Silver Lake’s Polka Dot Plaza to become a permanent fixture

Polka Dot Plaza in March 2012

It’s been nearly two years since a section of Griffith Park Boulevard was closed off and painted with a green-on-green polka dot pattern to create Sunset Triangle Plaza – aka Polka Dot Plaza. The Silver Lake experiment in public-space making on the cheap was a temporary demonstration project. But, if a motion by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell gets approved, Polka Dot Plaza will become a permanent pedestrian plaza.

Last month, the city’s Department of Transportation reached an agreement with the Silver Lake Improvement Association over a permit for the management, maintenance and operation of the plaza on Griffith Park Boulevard between Sunset Boulevard and Edgecliffe Drive. Says the motion:

With the success of the Plaza and its integration into community life, it is now appropriate to make this demonstration project a permanent fixture in Silver Lake. By designating this public space as a pedestrian mall under California law, the operators of the Plaza can implement appropriate greening, including trees, and link the Plaza with an adjoining park.

While cars have bashed several times into a barrier protecting the plaza and the painted street could use a new coat of green, neighborhood residents and groups have held several events on the site, which is home to the twice-a-week Silver Lake Farmers’ Market.

The pilot project was organized by Streets for People, which is  a coalition seeking to transform underused streets into public spaces.


  1. Bravo! Now please get rid of that awful K-rail. Put up a cinder-block wall if you have to and paint it. Anything would be an improvement.

  2. They should figure out funding to extend the mini-park out onto the plaza, so the whole thing is just grass and trees, elevated above the street level by a curb.

  3. Can they pick a less jarring color this time?

  4. I echo the sentiment of a less jarring color. Aside from being the color of a kale smoothie puke, when the sun shines on that green paint, it really really really hurts my eyes.

  5. OK, great!
    But what is the story with the block nextdoor? A neighbor told me the entire block (where the hair salon and Conquistador and the indian restaurant) are being leveled and tuned into A PARKING LOT?

    • That would be pretty nutty… I can’t imagine that happening without a huge fight.

    • They had a community meeting explaining that the Conquistador is being taken over by a celebrity chef and the chef is opening a restaurant where Naya and Conquistador stands. They’re still in talks with whether the salon will pay rent that has been raised 3x to what she’s paying now. They didn’t tell us the celebrity chef’s name. This meeting was in November.

    • i don’t hate this idea though…

  6. I can’t wait! Please increase the size of the fountain. It only fits one person at a time.

  7. LA could use more of these places/spaces. That’s what (IMO) makes European cities (i.e London, Frankfurt, Berlin) so enjoyable! Their awesome architecture is SURELY another reason as well, but moreso its the numerous public plazas/gathering places for pedestrians to sit, chat, gaze or just relax allows one to really appreciate the vibe(s) of those cities.

  8. Polka Dot Plaza is a pretty stupid name for this pretty stupid space, but it could be worse. I hope they get corporate sponsorship and call is Mountain Dew Plaza.

  9. my only suggestion is they actually invest a few bucks and instead of painting it this horrible color, maybe throw down some cobblestones or at least a more pleasing design that doesn’t look like discount bed sheets.

  10. not a bad idea but why can’t it have more style? as in A LOT more style. why do they always pick mid-level designers to design things that we all have to look at? it could and should be something that people talk about because it’s so beautifully done.

  11. I drive by this mess at least 4 times a day and it’s not a park, just city subsidized seating for the restaurant next door. Where is the wonderful public space that was promised? The city needs to hire a professional landscape architect to design something a lot nicer than painted asphalt and some patio furniture. How about a landscaped berm instead of a cheapo traffic barrier and a lawn or cobble stones instead of tacky faded polka dots?

    • I am surprised that you really don’t get it. This was deliberately done on the cheap so that we wouldn’t have to wait for funding to have a permanent and elaborate design. The paint and chairs are a temporary intervention so that people can start enjoying the space today while we wait for funding so that it can be made permanent. The current iteration is not the final product, understand?

    • Cobble Stones??? Are you serious?!!?
      If you were to make a list of the most cliche materials to pave a street with; ‘cobble stones’ would be at the top of that list.

  12. Urban Polka Dot Plaza Fabricator

  13. I agree that they need to hire a professional landscape architect this time. This new trend in cheapening out on design fees and having amateurs design our public spaces isn’t working out! The garish green polka dot park is just one example. For another example look at the low level of design the $2,500 “honorarium” bought the community with the rusty saddle design that is supposed to go up by the jiffy lube……

  14. The whole polka dot thing was so that the plaza could be created simply and, if needs be, temporarily. Now that it will be (yeah!) permanent, there can be some designs for nicer ongoing features–unless the people want polka dots!

    • No! The polka dots have been there ever since I moved to Silverlake. For me, they represent the creativeness of the community, and are part of our heritage that we should think long and hard before just bulldozing and replacing with some cookie-cutter design. Save the Polka Dots!

      • Ha! I actually like the polka dots, too. Definitely hoping for more green space in the final design – but would love to see some polka dots as a tip o’ the hat to the first iteration.

  15. Complain Complain Complain – There are people in South Central Los Angeles who would be so happy to have any open safe. place. Thats what you should be complaining about. !

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