Silver Lake polka dot detour ahead*

As promised, a stretch of Griffith Park Boulevard between Maltman Avenue and Edgecliff Drive was closed off on Sunday in preparation for the creation of a pedestrian plaza painted that will feature a field of green polka dots painted on the asphalt. Walkers and joggers were already taking advantage of the traffic-free street that will be called Sunset Triangle Plaza (doesn’t Polka Dot Place sound better?). The plastic barricades will be replaced by some larger planters as part of the one-year pilot project sponsored by Streets for People. A grand opening for the plaza, which will also include outdoor tables and seating as well as a bike corral, has been scheduled for March 4.

Correction: A previous version of this post gave the wrong grand opening date. The correct date is March 4.


  1. It will be interesting to see how this works out over the year. Personally, I have my reservations. I don’t see the adjacent businesses filling up the empty street. I don’t see a mass influx of street users requiring former auto lanes (except, of course the Tuesday & Saturday markets). A painted street does not a park make. They really should have gone the entire distance and actually made it a park. Or better yet, build a 6′ CMU block wall around it. It would make a nice bookend to Cafe Stella’s wall!

    • God , shut up about that wall already ! MOVE ON !

    • You’re right, just an empty asphalt street does not a park make. But then, regardless of what has been said, this really is not about making a park. It is about a demonstration project for kicking cars off the streets and out of the way of bicyclists. That’s why this project will take out a sizable chuck of the empty street to put in a “bicycle corral” rather than space for people to use as a park.

      So you see, someone riding a bicycle doesn’t want grass there because that is not good for riding a bicycle. This isn’t about a park for people, its about getting rid of cars, turning the streets over to bicycles. Too bad they couldn’t be honest and just say so.

      This is just the start. From here, they want to close off two lanes of Rowena to hand over to bicycles, and they also want to close Santa Monica Boulevard from Manzanita to the merger with Sunset, a heavily used section. They also have pushed to eliminate some on-street parking spaces just east of the “park” and turn it over for something like 40 bicycle parking spaces. And more and more just keeps getting pushed.

      The idea is that everyone will stop driving, will ride a bike — rain, hot sun, cold, whether going 15 miles to work or getting a carload of groceries, whether old and infirm or young, whether you have all day to lollydag around or are in a rush. Whether you want to or not.

      • And they’ll get it since they clearly don’t have to consult residents of the area.

      • You are ridiculous.

        • I know right. No infirm person will be forced to ride their bike 15 miles to get groceries. No commuter is even the slightest bit burdened by driving an extra half block and turning right.

          1. its a year long pilot project so if it really ends up being a burden (which it wont) then we can always revert back. You’re not going to spend extra money to turn it into a proper park when its a pilot project.

          2. Not everyone in the area hates this I live two blocks away and its fine yeah I liked that little shortcut on my way to TJ’s but a little public space is good too. With just a little imagination it could host all kinds of community events.

          3. get over the parking spaces we’re loosing about 10 metered spaces and 5 or 6 of those will be made up for along Sunset.

          • Coming up sunset (from DT), this hasn’t really become a shortcut to TJ’s anymore anyway. Maybe 20 years ago when there were a total of maybe 2 or 3 stop signs on griffith park bl., but today there’s like 7 stop signs on G.P. blvd. It’s faster to pass this, make a right on Hyperion and take Hyperion up.

            I live on G.P. blvd and Tracy and will take Hyperion instead…unless traffic on Sunset dictates otherwise.

            Though with this now blocked off, I wonder how backed up the right turn @ Hyperion might become….

  2. Looks like a crime scene in front of my apartment.

    • It’s a crime scene alright. It’s a crime when a certain mindset of politicians decide what to do with a street that we all as tax payers pay for with a total disregard of the community that they are suposed to serve. An example of this can be seen in the Peoples Republic of West Hollywood.

      • But Robin, we as tax payers are all paying for the park too, and the same politicians will be making the decisions about what to do with that. You don’t like it vote for someone else, that’s how this works.

