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Updated: Huizar to Pitch Highland 'Parklets' at City Council Friday

The innovative street design, which as been under consideration in Highland Park for months, will get pitched at City Hall on Friday.

A small group of local artists, architects and engineers have spent the last eight months designing, pitching and redesigning Los Angeles' first "parklets," mini plazas that would convert parking spaces into public seating areas.

During Friday's meeting of the Los Angeles City Council, local councilmember José Huizar will put his political muscle behind the effort.

According to City News Service, Huizar and fellow councilmember Jan Perry will introduce a motion calling upon "relevant city departments to assist with demonstration projects under development in Highland Park and El Sereno."

Highland Park's proposed parklets were chosen as a short term project by community members through Huizar's "New York" Vision Plan, an effort to catalyze the mini business boom that has occurred along York Boulevard.

The Parklets, which were first voted on by community members in January, would transform a public parking spot into fenced-off mini-park, which would include tables, seating and public art.

Currently, no parklets exists in Los Angeles, but have been implemented in San Francisco and New York.

Parklets proponents say they would encourage foot traffic along York Boulevard, which would benefit business. However, opponents say the parklets would quickly be taken over by the area's homeless.

Update:

Cathi Milligan, owner of the Glass Studio on York Boulevard and a participant in the "new York" vision planning process, addressed some of the concerns about the parklets in the comments section below.

Here are her comments:

"As a participant of this project I have to correct a couple of the things mentioned. This will also address the concerns with John's comments. First, we made it understood that we would find locations that did not take a parking space since we all agreed parking is very much needed on the boulevard. Second, the seating design that has been proposed would not allow a homeless person to lie down on it. It just wouldn't be comfortable and a person could not fit on the surface. These are important points because these issues have been addressed in a slow and thoughtful manner. I too have a business on York, in the same block as the bike corral and the proposed "parklet" and I welcome the innovation and change that is coming to the boulevard."

The Los Angeles City Council meets at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, in the John Ferraro Council Chamber in room 340 of City Hall, on 200 N. Spring Street.

Nimby pimp September 17, 2011 at 04:19 PM
These improvements, no matter how small, will help to awaken a new aesthetic standard and sense of possibility for this area. Many of our local naco naysayers have grown so accustomed to the area's visual blight, that they think it's normal. I support the residents pushing for the changes to HLP!
Janet Alvarado Dodson September 18, 2011 at 03:08 AM
“This is one of the few shopping districts that has no parking other than street parking.” No, there are several underused parking lots behind York Blvd. Furthermore, as Cathi Milligan is at pains to point out, this little proposed bench respite will not eat one single parking space. The purpose of establishing a pedestrian oasis is precisely to support local businesses. Bicycles and pedestrians demonstrably increase business income. “We have so many parks” Where exactly are all these parks in Highland Park beyond Debs, and Sycamore? This proposed bench is not even a park, but will be part of a effort to create more attractive access to an underused alley leading to an underused parking lot, encouraging more pedestrians, more business. I understand the reluctance to change, guys, but shall we be content remaining a sleepy neglected corner of Los Angeles, or shall we demand attention from the City? Councilmemebr Huizar seems to understand. Let’s move. Janet Dodson
La Casa de Bernarda Alba September 18, 2011 at 03:46 AM
I'm for positive change to improve HP and York Corridor. Can we get Councilman Huizar's office to street clean the boulevard and sidewalks? Hopefully, businesses and patrons will make an effort to keep the York Corridor clean.
Nimby pimp September 18, 2011 at 04:51 AM
@ezio. what is it about these "hipsters" that you dislike? and as for art, are you some kind of art critic? if so, we'd be interesting in hearing more of your opinion about "hipster" art.
John Carlucci September 18, 2011 at 05:06 PM
I live & work in the area. I attended many of the meetings. I'm not against change, I just feel the parklets are a bad idea and there could be better use of these community funds. The reason why the parking lots are underused is because they are off the beaten path and after dark, my clients do not feel safe walking to them. Meridian street has no street lighting. It's pitch black & the lighting in & around the parking lot is not good enough. One must walk past a seedy alleyway to get to the boulevard.Plus the meters are only good for 2 hours. If someone is going our for dinner, shopping or getting their hair done, 2 hours is not enough time. The lot behind the hardware store is only accessible by walking down a graffitti covered alley. There are often street people loitering in that alley drinking in public. Better lighting in and around the parking lots & cleaning up the gang graffitti in the alley is a better use of public funds. IMO

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