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VIDEO: Huizar, Greuel Unveil Parklet on York Boulevard

The project converted a no parking zone into a street porch where Highland Park residents and visitors can sit, gather and socialize.

Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar unveiled Highland Park's first parklet at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday on York Boulevard between Avenue 50 and Avenue 51.

Click on the attached video to see highlights from the ceremony.

The parklet, which is also the first for the city, converted a no parking zone into a street porch/mini park where residents can sit, gather and socialize.

City Controller Wendy Greuel, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council President Monica Alcaraz and other neighborhood and city leaders who were involved in getting the project off the ground also spoke at the event.

[Click here to read how the parklet plan became a reality.]

Similar projects are set to be unveiled in the coming year on Huntington Drive in El Sereno and in Downtown Los Angeles.

Ish February 04, 2013 at 01:28 AM
Nimby pimp has issues.
Ish February 04, 2013 at 01:35 AM
I agree. On a side note. I've never seen a bigger group of 30-40 year old hipsters. I'm surprised they haven't hurt themselves from trying so hard.
Bob Bailey February 04, 2013 at 01:57 AM
1.Who's going to chase out the homeless. 2. Who is going to be responsible for the first accident. Some shyster will be there before ambulance gets there. 3. It look ghetto almost as bad as driving by the bars and see people standing out front smoking that really looks ghetto.
Nimby pimp February 04, 2013 at 04:51 AM
I am intolerant of opinionated morons, yes Ish.
Michael Higby February 04, 2013 at 05:26 AM
She's been auditing departments and putting out bogus numbers. Even your abuelita knows that, Don Q!
HLP Frenchy February 04, 2013 at 05:33 AM
Come on guys, it is a positive move for the neighborhood. I was there right after the inaugural, and it is an inviting space. Regarding the homeless, I actually rarely see them in that stretch of York, let's wait and see!
frank robert February 04, 2013 at 06:16 AM
Can you elaborate on why you feel it's a positive move for the neighborhood? I am really curious. I can't help but see a group of sidewalk stools/benches sitting besides hours of exhaust fumes from traffic. Is this good? I don't know. I guess. I do enjoy sitting. But is it worth the money that was spend on the project? I'm guessing that it's not. And is it worth having these local politicians come down and show how much they "care"? I can't think of many things that are worth that experience.
Michael Higby February 04, 2013 at 07:21 AM
Frank Robert hits the nail on the head.
David Fonseca (Editor) February 04, 2013 at 08:10 AM
I think the exhaust argument may be a bit overstated. Does one choke on exhaust during a 20 minute walk down the sidewalk, or during a morning jog? Can't see how sitting on the sidewalk would be much different. This is York Boulevard, not the 5-freeway, right? Whether or not it is worth the money is a another matter. As previously reported, the point of the project was to spark interest in the York vision plan and build momentum for a larger scale project.
HLP Frenchy February 04, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Yes, I do feel it is contributing to the beautification of york Boulevard. It brings interest to the area from everybody. People driving by will be stopping just to check it out and eventually shop in the stores nearby. Win - win situation! Some people here just love to complain about everything!
frank robert February 04, 2013 at 07:31 PM
David, I haven’t followed the discourse enough to know how much the exhaust argument has been used. But I take your point on the I5 comment. My comment was a reflection of preference; If I already think the space had kind of a gross atmosphere, then benches aren’t really going to change that opinion, right? Thing is, as I see it, whether or not the project is worth the money is completely *not* another matter. Aesthetics (smog) and funding are tied. The exhaust/traffic argument arises, at least in part, because it’s so easy to see this space as a weird choice for the project. What I mean is, in what context would it be totally cool and normal to build a parklet on a busy, noisy street like York? I know cities like Pasadena have sidewalk benches, but that’s not a parklet, which is built at least in (large) part to spark interest in shops. Fine. The parklet is built because of the shops. Dangerous (and completely realistic) precedent: Funding, time, and attention go where money changes hands. It’s a reflection of poor (and undemocratic) priorities. It’s both typical in modern /Western times and scary to see play out on a local level.
frank robert February 04, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Does anyone know if the parklet is legally considered a park—you know, the way the York and Figueroa memorial is considered a park? 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.
David Fonseca (Editor) February 04, 2013 at 09:38 PM
That is a very good question, Frank. I've forwarded it to Councilman Huizar's staff and will update you with an answer as soon as I get it.