        • Sadly i cant vote in an area that i work in, that i sometime shop near that i have to drive through. I can only spread the word like this. If i lived in the area i could walk and bike to it, but if your shops are going to rely local people shopping at stores in the area your going to go broke. Seems like the mindset that i previously referred to wants to put bike lanes everywhere even where there is already bumper to bumper traffic. Like the idiot suggestion to make Rowena a one lane street with a bike lane. If you want to vote for these morons go for it, i will continue to condemn it. Maybe some of you will start listing instead of blindly following because it has this utopian idealistic image that you all seem strive for.

          • Why should our neighborhood only be a nice place for outsiders to drive through quickly and park easily? Shouldn’t a neighborhood first serve the needs of the people who live there? Silver Lake has a shortage of public spaces and our streets have very fast moving traffic that makes walking and cycling less attractive and safe to locals, the community has been addressing the problem for years. What’s so horrible about improving the safety and livability of our neighborhood? How would you like it if someone from another neighborhood started telling you not to build public spaces or bike lanes or pedestrian improvements because it might add 20 seconds to their commute? OMG, you might have to slow down from 40mph to 20mph when you pass through, or occasionally wait at an extra traffic light… the sky is falling!

  3. I can’t believe that money is being spent on this plan and wondering if it will worsen the traffic in an already congested area. And yeah, get past the Cafe Stella wall.

  4. Yeah, I don’t see the big deal about this. Though if I was homeless it would look attractive to me ;-/

  5. Im homeless, and can’t wait for the city to build another hang spot for me and my buds!

  6. the grand opening is March 4th not the 5th.

  7. So it’s cool if I drink a 40 here at this thing right?

  8. Why not just put the bike corral at where K2 was? Abandoed breakfast places 4 people?

  9. what a drag for all of us who live nearby and drive on this street everyday … will this be like the farmer’s market 7 days a week? so even more yuppies will be blocking my driveway so they can ‘walk’ to the pedestrian park…. LOL …. (see you at the opening)

  10. 6 parking spots loss sucks, but give me a break. Everybody who “lives” on that street = nobody. It’s only commercial buildings on one side of the street. Waitresses and businesses complaining about people not going to their places of business are insane. Nobody, literally nobody who used to drive all the way from the Westside to Cru would stop making the drive because there are 6 less parking spots. That is the worst argument I’ve heard about it yet. If anything, Cru will do better than before because they now have a more pleasant view/setting (polka dots notwithstanding) but still have all the Sunset Blvd visibility they had before. No brainer for them (and for their concerned, but ultimately whiny waitress).

    Then people are saying there is inconsistency between the idea that “it is hardly used so what’s the problem” and “it’s dangerous.” Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, one could argue that the inconsistent flow makes people drive more quickly when they exit, therefore making it unsafe. The argument that there are not very many cars that use the street is true. Given the activity of that street versus others, it’s not like this is a major thoroughfare. So that first argument stands up. But the fact that it’s shaped like a freeway off ramp does make it more dangerous than a typical right turn. To argue otherwise about the off-ramp style turn would be insincere. So yeah, sorry dude from the previous article, but people can use both argument simultaneously with being hypocritical.

    So really, what are people mad about?

    First, less parking. Yeah, it sucks, we get it.

    Second, they feel like they weren’t “consulted.” Sorry, but if you want to be a part of the community planning you need to go to meetings, etc. Nobody is going to consult everybody, every time. What a waste of resources to do that. Obviously this is the internet and people like to complain. Since we like Silver Lake (which we do) we figure change will make it less likable. And that’s certainly a valid concern, but really, does anybody think that this “park” makes Silver Lake less enjoyable? Change happens, and if you leave things to natural progression it happens in the wrong direction: buildings and neighborhoods don’t get nicer by leaving them alone. They get uglier and more dangerous. Maintaining historic property is important, but that’s different than arguing that making changes like this are bad for the city. Pretty sure this street isn’t historic. Plus they already have the weekly example of the farmer’s market…it can’t get much easier to test the viability of a street closure than something that already happens twice a week.

