Two Spring Street parklets set to open in February
This rendering of the parklet coming to Highland Park is based on the same concept of the two parklets coming to DTLA.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — On the other end of the spectrum from the 12-acre Grand Park come the Spring Street parklets; mini, urban parks that convert metered parking spaces into a type of public plaza in DTLA. The L.A. City Council approved these new parklets last August and these new spots of green will debut with a grand opening on February 7.
Valerie Watson was a Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) board member and champion of these parklets during their formative stages. Watson told Blogdowntown in August that she she expects people will use the parklets like an extension of the sidewalk; to check their phone, have a conversation or read a book.
"In my mind they're less providing open space for people… this is more about extending the sidewalk to benefit life on the street," Watson said.
The Spring Street parklets will be located between 6th and 7th Streets, and initial designs included plantar boxes, seating arrangements, and some sort of interactive element -- such as a foosball table -- to bring people together.
In 2011, the DLANC Complete Streets Working Group along with city and community groups as well as Parklet Studies, polled passersby on their reactions to the space. Most of the people they spoke with were between the ages of 20 and 40, and the majority said they would use the parklet to eat, people watch or just relax. And, 85 percent of people said they'd kiss a loved one in the mini park.
These Downtown parklets are just two of the four opening in Councilman José Huizar's eastside district. One will also be opening in Highland Park on February 2, and another in El Sereno on February 16.
"Community members have spoken and they want more pedestrian-friendly public spaces that support local businesses and neighborhoods,” Huizar said in a statement last year. “It's a marked shift back to community planning of decades past, where now, like then, we are emphasizing local, sustainable communities where residents can shop, relax and spend time in their own neighborhoods.”
UPDATED: An earlier version of this story said it was the UCLA Complete Streets Initiative that worked with the DLANC to set up the temporary parklet in 2011. It was in fact Parklet Studies who coordinated this effort.