David Fonseca (Editor) February 04, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Frank, you make good points. I disagree with some of them, but I appreciate your contributions. 1) If I already think the space had kind of a gross atmosphere, then benches aren’t really going to change that opinion, right? --True. However, as I suggested before, I don't necessarily see that area as gross at all, and I imagine more would share that perception if they spent some time sitting in it. York Boulevard, at noon on a weekend, has never struck me as a high exhaust area. My personal feelings about this particular parklet aside, I think a plan that revolves around introducing an element that will encourage people to gather near commerce in an emerging area is not an entirely unsound one. 2) "I know cities like Pasadena have sidewalk benches, but that’s not a parklet, which is built at least in (large) part to spark interest in shops. Fine. The parklet is built because of the shops." --Indeed. Is that such a bad thing? 3) Dangerous (and completely realistic) precedent: Funding, time, and attention go where money changes hands. It’s a reflection of poor (and undemocratic) priorities. It’s both typical in modern /Western times and scary to see play out on a local level. --See, here, I totally disagree with the idea of this being an "undemocratic" process. Previous stories show this was extensively vetted at at least four community meetings. Of course, as you know, the democratic process does not always result in everybody getting exactly what they want.
David Fonseca (Editor) February 04, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Several folks have noted that the project is a waste of money, and I think that maybe those who make that argument are missing some context. Had a group of community activists gone to City Hall and demanded that Huizar allocate $10,000 from the general fund to build this thing, without holding a single public meeting, *that* would constitute a total waste of money/time. But, that's not how it happened, in fact, that's the exact opposite of what actually happened. Huizar came to Highland Park--for reasons either political or altruistic--wanting to catalyze York Boulevard's gentrification. As early as December 2010, community meetings were held. Attendees were told that about $10K was available for an "easy" one time project that would boost interest in the longer-term effort to continue bolstering York's "revitalization." Are fixing streets, installing new lights, new crosswalk lights, improving storefront signs all higher priorities than a street porch? 100-percent YES. Can you do that with 10K? Not even close. It won't even get you out the front door. The idea was to building something cool, show that projects can be completed though community organizing, and *maybe* this will raise HLP's profile--which has obvious benefits when it comes to the bitter battle for street services. Finally--b/c this has been mentioned elsewhere--I reject out of hand the notion that projects should not be pursued on the premise that people who don't have homes will ruin them.
Creper Chimone February 04, 2013 at 10:34 PM
this was not vetted David that is untrue, there is a whole community here that you ignore, the business owner where this project was put in front of had no say in the matter at all, and was ignored and not told about these community meetings. It is a shame that the majority of this community is ignored, even here on Patch in the past month there has been one story relavant to the majority hispanic community in highland park and that had to do ironically enough with bias against hispanics, the only other had to do with Antigua which I tipped you off about. There are church events weekly, dances and the like that are never covered by you or the patch but as soon as something to do with parklets or a new or a new yoga place you write about that. that is shameful
frank robert February 04, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Thank's for the leg-work, David. And thanks for clarifying some other things. I also want to clarify one of my comments that you responded to. When I called the the priorities of the powers that be "undemocratic" (as well as implying that the process has been undemocratic). It was a little irresponsible of me to just toss out that term without any context. I didn't mean to slam those folks who have outreached and coordinated community meetings on the parklet, but I now see that it's easy to read my comment that way. My gripe is broader. I don't call into question the hard work of people organizing meetings. But I do question the overall effectiveness of such community meetings. I don't know if I was out of town during meetings, but I know that my family didn't know about them either. I hope people went and participated. My comment involves a bigger conversation about the ethics of maintaining a status quo that excludes people. We can call all of the meetings we want, but if a only fraction of the population attends, how democratic (that word again) is it? I guess the moral of the story is: i shouldn't assume that I know the intentions of those who labor and organize such meetings.
Creper Chimone February 04, 2013 at 10:45 PM
that is a great point frank, because I know that the majority hispanic community does not know about these meetings or are not told about them
HPGringo February 05, 2013 at 12:29 AM
cool mosaic but I'd rather sit outside of cafe de leche than the auto parts store. but still maybe a fun spot to blaze.
MOM S February 05, 2013 at 12:58 AM
It looks foolish and what a terrible way to spend money! It's really an "accident" waiting to happen. I have said it recently about the Mt. Washington ES PTA, it's so easy to spend other peoples money, when it's not their on on the most stupid things!