    Third, some sort of tax complaint, I guess? When it’s a street the taxpayers still pay for maintenance etc. You know that right? So to argue that the public has to pay for this would only be half the story.

    Fourth, I don’t know, what am I missing?

  11. First they force you to ride bicycles and then they force you to join the Communist Party and, before you know it, you’re living in a USSR-style dormitory with only a thin curtain between you and the hipster vegans next door who have completely ruined this once great if formerly somewhat dangerous hood with their facial hair and organic tofu.

  12. I was just over there and checked it out. Now that it is closed, it is pretty well completely deserted. I guess it is not much of an attraction for people after all. When I was there at the end of the morning, there were two people sitting outside the Morning-Night restaurant, and one person who was just walking through en route to go farther down Griffith Park. And that’s it. No one was using the space in any way, no one else was even there.

    And no cars were allowed down there, had to go up a block or two, stop and make and right and then stop again and make a left in order to get onto Griffith Park to go through. I did notice a number of cars, probably five or more as walked by, and one motorcycle, making the right onto Lucille and go up to Griffith Park Blvd. No, not a one turned into the shopping mall on the corner with Big Mac’s Liquor, they were heading all the way to Griffith Park Blvd.

    It was late morning and there were plenty of other people walking along Sunset in the Junction and sitting at the restaurants there — but not at this newly closed space.

    Another well considered plan.

    • Very scientific Tom. Thanks.

    • You cant really judge if its a success while its in the process of being renovated and barricaded with ugly DOT signs and barriers before the extra Sunset parking is even installed. We really see the finished product before well know how well its working or not

    • Yeah it was pretty clearly under construction this weekend. I’m assuming it will be a little more inviting once completed.

      Come on people, it’s six parking spaces and two extra turns for a public space in our neighborhood!

      • a space that isn’t filled up with people, where one can visually breath, is just as successful as one that is filled up… sometimes more

        it’s hard to believe so many people want to fill this place up with cars, bikes, humans, dogs, etc.

        less can be a lot more especially when it comes to a city

  13. Projects like this have been done in major cities, at much larger and busier intersections, with lots more population density, and with greater “impact” on parking and traffic patterns. And the results have been pretty good. This has been done in Times Square where Broadway meets 7th and at the intersection of Broadway and 5th near the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park. So many European cities have re-purposed streets formerly clogged with cars into pedestrian spaces, and they’d never go back. Of course there was some whining in those places, too, but some of the comments here really goes to show how LA has pretty much sold its soul to car culture. Couple generations now of Angelenos that have known nothing but the dominance of cars here with no real efficient public transportation options.

    • Mett Gingrich…

      Mitt Gingorum…

      Newt Gingorum…

      Mitt Gingrich…

      Mitt or Newt or Mett. Whats the diff?

      • Who cares what new Yorkers or europeans do?

        • You should. Because most major cities and some not so major cities in the US and many European cities (and Asian cities too) have done projects like this that their residents actually enjoy and that have improved their quality of life, if even in just a small way. That parking is your main gripe and that you don’t feel like you weren’t included in the process speaks to the dominance of car culture in LA and the disconnectedness to neighborhoods and community that that culture has caused.

    • How is this going to make public transport better???

      • By maybe introducing the idea that its okay for their to be shared spaces in LA. The car culture keeps us all in our mobile cocoons. LA car culture has demonized public transportation. Why do you think there’s not overwhelming public support of and always resistance to even the idea of fast, efficient public transportation projects? Unfortunately for a lot of people here, it’s all we know. And it’s all connected.

      • Wow, you guys sound like a politician’s answer to a direct question.
        There’s already been a farmers market there blocking off that street for years, and doing exactly as you’ve said; “promoting a sense of community”.

        Tell me specifically how that’s helped public transport?

        • And you sound like someone who’s really not willing to accept the answer that’s already been given. What specifically is confusing you?

          It’s the lack of these public spaces that’s the problem. Adding more of them, like this one, will perhaps help counter the car culture, as I’ve mentioned before.

