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York's Street Porch is Sidewalk, Not Park

The distinction matters when it comes to enforcement.

Is it a sidewalk, or public park? Patch reader Frank Robert asked that question recently in the ongoing debate over the value of York Boulevard's newly installed street porch/parklet.

It's a pertinent question, as the distinction determines whether the Los Angeles Police Department can enforce park hours, preventing homeless individuals from sleeping on the structure.

"Does anyone know if the parklet is legally considered a park—you know, the way the York and Figueroa memorial is considered a park?" Robert asked. "If it's legally considered a park, then the police can selectively enforce 'park hours' to prevent homeless folks from sleeping or even congregating in the space. Sorry if the answer has already been reported. I'll check other stories for the answer." 

Kevin Ocubillo, Planning Deputy for Councilman José Huizar's office said the parklet would be considered a sidewalk, and no selective hours would be enforced. 

"The parklet is treated exactly like the sidewalk. It is 100-percent public space open 24/7 to anyone who would like to use it. Just as there are all types of folks who use the sidewalks, with brilliant variety of zeroes in their bank account, living situation, political belief and state of mind, so too will the parklet serve as a public amenity for those who want to sit," Ocubillo said.

This distinction has come into play recently in Highland Park. It was previously overseen by the Bureau of Street Services. The change was partly motivated by the city's effort to prevent homeless individuals from sleeping at the park.

Toby February 06, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Lots of interesting stuff going on York with the parket. Also, looks like a couple of shops will be or have opened up as well. Ball Clay Studio next to the Highland Park Motel and Shop Class in the former Anatomy building. Anybody know what these businesses are? HPK looks like it is undergoing construction inside. Got to love the changes going on in this part of the neighborhood.
David Fonseca (Editor) February 06, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Shop Class is a furniture store that will also have craft classes. I'm working on a short feature on them. Not sure what Ball Clay Studio is, yet, but I've heard some chatter.
Mark February 07, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Well, I'm glad this isn't another contrived "park" whose sole purpose is to roust the homeless -- who have no better place to go even if rousted from where they are. That was dirty and callous, and a corruption of city park designation, what the city did at the memorial location. Have those homeless rousted from that location showed up on the sidewalk in front of your house -- after all, if you roust them from out-of-the-way places in commercial zones, you leave them few other options?
Creper Chimone February 08, 2013 at 01:35 AM
So they spent money to build a sidewalk on a sidewalk. This project seems to be a real waste of money.
la-agog February 09, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Not a total waste, but an easy "one-time" splurge to illustrate to the neighborhood, "Hey, us dudes in suits are paying attention." It doesn't have to be an either or proposition though. The rest of us just have to flood 311 with sidewalk maintenance requests.

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