cowley) with two financial partners (Goldman Sachs and Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund).
Posted in architecture, arts district, downtown los angeles, economic development, mass transportation, mixed-use development, office, parks, pedestrian oriented, public spaces, real estate, restaurants, retail, smart growth
Tagged housing for rent near sci-arc, michael maltzan one santa fe, one santa fe apartments downtown la, one santa fe arts district, one santa fe downtown la, one santa fe project downtown la, rentals near sci-arc
(CLICK TO ENLARGE) A new 7-story mixed-use project with 287 market rate units, designed by TCA and developed by Hanover, will rise at the NW corner of Olympic and Hill in Downtown LA (Photo: TCA)
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Thomas P. Cox who is the CEO of TCA Architects (formerly Thomas P. Cox Architects, Inc.). I met him and his colleagues at their Downtown LA corporate office located on the 10th floor of the Chase Plaza tower with stunning skyline views of Downtown LA. It was the perfect setting and vantage point to sit down and talk about how TCA views urbanism and the future of Downtown LA, and more importantly, how have they been directly involved with the revitalization process.
Posted in architecture, downtown los angeles, economic development, little tokyo, mixed-use development, pedestrian oriented, real estate, smart growth, south park
Tagged tca architects downtown la, tca architects los angeles, thomas cox architects
The new 210-unit Eleven Eleven Wilshire in City West has completed construction and expects the first residents to move in next month
Last summer, we saw that construction was humming along nicely for the newest mixed-use project rising in City West, which is an urban neighborhood of Downtown LA just west of the Financial District over the 110 freeway (the landmark 1100 Wilshire tower resides in City West as well). The seven story apartment rental building with ground floor retail developed by Holland Partners, named simply after its address “Eleven Eleven Wilshire” (aka 1111 Wilshire), is about 95% complete and is waiting to receive their TCO (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy) from the city soon before their first residential occupants can begin moving in hopefully by March 2013.
Posted in city west, downtown los angeles, mixed-use development, pedestrian oriented, real estate, smart growth
Tagged 1111 wilshire apartments, 1111 wilshire downtown la, apartments for rent in downtown la, apartments in downtown la, eleven eleven wilshire, eleven eleven wilshire downtown la, holland partners downtown la, rentals in downtown la
An artist rendering of what the new courtyard may look like when the “Verizon section” is removed from the PacMutual Building along 6th Street (Photo: Rising Realty Partners)
Earlier this month DTLA Rising broke the news that popular health-conscious eatery Tender Greens is officially coming to Downtown LA later this year, opening a 3,300 SF location at the PacMutual Building by Pershing Square, which was purchased last April 2012 by urban-minded developers Rising Realty Partners. But the exciting news doesn’t stop there. A new courtyard will be “carved out” of the PacMutual Building fronting 6th Street that will complement the arrival of Tender Greens by allowing for expanded outdoor patio dining. The proposed courtyard really isn’t “new” to be exact but is actually just restoring what was originally there: a historic courtyard created when the PacMutual Building expanded early on in the building’s history.
Posted in architecture, downtown los angeles, financial district, food, mixed-use development, pedestrian oriented, pershing square, restaurants
Tagged pacmutual building downtown la, pacmutual building los angeles, tender greens downtown la, tender greens dtla, tender greens los angeles, tender greens pacmutual building
A new Wetzel’s Pretzels sign points down toward the 7th/Metro subway station entrance where the new chain eatery is now open
A new Wetzel’s Pretzels has replaced the original “subway snack bar” that symbolized a new direction that LA was taking when it comes to walking vs driving and urban vs suburban. Back in summer of 2011, “Carmegeddon” was the talk of the town as many Angelenos feared the impending “shut down” and “collapse” of our city due to the closure of the 405 (aka, the Westside’s largest parking lot) as part of a billion dollar freeway-widening project. (Don’t we know by now that widening a freeway actually induces more traffic because it encourages driving?) The amount of irrational widespread national media coverage of the “impending shut down” spoke volumes about the general public’s negative impression of Los Angeles as an auto-obsessed town utterly dependent on the car where a single freeway closure could incapacitate all Angelenos!
Posted in cheap eats, downtown los angeles, environmentally green, financial district, food, mass transportation, pedestrian oriented, restaurants
Tagged wetzel's pretzels 7th/metro station, wetzel's pretzels downtown la, wetzel's pretzels downtown la locations, wetzel's pretzels los angeles
On Feb 19, 2013, three of LA’s most powerful cultural assets (Dudamel, Colburn Orchestra, and the WDHC) will join together for a night of magical musical performance (Photo: Discover LA)
Next Tuesday evening on February 19 at 8pm, three of Los Angeles’ most powerful cultural assets will join together for a night of musical performance: the passionate conductor of the LA Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, will conduct one of the country’s top 10 conservatories, the Colburn Orchestra, at the beautiful and acoustically superior Walt Disney Concert Hall. These three amazing elements — all based in Downtown LA along Grand Ave, which has become the cultural mecca of the West Coast — have elevated the world of music and culture in Los Angeles.
Posted in architecture, art and culture, bunker hill, downtown los angeles, education, events, pedestrian oriented
Tagged colburn orchestra, colburn orchestra disney hall, colburn school downtown la, colburn school los angeles, gustavo dudamel colburn school, gustavo dudamel la philharmonic
The new parklets downtown expand the realm of public space, taking over a metered parking spot and replacing it with more seating for example
Yesterday, Downtown LA celebrated the grand opening of two new parklets along Spring Street in the Historic Core, which has become one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Downtown LA now active with pedestrians and bicyclists almost around the clock. In case you’re not quite sure what a “parklet” is, they’re basically mini parks extended from the sidewalk that replace usually one or two metered parking spots. The most amazing thing about these parklets — besides the fact that they actually do expand our public space — is that they represent a change in attitude about what Los Angeles should be. In Los Angeles a decade ago, if you were to propose getting rid of a parking spot for any reason whatsoever, the pitch forks and torches would be coming out in mob form. And in some backward places in LA, that’s still the case unfortunately (I’m looking at you West LA).
One of the first redesign options for Pershing Square is to get rid of the walls to increase visibility and accessibility, returning it closer to the original form seen here in 1965 (Photo: LAPL)
Pershing Square has gone through several major overhauls since its inception in 1866 when it was then called La Plaza Abaja, or “The Lower Plaza.” In its current state (another major overhaul designed by Ricardo Legorreta and completed in 1992), purple, yellow and beige walls surround most of the square with giant pink cylinders lining the wall on Hill St, blocking accessibility and visual connections. In addition, long driveways on all four sides of the park — leading cars into an underground parking garage — run parallel to the sidewalk (instead of space saving perpendicular driveways) creating uncrossable rifts between the sidewalk and square. It’s as if the park was designed deliberately to cater to the automobile with the intention of keeping people out of the park.
Posted in architecture, community involvement, downtown los angeles, economic development, education, environmentally green, financial district, guest writer, historic core, Ideas for Downtown LA, parks, pedestrian oriented, pershing square, public spaces, smart growth
Tagged bryant park new york, friends of pershing square, pershing square downtown la, pershing square dtla, pershing square los angeles, pershing square pictures, union square san francisco