        • I dont think anyone said he famers market helped traffic but to your question yes I’m saying that creating a community based culture results in better civic services including transportation. How cities and architecture are planned reflects what we value and influence ow we behave.

          To simplify the idea. having places to meet leeds to familiarity, familiarity leads to communication, communication leads to shared neighborly concerns (among other things) which leads to thinking about the neighborhood as a whole, which lead to action. Its the belief in a grass roots approach to say in this case traffic. Rather than widening the roads or creating more freeways which is more likely to happen when people are thinking about themselves, communities think about solutions like public transport.

          That’s how I think things like this help traffic, among other things although i’m pretty sure you have no idea what i’m talking about.

          • So basically, it’s the thought that counts. And perhaps that thought might lead to action (a little community space), which ‘might’ lead to, well, ‘something’, that might lead to another ‘something’ and out of all these good thoughts we’ll finally have a metro subway station built under that triangle.

            While you hope and pray for that, I’m betting it’s gonna turn into a homeless encampment. Hope the people that live/work/and eat/meet around there already, don’t mind—just tell them that eventually it will ‘help public transport’….somehow.

          • Or it leads to 4 dudes who don’t live in my building drinking cans of bud on the porch and then leaving them there for someone else to clean up. Which is what happened tonight.

          • Don’t worry Robert, it’s all part of the ‘sense of community’, and since mark and Mett are very community motivated, they’d love to come down on a regular bases and help clean the empty beer cans off your porch and the rest of the trash, etc. that will accumulate in that new triangle ‘public space’,…correct?

            Also don’t forget, it will “help public transport”.

          • yea, no its not a thought its an actual physical park and the study of how civic planning and architecture influences us is easy to investigate….. aaaaanyway you ask how someone could believe more public space helps traffic and I told you of course you really dont care you just disagree which is fine.

            as far as the residence of that apartment building having to park on sunset and walk an extra 100 feet across the triangle to carry their groceries who gives a shit. that street doesnt belong to the people in that building. i live two blocks away and the church on my block is constantly clogging the parking with people who dont live there or being shut down for their church functions. yea its a little more inconvenient than if i could always park on my street and yes theres sometimes extra trash but guess what we live in a little thing called a society

          • oh dude, are you complaining about people complaining about parking and then complaining about parking. awesome.

          • dude i wasn’t complaining about parking. it pretty clear i was just stating that minor parking problems are just part of living in the city. AND The very minor inconvenience (at best) a few people claim this will be is a weak argument against the benefits

          • I’ve parked up by that church ‘cos parking isn’t that bad up there, plus, the church has always been there so if you moved near the church, you know what you’re getting into. Sorta like moving near an airport.

            For people who live down by the triangle, where parking is already BAD (a known issue), they have now lost permanent parking spots 24/7, not just sometimes. And while you might think that they were just metered spots that were lost, so ‘no big deal’, consider that the retail/food customers that would have used the metered spots now have to park somewhere else, which means they will take up/use spaces that the residents woulda used, thereby pushing them to park further away, and so on.

            This isn’t a case of walking ‘100 feet to carry their groceries’. I went to the farmers market on one Sat. and I had to park up PAST the church. That is how far one would have to walk w/groceries if living in that apt building, at least on that day.

          • I would have no idea that just because a church (with several lot of their own lots) would mean there they’d be clogging up the parking for blocks around. Also the parking is worst when they have their fairs which have increased in frequency in the last 7 years so unless I moved in during a church function an they told me they would be increasing would have no idea about that either. Plus the amount of street parking the commandeer is literally 5 or 6 times the amount of space available over by the triangle. So parking over here once in a while is nothing like parking here everyday I’ve parked over there and walked home as well so what.

            To respond to your other points the farmers market day isn’t what were talking about. that would have no bearing on the triangle plaza impact because its already there, although it does bring up the point that the neighborhood does want and benefit from it that’s why its so well attended. Just like the neighborhood benefits from the churches functions and their tax dollars pay for this street too.

            Also if you look at the plan closely ( or at all) There is a two lane driveway for deliveries which will actually guarantee spots for delivery ( which businesses don’t have now) plus I’m sure people are going to use those lanes for their own groceries.

