Urban Fold

A Walkable Downtown Los Angeles?

As part of a new set of guiding principles that call on city planners to 'demand a walkable city', Los Angeles may adopt new standards requiring developers to widen sidewalks, not streets.

"When the city's Planning Commission released a fiery memorandum in April, under the banner "Do Real Planning," one concern rose to the top. "Demand a walkable city," read its first sentence.

That's easier said than done. Many officials praise so-called smart growth, yet few planning regulations mandate it.

But on Thursday, June 14, in a presentation before the Planning Commission, city planners will unveil how they intend to actualize that demand, starting with Downtown. It marks the first official report for a project charged with implementing widespread design changes to Downtown streets.

If approved and adopted, the new effort, known as the Downtown Urban Design Guidelines and Standards, could mean that developers who are currently asked to widen streets for cars could instead be required to create wide, tree-lined pedestrian walkways and paseos for foot traffic.

Proponents say that would dramatically alter the city's one-size-fits-all street standards and spur developers to help create a walkable city.

Though still in a preliminary stage, city officials say this week's progress report is a culmination of numerous Downtown street studies, years of work and the input of multiple departments on principles that have never been officially implemented."

Full Story: Paving the Way

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