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Fighting for Second Street

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, July 03, 2006, at 11:29AM

Last week I was biking up 2nd from Little Tokyo and noticed that removal signs had been placed on the trees along the Caltrans building. I had intended to write something up about it, but James Rojas did so much better than I would have. With permission, I'm posting it here.

The City of LA is in the processes of removing the landscaped parkway and first row of street trees on 2nd Street between Los Angeles and Main Street (on the southside of the CALTRANS building) to widen the road. There are notices posted on the trees for their removal but no public hearing. This is part of the New Parker Center and a taxi inspection zone.

As a resident of Spring Street, I walk through 2nd Street at least once a week between Little Tokyo and my loft located in the Historic Core. First and Third Streets are wide, noisy and uncomfortable for walking. 2nd Street is the only east-west pedestrian friendly street connecting Little Tokyo and the Downtown's Historic Core. The widening of 2nd Street will destroy the street's pedestrian friendly nature.

Much more after the jump... The widening of this section of street will accomplish nothing for the residents of Downtown (or for drivers... it's one block!) and will leave us with another stretch of hot sidewalk against a concrete wall.

The rest of James' letter:

This is ironic because that block and it's street trees was the subject of a huge controversy when the Caltrans building contractor cut down the previously-existing mature ficus trees without notice or permission. Tom Gilmore and Dan Rosenfeld were involved in getting the present tree installation.

The nexus between walking and land use is in the fine-grained urban design details of the built environment. Most of LA's downtown streets lack wide sidewalks, shade and landscaping that this section of 2nd Street has to offer. No matter how inconsequential the 8 street trees and landscape parkway seems, they are part of wider attempt to make LA pedestrian friendly and livable. Open space begins with our streets and sidewalks. We need to preserve this section of 2nd street to use as model for pedestrian friendly street design!

James Rojas
Downtown LA Resident


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