As part of its ongoing series on the "Laws That Shaped Los Angeles," KCET's Rosenberg describes how Jefferson's 1785 Land Ordinance bill, "leads in a straight line to the creation of most of the street grids of modern Los Angeles."
"The grid in L.A. is part of a national survey instituted by Jefferson and amplified over time," says Rhett Beavers, a landscape architect, designer and planner and UCLA Extension instructor. "Jefferson was looking for a way to transfer federal lands into the hands of the people."
One of the most interesting areas of L.A.'s street grid is the point where it pivots -- a clash of founding cultures made manifest along Hoover Street just west of downtown -- where the Jeffersonian city grid abuts a pre-existing Spanish colonial grid." On the eastern side, streets align to about a 36 degree angle; streets to the west hit perpendicularly, at 45 degrees.
Yet, can we 'blame' Jefferson for L.A.'s sprawl and lack of public space? "No way, says [Rhett] Beavers (a UCLA Extension instructor). 'Blame Jefferson for setting up high ideals,' he says. "Blame us for not living up to them."