One of the hottest districts in Downtown LA just got another little “urban boost” today. Within all the frenetic construction activity happening throughout South Park, the immediate neighborhood surrounding 11th and Hope has organically developed to become the center of the growing residential community, and today marked another great milestone with the opening of a brand new parklet installed by the South Park BID.
Last year on a summer evening in July, a reckless drunk driver plowed his friend’s car into the Spring Street parklet in front of LA Cafe after a night of partying. Thank goodness no one was fatally hurt, but the parklet — which initially opened in Feb 2013 to much fanfare — was subsequently closed to the public as a result of the damage sustained by the car’s impact. The parklet was then fenced off and became an embarrassing eyesore in the community as the city neglected to resolve the issue in a timely manner. After a very long 8 months, the parklet finally reopened yesterday, albeit with less media attention this time around.
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).