Monday, October 24, 2016

East L.A. takes back the streets with parklets

Whittier Boulevard Parklet | L.A. County Dept. of Public Works

Whittier Boulevard Parklet | L.A. County Dept. of Public Works

EAST LOS ANGELES –  Parklets – those slivers of public spaces that are turned into micro plazas and gathering spots – have arrived in East Los Angeles.  On Wednesday, county officials, including County Supervisor Hilda Solis, gathered on Mednik Avenue outside a burger place  to dedicate one of three parklets, which in this case resemble a backyard deck complete with seats, table and potted plants.

While the City of Los Angeles has installed parklets in El Sereno, Highland Park and other neighborhoods, the East L.A. parklets are a first for L.A. County. The parklets were installed  earlier this year on parking spaces on Mednik, Whittier Boulevard and First Street as part of a $211,000 pilot project intended to encourage walking and biking, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Works.

Nearby businesses owners are responsible for regular maintenance.

Mednik Avenue Parklet | L.A. County Dept. of Public Works

Mednik Avenue Parklet | L.A. County Dept. of Public Works

First Street Parklet | L.A. County Dept. of Public Works

First Street Parklet | L.A. County Dept. of Public Works

Everything You Wanted to Know About East L.A. Parklets

Cost: $211,000 for all three parklet sites


  • SoCal Burger Parklet – 203 Mednik Avenue
  • El Machin Parklet – 4514 Whittier Boulevard
  • El Kiosko Parklet – 3534 1st Street

Opened to the Public: January 14, 2015


  • Composite decks using post-industrial wood flour and post-consumer plastic
  • Native and drought-tolerant landscaping and coconut husk mulch

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  1. I think this is a ridiculously stupid idea and waste of money. LA is trying way to hard to be a contender in the ever increasing “hip” factor contest.

    • Valuable land and public space that are dedicated to making sure people have a place to park is a waste of money.

      I don’t think this has anything to do with being hip. It has to do with enhancing neighborhoods and reallocating public space so that it can be used by more people and helps generate activity for people instead of cars.

      Why is this stupid? Because you don’t like it?

    • I think people see the word “park” in parklet and assume that it is intended to be a green respite, a mini pocket “park” of sorts. Parklets could perhaps better be described as a street-porch, it’s a place to hang out and people watch in an urban setting, a parking space for humans rather than cars. What you link to is a nice little corner greenspace but it is not analogous to a parklet nor are the two striving to be the same thing.

  2. Now that’s what I’m talking about – a hell of a lot better than that overwrought one on York.

  3. They look really well done and blend in well!

  4. How long till the hobos take over these spots?

    • Well the hobos haven’t taken over the one on York Blvd in Highland Park, which has been around for a year or two. Is this the new way we decide whether we can have nice things or not– whether it will attract homeless people? Shall we get rid of downtowns, cause you know that’s were homeless people are concentrated, some might say they even have taken over parts of downtown. Maybe nuke them, right?

      • The York boulevard one has already required rebuilding though.

        • It’s “tactical urbanism.” Do something cheaply, learn from mistakes, then modify design. This ensures that if it is made a permanent structure or an actual bulb-out that it is done right. At least we’re recognizing what works and what doesn’t and then addressing the issue. We have so much crap that is screwed up but we don’t have the financial means to fix it because it is made in a more permanent manner. Modifying the design is not a sign of failure, anyone who lives in Highland Park knows that the parklet is used as intended, and not just by the so-called hipsters. However, to return to the main point. People cried that the York parklet would become a homeless encampment and I have yet to see a single homeless looking person “take over” it. We can plan based on fear or we can plan for a brighter future, I support the region’s efforts in pursuing the latter.

  5. Seems like they’ve totally overlooked safety. Regular traffic lane inches away from groups of seated people?? Looks like a wood railing for protection. yeesh!

  6. This is a very stupid idea, and completely shallow-minded, fad-oriented — and with an ulterior motive.

    It is not a “park” experience, as in a parklet. Sitting farther out in the middle of traffic whizzing by is not a pleasant park experience. And also, sitting out int he middle of traffic with cars whizzing by — is more dangerous that being on the sidewalk out of the way of traffic. If you have a death wish, great, go sit in these idiotic things, show us all what an idiot you are.

    What this is really about is this conniving and lying movement that has taken hold, all based on one guy, a deeply gadfly professor at UCLA, who would like to eliminate cars, throw the economy and everyone’s lives back a century to trying to function on foot, bicycle or unpleasant and extremely slow transit, serving to make it so you can’t get anything done as it takes too much time.

    Since thanks to building out instead of up, Los Angeles is not under the circumstance that New York City has gone to (and in reality that is wall-to-wall cars bumper-to-bumper everywhere, although this anti-car movement would have you believe no one is in a car in NYC), this movement is constantly conniving a way to lie to you about what they are doing and do everything possible to interfere with use of a car, in this case by eliminating street parking spaces so you will have more and more difficulty finding a place to park.

    And that is all this is about — this is not about a pleasant pedestrian experience, it is simply about thwarting cars through deceptive and dishonest means. I have yet to see this movement ever take an open and honest approach. They seem to think no one would support it if they knew the real reason behind it – and they are right.

