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Park(ing) (Pre)view

By Samantha Page
Published: Friday, September 12, 2008, at 01:08PM
_IGP2058.JPG Ed Fuentes

Children play in Joel Bloom Square, transformed into green space for a day as part of 2007's Park(ing) Day LA event.

Next Friday, Downtown will get a little extra dose of green as Park(ing) Day LA returns to the city's streets. Downtown is host to eleven pocket parks, ranging from single spaces to a half-block street closure in the Historic Core. The annual event will convert dozens of parking spaces across Los Angeles to temporary green spaces.

Last year's event garnered mixed reactions, with commenters ranging from calling the day "a unique and bold statement" to saying it was "pretty lame." Organizers hope that as people understand the message of the event, more will appreciate the way it brings space into discussion.

Will Wright from the American Institute of Architects said the goal of the program is to "create a dialogue with the community about what a street means to them." In response to some of last year's complaints that the event wasn't sustainable, Wright said, "It's unfortunate to me that it could be perceived that way." He spoke about how the event is "celebrating" the space we have in Los Angeles, and how people now talk about urban content, rather than density -- placing more value in the city's amenities and livability.

For Downtown, Wright sees an "obvious" need for more parks, and says that some of the streets that are already here could offer an opportunity for repurposing or reprogramming. He's quick to add that the change could even be temporary, as for a farmers' market.

"When people start having the opportunity to walk, that's when the scales tip," he says.

As of noon on Friday, September 12, Downtown parks are planned at:
- 7th and Lebanon from 9:30am to 2:30pm, hosted by SWA Group, a landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm
- 7th and Flower from 8am to 1pm, hosted by Marketing Connections - 6th and Grand from 10am to mid-afternoon, hosted by Torti Gallas and Partners, an architectural firm - Olive between 6th and 7th from 8am to 2pm, hosted by Melendrez, a landscape architecture firm - 5th between Hope and Flower from 10am to 3pm, hosted by EDAW, a design and planning firm that specializes in sustainable projects - 350 S. Grand Ave. (between 3rd and 4th) from 8am to 4pm, hosted by CB Richard Ellis, a real estate service company, and Valley Crest, a landscape and design company - Winston from Main to Wirdon Place from 10am to 3pm, hosted by Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) and several community sponsors - Spring between 3rd and 4th from 10am to 3pm, hosted by the Community Redevelopment Agency - 2nd between Central and San Pedro between 10am and 2pm, hosted by Ladies Who Lunch - 349 E 2nd St between 9am and 5pm, hosted by The Arch Rival clothing store - Los Angeles (across from Union Station) between 9am and 11am, hosted by ShameTrain LA, a guerrilla art print project

If the idea inspires you to host your own one-day park site, there's still time to register new locations on the Parking Day LA website. The site also features a very handy FAQ section about parking laws and public spaces, as well as information on how to donate or volunteer.

Park Sites Map from Parking Day LA website:

CommunityWalk Map - PARK[ing] Day LA 2008

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Park(ing) Day LA

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