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.