There is an ever-increasing volume of information for those interested in improving our streets. We are using Pearltrees to arrange the most useful, relevant resources applicable to Southern California in a fun to explore format. If you are aware of a top-notch source, we would appreciate hearing about it. Email us at livingstreetsla[at]gmail.com.
Existing and Proposed City of Los Angeles Tools
While much can be accomplished with existing tools, much more robust tools that can be used to build living streets are in various stages of development.
Robin Abad Thesis on Parklets and Plazas
Robin Abad Ocubillo’s thesis titled “Experimenting with the Margin: Parklets and Plazas as Catalysts in Community and Government” is a great resource for those interested in relatively fast, inexpensive conversions of street space into places for people.
From the abstract: “Two related typologies of small-scale, experimental urban design have emerged in recent years as a synthesis of community action and progressive governmental experimentation: the Parklet and the Pedestrian Plaza… Together, these two typologies – and the city programs created to facilitate their implementation – begin to define a process of ‘Heuristic Urbanism:’ a collaborative practice that engages urban design through provisional programs and projects that are continually self-evaluating… This thesis outlines the theoretical and practical contexts from which ‘Heuristic Urbanism emerges; suggests the evolutionary heritage of Parklets and Plazas; and examines the range of assumptions, expectations, and outcomes engendered by the new typologies and their relatives. The thesis then leverages interviews with over 65 individual stakeholders from government, advocacy groups, design and business communities in four California cities which are in various stages of advancing Parklet and Pedestrian Plaza programs.”
Model Design Manual for Living Streets
This highly customizable manual contains a wealth of cutting edge ideas from national transportation experts, and is well worth taking the time to download for anybody who is serious about improving our streets. The manual is conveniently divided into the following chapters (granted some of the titles use industry jargon, but rest assured that the content is very accessible and easy to understand):
2. Vision, Goals, Policies and Benchmarks
3. Street Networks and Classifications
4. Traveled Way Design
5. Intersection Design
6. Universal Pedestrian Access
7. Pedestrian Crossings
8. Bikeway Design
9. Transit Accommodations
10. Traffic Calming
11. Streetscape Ecosystem
12. Re-placing Streets: Putting the Place Back in Streets
13. Designing Land Use Along Living Streets
14. Retrofitting Suburbia
15. Community Engagement for Street Design
Appendix: Visions of Transforming Streets
Some of the LSLA team members participated in the two day charrette which kicked off production of this valuable resource.
Tactical Urbanism 2 by Street Plans Collaborative
With pages dedicated to topics such as Build a Better Block, Guerilla Gardening, Pop-Up Retail, Pavement to Plazas, Pop-Up Cafes, Chair Bombing, Site Pre-vitalization, and Micro-Mixing, this amazing 54 page publication by Street Plans Collaborative provides a glimpse into the future of urban planning, where actions speak louder than words.
Many of the ideas expressed herein are what inspired us to do what we are doing, and if a bunch of these were to be implemented in a concentrated area, it could potentially result in a much quicker, more direct transformation than what could be accomplished through traditional master planning or large scale redevelopment.
Green Lane Project from Bikes Belong
This video hints at the increasing sophistication of national bicycle advocates in figuring out ways to leverage lessons learned to scale up the production of bicycle infrastructure. While we are disappointed that LA wasn’t selected to be one of the 6 initial focus cities, we feel that our fair city can still benefit from this effort to build “world-class cycling networks on city streets” in the United States.
Green lanes are next-generation bikeways being built on streets across the country, from San Francisco to New York City, from Minneapolis to Miami and from Long Beach to Pittsburgh. Green Lanes are dedicated, inviting spaces for people on bikes in the roadway. They are protected from motor vehicles by curbs, planters, posts, or parked cars… A Green Lane is a name for a growing family of modern bikeways — inspired by decades of experience in European cities and adapted to meet the unique needs of American streets. (from the Green Lane Project website)
More information can be found in this AlterNet article and at the Bikes Belong website, which will become a hub of information based on the lessons learned from the project. The website already includes articles, videos and other resources for cities that want to become more bicycle friendly.