Narrowing Streets to Create Parkspace in L.A.

Planners in Los Angeles are considering a plan to remove two lanes of a strip of downtown street to create parkspace for the formerly light-industrial area's growing populations.
January 13, 2010, 6am PST | Nate Berg
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"The idea is to narrow the street between 9th Street and Olympic by two lanes -- and use the extra land for open space.

Reclaiming street space as recreational space is fairly rare in L.A., and it reflects the changes afoot in downtown. The area, once a mostly business and light-industrial district, is now home to thousands of new residents who inhabit the high-rise buildings around Staples Center and L.A. Live.

Other ingenious placements for parks have been proposed in recent years, including "caps" on top of the Hollywood and Santa Monica freeways for open space. But Lillian Burkenheim, the redevelopment agency's project manager for downtown, said it was the first time she could recall when city leaders considered turning blacktop back to green."

Planners at the city's Community Redevelopment Agency are hoping the conversion of traffic lanes to parks will be replicable in other growing parts of the city, which is notoriously park-poor.

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Published on Wednesday, January 6, 2010 in Los Angeles Times
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