The 600 block of Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles was aflutter with activity this morning as community members celebrated the opening of two parklets. The parklets — number two and three in Councilman Jose Huizar’s four parklet pilot project — open on the heels of a very successful parklet opening in Highland Park over the weekend.
Speaking to the crowd, the Councilman explained what exactly a parklet is. “Parklets are temporary extensions of the sidewalk,” he said. “They provide seating and recreational space that is 100 percent open to anyone who chooses to sit, relax, read, or socialize in them — even exercise in them. They are designed by the community and custom-fitted to a neighborhood by the people who live and work there,” he continued.
During the press conference, it was noted that while these parklets are not the first in the country or even in Los Angeles, they are the first to feature active recreation. The two parklets on Spring include exercise bikes, and the one in front of LA Cafe also has a foosball table. Both parks feature places to sit, including these cool chairs that look like swings.
In addition to Councilman Huizar, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council President Patricia Berman, LADOT Pedestrian Coordinator Valerie Watson, Historic Downtown BID Executive Director Blair Besten and others also spoke, thanking the many people involved with making the parklets a reality. StreetsblogTV has a video of the press conference here.
Joining the parklets on the Spring streetscape is additional bicycle parking in the form of inverted U racks and the signature LADOT meter hitch racks (that attach to former parking meters). At least one constituency is already happy about this development. LA Cafe employs bicycle delivery people, and before these streetscape improvements were installed, they often locked their bikes to parking meters or leaned them against the tree there. They have had bikes stolen from right in front of the cafe. Irwin, an LA Cafe employee, said that LA Cafe workers and patrons have been using the new bike parking “all day long.” “They’re very helpful,” he said, “More than two bicycles can be locked at the same time… We get a lot of customers who come on bicycles, and they also need to use [the bicycle parking]. It’s great!”
We certainly hope that residents take advantage of these new parks, and we look forward to many more in the future. Foosball, anyone?