DIY Design Kits Transform LA Streets Into Urban Arts Spaces

DIY Design Kits Transform LA Streets Into Urban Arts Spaces
Arts & Culture

LADOT launches accelerator for plazas, parklets, and bicycle corrals.

Victoria Young
  • 31 january 2014

Los Angeles has over 7,500 miles of city streets that can now be transformed into active, vibrant, and accessible public space by the community through an innovative urban design system from People St, a program of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) featuring beautifully designed pieces, from lounge chairs to Tai Chi spinners. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of life of Angelenos by providing a toolkit of cost-efficient design elements that can be quickly installed to help the city come alive with minimalist wood and steel planter boxes full of succulents, sleek picnic tables, and even GameTime exercise equipment to reinforce Los Angeles’ reputation by modernizing its streets for tourists and residents alike. In this live urban design accelerator, community members are empowered to apply for People St kits to take charge of improving the city as LADOT aims to demystify City processes, rules, and requirements. Through thoughtful modern design, People St helps create a new urban landscape that shapes the narrative for the future of Los Angeles by fostering a new era of more safe, active, and beautiful communities.

Each kit contains packaged, required configurations for Plazas, Parklets, and Bike Corrals to choose from. Specifications provided in these documents simplify and automate the process, efficiently eliminating the need to reinvent the wheel for each project and streamlining the workflow with thoughtfully pre-approved design kits. By making it easier to implement these designs, LADOT effectively accelerates the access to active, accessible places in the city for people to enjoy that supports walking, bicycling and economic vitality. Expanding public spaces can mitigate traffic; increase safety for people who walk, bike, and take public transit; and encourage more walking and bicycling. Urban design can make measurable impacts on key indicators, such as safety or economic vitality, including the fostering of a stronger sense of community and support for local businesses as pedestrians spent more time strolling around neighborhoods. Implementing these project kits is a simple first step towards proving the concept and will lead to attracting future capital-intensive investments in physical street infrastructure.

The first Bicycle Corral from People Street was installed in February 2011 on York Boulevard in Highland Park, repurposing an on-street parking space with five bicycle racks—enough space for 10 bicycles to lock up. Sunset Triangle Plaza, a street transformed into a plaza through the People Street kit, debuted a year later on Griffith Park Boulevard in Silver Lake. The plaza is now filled with café tables and chairs, planters, a Bicycle Corral, and a basketball hoop, the design of which has helped to cultivate a rich neighborhood community full of summer movie nights and weekly farmers’ market.

People St is a concept successfully proven through several experimental sites and developed through years of cooperation and collaboration between community groups, elected officials, City staff, and other nongovernmental organizations focused on increasing the capacity for innovative urban design within neighborhoods to improve quality of life in Los Angeles.

Source: People St



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