First Parklet Completed Through LADOT People Street Program

Jan. 15, 2016

In a pioneering effort to foster a more walkable and sustainable community, the South Park Business Improvement District (BID) completed a first-of-its-kind parklet, a mini public park and seating platform, at the Southwest corner of Hope and 11th Street. With dedicated support from conception to creation from over 15 sponsors and partners, the Hope Street Parklet is a reflection of its collaborative neighborhood. The parklet is the inaugural step in the South Park Walkability Project, an effort to make the neighborhood more pedestrian-friendly. It is also the first parklet to be approved and built through the LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) People Street Program.

"I applaud the BID for its commitment to facilitating a transformative, creative, and sustainable space for the DTLA community," said Councilmember Jose Huizar. "This parklet is part of the City's People Street Program, which is inspired by efforts in Council District 14 to bring green space and complete-streets improvements to DTLA and the City of Los Angeles. I encourage other developers to look to South Park's initiative, process, and product as a leading example."

"Working with the community to make neighborhoods more enjoyable and walkable is one of our goals," said Seleta Reynolds, LADOT general manager. "Creating spaces like the Hope Street Parklet gives people the opportunity to meet, relax and spend time where they live and shop."

With a priority to keep the community closely involved in the parklet process, the South Park BID set out to engage the neighborhood in selecting the parklet location. After conducting a thorough neighborhood survey and convening several public meetings, the corner of Hope and 11th Street identified as the most favorable location.

"The BID plays a key role as a facilitator in public space improvement projects," said South Park BID Executive Director Jessica Lall. "A village of key partners participated in the design and implementation of the parklet, which displays the community's investment in making South Park more pedestrian-friendly."

Anchored at an intersection where residential meets entertainment, the location mirrors the unique identity of the community. In close proximity to L.A. Live, the Staples Center, the Los Angeles Convention Center, and the LA Metro Pico Station stop, the parklet will serve as a destination piece for tourists and visitors, while providing a community resource for the fast-growing residential population. Adjacent to the parklet is the recently-renovated historic Desmond Building, occupied as of late 2015 by several hundred AEG Live and AXS Ticketing division employees, making the corner of Hope and 11th Street truly a hub for all who live, work, and play in South Park.

The parklet is anticipated to enhance commerce for the 20+ surrounding merchants on and near Hope Street, which features recently opened and soon-to-open retail, such as Club Pilates, Drip Doctors IV & Vitamin Therapy, Downtown Dance & Movement, Impresso, Prank Bar, and Speedplay.

The materials and design reflect the eclectic character of the neighborhood, bringing together sleek, modern materials with a historic flair. Envisioned by two premier Downtown LA designers, SODA Architects and Mia Lehrer & Associates, the parklet features a variety of seating, sustainable wood for the benches, locally-fabricated metals, drought-resistant plants, and is topped off with green paint to reflect the South Park spirit. A work of art in itself, the parklet will add to the outdoor public art museum on Hope Street, which includes several murals, a utility box art series, and a new construction fence art project.

Crafted with South Park's diverse neighborhood in mind, from children to seniors, the parklet serves the needs of its highly-trafficked corner of the neighborhood. Safety mechanisms in the design include two large planters at the north end, two wheel stops around its edges, and reflective strips on the planters and along the exterior. Constructed by Swinerton Builders, the BID now maintains the parklet and the area surrounding it.

"We are happy to support a new public space that reflects the tremendous placemaking improvements coming to South Park," said Paul Keller, founding principal and CEO of Mack Urban, which is building a $750 millionmutli-use development in the neighborhood with partner AECOM Capital. "Before long, the entire district will be a model of open space, pedestrian-friendly design and the economic vitality that comes with creative projects such as this parklet."

With a residential population that is anticipated to triple by 2018, the focus will continue to turn to creative sustainability efforts: pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalks, and the preservation and creation of green spaces. The next steps in the South Park Walkability Project will include further engagement opportunities on Hope Street, public safety and aesthetic projects surrounding the Figueroa Corridor and the LA Metro Pico Station, and continued maintenance of street trees, side walks, and public art.