    Parklets on the street and stupid and dangerous, and dishonest.

    • Sounds like cars whizzing by is the problem, not the parklet. What you’re saying is that if people get hurt from speeding cars then we should get rid of whatever spurred those people to be where they were when they got hit, rather than try to tame the speeding cars exceeding the legal speed limit.

      Who is this UCLA professor you speak of? When cars have had a 50 year monopoly in planning and transportation, everything that helps make the pedestrian, bicycle, or transit experience will be viewed as an attack but it is really just balancing a system that has been imbalanced for far too long.

      • Cars are supposed to whiz by on streets. That’s why it is dumb to think it a good idea to put parklets in them — they are not for parklets, parklets belong elsewhere. Its a shame that such an obvious and common sense matter like that has to be explained to some people. Hey, its not only the danger, its even the simple ambiance.

        As for your twisting of what I said, no, the cars are not speeding — that is a false and conniving assertion. In reality,they are already tamed, dong the speed limit or even less. Even if they were going under the speed limit, who wants to sit in the middle of a bunch of cars. I suppose you would serve your nightly family dinner in the garage next to the car rather than the dining room where it belongs.

        There is a reason why cars have gotten the attention in planning over the years – no one has forced people to use a car instead of a bicycle or bus, they have chosen to do so, and for very good reasons. And in Los Angeles, we avoided the horrors in New York; we built out, spreading it out, whereas New York built up, creating a disaster at ground level from the drastic per square inch density. But now, the fools shouting to get rid of the cars keep citing the disaster of New York as what we should have! No we should not, and if that is what you want, then go there.

        The anti-car lobby here has shown time and time again it is hand in hand with the push for drastic overdevelopment and much higher-rise buildings, the very mistake of New York that your planners should have learned from. This push against cars is being used as the legal justification for building that are just too tall, starting right with the small lot subdivision developments going as much as four stories tall in neighborhood with nothing else by one story houses and some two-story homes.

    • Carsmakepeoplestupid

      It never ceases to amaze me how miserable those that are forever stuck in their cars are. Come from out behind the windshield and join us out here in sunny Los Angeles.

    • lol, dude no one buys that conspiracy theory nonsense…

    • Your sense of entitlement is astounding. These are neighborhood streets, with neighborhood serving retail. We should be slowing down cars a bit and encouraging foot traffic. It’s safer for the community and better for the local economy. If you want to drive fast, take the freeway.

      • The cars are already limited to the slowest speed that is legal – by state law, linked to the scientifically determined safe speed for that roadway. They are not speeding, they are not recklessly racing along — you just make up false assertions and try to pass it off as fact. This is the kind of thing I was referring to. The facts don’t support your argument, so you make up facts.

        You throw out accusations, but you are the one claiming entitlement, not me. You feel entitled to encroach on roads set aside for cars, rather than put in a parklet in a more appropriate space. Its not like there isn’t any space in Los Angeles other than streets. And the shops you speak of would go out of business without the income from all the people going to them by car.

        • There’s a difference between a road (place for moving very quickly between two places) and a street (place for community circulation and local commerce.)

          The facts do support my argument. We have tens of thousands of deaths from cars every year in America… About 2-3 times higher per capita than most other first world nations.

          US Traffic engineering is at best a crude pseudo-science…. Most DOT’s value speed and throughput over safety and community.

        • When I drive by a business in my car that business … gets nothing. Cars don’t spend money, people do. People have to be out of their cars to spend money and tons of good science has shown that people walking and biking by stop and shop a hell of a lot more than people driving by do, with or without property amounts of car parking available.

    • Luskin Urban Planning professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris,who developed the parklet model, is not “a guy,” nor does she promote the ideas attributed to that “guy” upthread. Actually, under her proposal, parklets are actually intended as short-term installations circumventing laws that inhibit the free use of public spaces and sidewalks by citizens. These installations are not intended to be permanent, but mainly to inspire a community to adopt a more European/Latin American model of public space after it sees the benefits.

      You can hear her talk about the concept in this episode of the You Can’t Eat the Sunshine podcast: http://www.esotouric.com/canteatsunshine59

  7. JUST PLEASE!!!!! Resist the urge to write your “tag/handdle/moniker” -whatever on everything!!!

  8. Why are they wasting this money in East LA?! The money should be spent in areas with a higher property tax base: Hancock Park, West LA…hell, even Silver Lake.

    This is just another example of throwing good money after bad.

    • Good Point! Its because the city does not care about the reals needs and wants of the people. The city only cares about $$ and theres no upside ($$) to installing these stupid “parklets” in Hancock Park, West LA. The city only sees the potential to generate profits in these “up and coming neighborhoods” so they are willing to “dump” money to try and make the possibilities realities.

      • Heaven forbid the city try to make community improvements in working class neighborhoods. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t I guess.

  9. I have to agree with Mark. Parklets make absolutely no sense. I welcome the construction of greenspace in our urban areas, but dropping a concrete block covered in “art” with a flimsy rail for protection on the side of a busy street is asking for trouble. We are already dealing with increased traffic and lack of parking as everyone floods east to an area that has always been cool…. but now we have cold pressed juice. We dont need these parklets….at least not the ones we have that look like shit.

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