            A typical day you have about a 75% chance the worst thing that will happen of walking an extra 100 feet and that’s IF you CAN”T use the delivery lanes. I mean cmon man stop crying there is absolutely nothing to feel sorry about for anyone in that apartment building and its annoying that people are acting put upon because they might have to walk an extra 1oo feet. AND the Streets for People did the most responsible thing possible by making this a year long pilot project which means if it truly is disruptive to the community as a whole and not just one building than it can all be reverted. But that still isnt enough. Like the ridiculous “Save the Meadow” group there’s just no compromising with some people. I’m glad this is happening your not the only with parking problems just deal with it like everybody else does and stop being so selfish.

          • I don’t live there, just noted that I had to park beyond the church a few times to go to things at the triangle, and that the Church hasn’t taken away parking spaces away permanently after you moved in. AND, that the parking isn’t that bad up by the church. I guess I’ve been luckier than you since every time I’ve parked on that street, the church had no ‘event’.

            Again, as I’ve posted in this thread before (look at my very first post), I don’t really care that much about this triangle. I only took issue with the comment(s) that it would help public transport. I still think that’s quite a stretch. If someone can post links of ‘community spaces’ that directly contributed to the creation of the Metro subway system, I’d like to see it.
            And If all you’re gonna do is say it ‘indirectly contributes’, well, all I can say is that Everything ‘indirectly contributes’, including smog.

            It might become a nice spot, but that remains to be seen. It could also become a trash pit for the homeless, and an eyesore. But as you mentioned, it is a pilot project, so we will see….

          • * Actually, my 2nd post I mentioned that I thought it wasn’t really a big deal.

          • yes believe me I can understand why someone wouldn’t see the possibility of change unless there is an immediate 1 for 1 results. I guess the only point the the poster was trying to make is a grass roots change in culture is a more effective long term solution than addressing the symptoms. Parking is a symptom and lack of public support and development for public transport is more the actual problem, that’s not to say more parking cant ever be part of the solution.

  14. I don’t live right there but close by and would take that little short cut often. I don’t think it’s going to make people ride bikes, I think it just add a little more traffic to a already congested street. I think the green dot idea is ugly. Why not expand that little park and add real green and maybe plant some real trees. The under construction signs were pointless. I saw a car drive right into the area and zig zagging around them. The city is going to do whatever it wants to.

  15. I mean, seriously folks, hey closed TIMES SQUARE for the same idea and it hasn’t made already bad traffic any worse in New York. TIMES SQUARE. This is a little side street off of Sunset. Peeps need to get a grip…LA traffic is bad whether or not this project happens.

    • This isn’t about traffic for me, I could care less about some short cut to trader Joe’s. It sucks that streets for people didn’t gauge the people in our building to their idea, it sucks that because some dudes think a bike corral for visitors is more important than parking for residents (I know it was metered but it was helpful for dropping off groceries or having visitors park there) and it sucks that in the end, it’s going to be a hideous green polka dot thing I have to look at every day until my lease is up.

  16. Can’t wait to see how well the green polka dots on concrete match up with the ejaculating wolf graffiti on the corner. It will be like Silver Lake’s answer to LA Live. This neighborhood gets uglier by the day.

  17. The Tri-Polka Park will beautify and open up an armpit of a triangle. The folks in the apartment building will just have to suck it. You’re renters. You won’t be there for ever. You don’t have a say in a permananet redevelopment, your landlord does. We get it, you’re angry because you live in an apartment in LA. Buy a house or STFU. A plaza is better than the ugly drippy fountain and unused space. It will look great and everyone will enjoy it, just like the Meadow Park by the reservoir that some folks protested and now it is just fine and beautiful.

  18. you morons complaining bout the street closure, move ! New Yorkers go back . there’s alota people who walk around Silver lake with their nose in the air, in case you forgot your in silver lake not Beverly Hills. this is L.A. she’s a grimy whore and a sweet spice all at once deal with it or go back to the west side..

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