David Fonseca (Editor) February 05, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Creper, I work really hard to make sure 100-percent of Highland Park is represented by covering schools and businesses all over the neighborhood. I'm not sure what else I can say to you. I respond to every news tip I receive and return every call--sometimes that means I write stories about a new Yoga studio that's owned and operated by an Eastern European woman. Sometimes it means I wrote a story about a burger restaurant run by a Latino family. Or a student at Aldama who receives a letter from Barack Obama. I write about Church events, as well. Does last week's Homeless count story pass muster? I'd like to hear more about what you think I can do better. E-mail me, if you'd like.
ChickenBoyFan February 05, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Jeepers Creper: The mountain does not come to Mohammed. And it shouldn't have to. The local papers all covered the meeting schedules. AND The York Vison Plan meetings were announced again, and again at the Neighborhood Council. NC Agendas are posted in several locations, as well as on line. Nothing that happens here, goes unnoticed or un-announced. If you don't try to look for the local news, don't complain. There is plenty of info out there, but it requires effort on the part of the stakeholder to seek it. Quit drinking that Whine.
Nimby pimp February 05, 2013 at 04:53 PM
I have to agree with Pollito. Anyone who wants to take an interest in local politics can and will. Creper seems to be fashioning himself as a heroic defender of the downtrodden natives against the rapacious white hipster invaders. Simple-minded, predictable and a little pathetic.
Creper Chimone February 05, 2013 at 04:59 PM
I do attend the meetings I can when not working, sometimes these meetings are not at convenient times. also the meetings are not posted in the spanish language newspapers. i disagree with you when you say nothing happens here that goes unannounced.
frank robert February 05, 2013 at 06:30 PM
You would know about the York Vision Plan meetings if you went to the Neighborhood Council. You would know about the Neighborhood Council if you went to the York Vision Plan meetings. ChickenFanBoy, "If you don't try to look for the local news, don't complain." ... This perspective is so cynical and void of social nuance. It's not like people refuse to be politically empowered because they think it's yucky. You're essentially saying that the it's totally cool that the political status quo alienates people (and that's only one aspect). And I guess it's cool that those people just happen to be poor people of color? That's not meant to be a rhetorical question. It seems that it's at least some of the heart of the discourse around Highland Park. Nimby pimp, "Creper seems to be fashioning himself as a heroic defender of the downtrodden natives against the rapacious white hipster invaders. Simple-minded, predictable and a little pathetic." ... Can you elaborate on why Creper's supposed position is "Simple-minded" and "pathetic"? My initial response is that your comment is insensitive and verging on racist. But, I think you drastically simplified what you call the "heroic" perspective. And maybe the racist elements that I'm reading are a result of your simplification and maybe that's not what you meant or how you meant to say it.
Michael Higby February 05, 2013 at 06:45 PM
That's the problem, many community "leaders" think outreach is pasting a flyer at Vons or putting something up on Facebook. They don't understand the way people get information and how ineffective these passive methods of communication can be - as well as in a multi-cultural community where different cultures receive information differently. The City provides an albeit meager but still somewhat decent budget for outreach to Neighborhood Councils. The NCs could spend this money more wisely on means to get the word out - however they scrimp on the outreach and spend the bulk of their money on "projects" and donations to community causes while, well meaning, are not really appropriate nor effective outreach efforts.
frank robert February 05, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Michael, While I agree that the means of outreach insufficient, I find it harder and harder to blame organizers. It's true that they shouldn't be so naive to think they are adequately reaching the community. But to a certain extent, these are the cards they're dealt, so know? It's the political infrastructure first and foremost that is ineffective. Idk, man. I have mixed feelings.
Michael Higby February 05, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Frank, indeed it is a symptom of the structure. And part of that is many of the organizers get too cozy with the structure as they get addicted to back-slaps and attaboys from politicians. They need to prioritize if they truly want to outreach and work to get better cards. A $30, 40K PR budget is not a bad thing. But they waste it. And to make it worse, many of these organizers have their own agendas which do not jive with what's best for the community. Thus, they often spend their time bullying anyone with an opposing view. Too many neighborhood activists have been told by there "strong(men/women)" to STFU when they raise a valid point.
frank robert February 05, 2013 at 08:27 PM
"many of these organizers have their own agendas which do not jive with what's best for the community." While I don't know any of the folks who worked on the parklet project, nor do I know their motivations outside of what's been reported by David, I take your point. It's a very important point.
carol van beek February 06, 2013 at 04:08 AM
I think it could more appropriately be called a street porch. If it was a park it would come under the jurisdiction of Rec and Parks.

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