28 April 2012

The Best Kind of [Street] Closure

LOS ANGELES - This week I finally got a better look at that green thing on Griffith Park Boulevard that I've driven past countless times since I began working in Silver Lake. First of all, it has a name: Sunset Triangle Plaza. And, lucky for Silver Lake residents, it's Los Angeles' first street-turned-pedestrian-plaza. On Wednesday the organization de LaB, which hosts an event once a month (or more) centered around a particular designer, invited some of the people behind this project to speak on its who-what-when-where-why. These people include Streets for People's Margot Ocañas and Anna Peccianti, Frank Clementi of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, and the president of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, Bill Roschen. Interestingly, Streets for People is an initiative of the planning commission with the County Department of Public Health, who, obviously, promotes health and well being for LA County. So, aside from the fact that the plaza appeals to the eye (although some beg to differ), its purpose is to get people, including myself, moving a bit more. Considering that it opened more than a month ago, and I work less than a mile away, I could have walked there on one of my lunch breaks long ago…

In addition to the beckoning field of polka dots, Sunset Triangle features a line of potted plants at each end, like opposing rows of pieces on a chessboard; a basketball goal; the same tried and true moveable tables and chairs as the ones used in New York's pedestrian plazas; and only the second bike corral installed by LADOT. Wednesday's speakers confirmed that, since its unveiling on March 4, the space has been well received and, at least anecdotally, a boon to the shops that front the plaza. Apparently the kids like it too; a young girl was spotted hopscotching from one polka dot to the next. Cute.

As for the choice of green (Behr's Lemon Grass and Grape Green, for those who care), it was the result of a process of elimination, No Parking Red being one of the first eliminated.

The plaza is supposed to disappear in a year, but I wouldn't be surprised if it stays, as I think it should. If Angelenos can circumvent this street for a year, I don't see why they can't give it up for good—and for a good cause.

Frank Clementi of Clementi Hale Studios (far left) and Marissa Gluck of de LaB (center).

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