City seeking to repair York Boulevard parklet damaged by hit-and-run

Damaged parklet has been fenced off

Damaged parklet has been fenced off

HIGHLAND PARK — With its colorful mosaics, planters and redwood benches, the York Boulevard Parklet turned a strip of the street into a curbside patio where pedestrians could sit and take in the scene. But the parklet has been fenced off since the end of July after a hit-and-run driver smashed into the structure and vandals inflicted more damage. Now, city and neighborhood officials are trying to figure out how to repair the parklet.

The 20-foot-long parklet on York near Avenue 50  was completed in early 2013 as part of the People Street program, which aims to create more pedestrian-friend environments. In addition to Highland Park, parklets, have popped up in Downtown, East L.A. and El Sereno, creating sidewalk-adjacent seating areas on what had been part of the roadway. The city spent an estimated $30,000 to build the York Boulevard parklet, a city official said.

Motor vehicles have run into other People Street projects, including Polka Dot Plaza in Silver Lake, where officials had to install stronger barriers.

Elizabeth Gallardo, an Assistant Project Coordinator with the city’s Department of Transportation, said the York Boulevard parklet had been well used until a hit-and-run driver crashed into the structure in mid-July. Vandals later caused even more damage, prompting Councilman Jose Huizar and the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, which is responsible for maintaining and repairing the seating area, to fence off the parklet, Gallardo said.

The parklet “will definitely reopen” Gallardo said. However, it’s not clear when that will happen and how much it will cost. The city and chamber of commerce are “working diligently on a repair plan,” she said.

“Repair plans are still in development, but the repair will require significant rebuilding of the parklet,” she said.

York Boulevard Parklet needs repairs 9-8-2015 12-43-28 PM

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  1. 20 years ago, I used to drive to work on York, so I’ve watched the gentrification with mixed feelings. Honestly, several times just in the past month, stuck in traffic on York, I thought, that’s a really stupid location for a parklet. How many times have people crashed through barricades into farmers’ markets? And those are generally large, well marked locations. Considering how many fender benders happen when people park on busy streets, I really think it was lucky no one was injured this time.

    • A hit -and-run busted up the Highland Café nearby on York Sunday morning, is that a bad location for a café? Irresponsible drivers are the problem, not the parklet. Hope the city finds a way to repair it, but moreover hope they (specifically Cedillo) find a way to make Highland Park safer for pedestrians in general.

    • What drove your need to mention gentrification? Just because?

  2. It is a failed experiment. Return it to parking.

    • Yeah, property values and foot traffic have really plummeted on York in recent years… the problem is not the parklet, it’s the speeding cars.

      • And cars are going to stop speeding why? Having seating stick out into the street is a terrible idea with predictable consequences. Planters without irrigation was another terrible idea that had predictable results as well. The plants that survived did so barely and always looked terrible.

        • It’s basically a curb extension… sure this one is kinda ugly, but nothing about this is any more unsafe or unpleasant than any other sidewalk in Los Angeles.

          • Except the row of parked cars between other sidewalks and the street. If there is a curb extension ot is usually at a crosswalk where people are standing in at least a somewhat alert state of mind not sitting with their backs to potential danger.

          • Don’t kid yourself, we’re in danger all the time in this city… plenty of streets don’t have parked cars as a buffer (and typically much faster traffic flow than York.) Especially at rush hour, when the city has peak hour parking restrictions that open up those lanes on most major streets.

            Anyway, cars hit people in crosswalks every day. They also drive up on the curb and crash into people and buildings on a regular basis. This is all very predictable behavior, when you engineer surface streets using highway geometry and sync traffic lights for top speeds (leaves little room for the inevitable human error.)

    • You are correct: the experiment of overly fast private motor car traffic between expensive signalized lights cutting right into the commercial and residential core of a city is a failed experiment.

  3. If they must rebuild it, can we get something that doesn’t look like it was designed and built by a homeless hippie?

  4. What a terrible article with many typos and mistakes, please proof read the articles before publishing.
    Also by looking at the picture and driving by it on a daily basis, I really do not see where is the repair needed???

    • Thats simply the minimum charge for having any repairs done.
      If they only have to replace two planks, four bolts, one planter and repaint the curb—it’s still going to cost $30,000.

      • I agree, it’s because of the lazy union workers. A lot of hommies that work at the MTA just leave work at 1 pm and they never get fired

  5. So with all these driving crimes committed in hpark recently, Hispanics have proven to be the worst drivers

  6. How about replacing it with a “Open to All” Edible Garden plot where passerbys can grab an edible vegetable or fruit from the planter as they continue walking down the street. They can be invited to replant an edible plant to replace a dying one or one out of season and just keep it a living sustainable part of the community.

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