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
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).
A rendering of the Wilshire Grand Tower that will rise at 7th and Figueroa in Downtown LA’s Financial District with a height of 1,100 feet tall to the spire (Photo: AC Martin)
Los Angeles, feast your eyes on the new finalized rendering of Wilshire Grand Tower from AC Martin that will rise prominently in Downtown LA’s burgeoning Financial District. So prominent, in fact, that the new “billion dollar tower” will surpass LA’s current tallest skyscraper — Library Tower (aka US Bank Tower) at 1,018 feet — as the new tallest on the West Coast (taller than any other structure west of Chicago). At 73 floors and 1,100 feet tall including the spire, which counts toward the building’s official height according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the new Wilshire Grand Tower will be a substantial addition to the LA skyline, reorienting the visual weight currently centered around the Library Tower toward this new gleaming structure to the southwest. The tower will be capped by an iconic sail-shaped architectural feature that will be illuminated with LED lighting at night (a common sight in Asia’s flagship cities like Shanghai).
Posted in architecture, downtown los angeles, economic development, financial district, hotels, mixed-use development, office, real estate, smart growth
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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
The newly completed STV-designed station canopy at Pershing Square gives the station a stronger identity and higher visibility
Pretty much exactly a year ago, we learned that two subway stations in Downtown LA were getting new modern station canopies (courtesy of Metro) that would make the portals both more visible to riders (especially visitors unfamiliar with LA’s transit network) and to help protect the escalators and entryway from the elements. A year later, the two downtown stations — Civic Center and Pershing Square — have now completed construction on the new oval-shaped glass canopies.
Posted in architecture, downtown los angeles, environmentally green, historic core, mass transportation, pedestrian oriented, pershing square, public spaces, smart growth
Tagged los angeles subway stations, new subway canopies in los angeles, pershing square subway station, subway stations in los angeles, transit in los angeles
Groundbreaking begins today on Onni Group’s new 32-story apartment tower at 9th and Olive in Downtown LA (Photo: Ryan Lehman)
Better late than never right? What was supposed to be a “Dec 1, 2012″ groundbreaking for Vancouver-based Onni Group’s 32-story apartment tower at 9th and Olive has been delayed until now, almost two months later. A reader sends in this photo from today that shows construction activity has now finally begun in earnest for the 888 Olive tower. Fencing has been put up around the perimeter and construction equipment and crews were spotted on site performing pre-construction work.
Posted in architecture, downtown los angeles, historic core, mixed-use development, real estate, smart growth
Tagged 888 olive downtown la, 888 olive street tower downtown la, 888 s olive street tower, apartments for rent in downtown la, luxury apartments in downtown la, luxury rentals in downtown la, onni group downtown la