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Boos & Yeahs at Sunset Triangle Plaza Opening

CD 13's Eric Garcetti reminded the audience that the pedestrian plaza is only temporary and will be periodically evaluated for its community impact Sunday.

In a city of pop-up restaurants and stores, the Sunset Triangle Plaza may set the new standard.

With the help of federal and city agencies, the project has reclaimed a stretch of Griffith Park Boulevard in Silver Lake for pedestrians and cyclists.

The stretch between Maltman Avenue and Edgecliffe Drive is now closed to traffic.

It will be dressed with green paint and polka dots, bike racks and planters for the next year.

The so-called "Polka Dot Plaza" had its formal opening Sunday.

LA City Council president Eric Garcetti; Bill Roschen, chair of the LA City Planning Commission; Jaime de la Vega, LADOT General Manager; and Dr. Paul Simon of the LA County Department of Public Health.

Also attending were Silver Lake Improvement Association President Genelle Le Vin, Silver Lake Neighborhood Council members and representatives from Streets for People.

It was a morning full of celebration and focus on the plaza's unique status as the first greening of a public roadway in LA.

“By reclaiming small, unused and underutilized spaces and transforming them into welcoming public places that benefit business owners, residents, pedestrians and bikers, this project shows that ‘place’ is very important to the health of a community,” said Dr. Simon, of the Public Health Department.

Speakers also emphasized the collaboration involved and the role community groups like the Silver Lake Improvement Association and local merchants were playing.

But not everyone on the plaza Sunday was pleased. Silver Lake resident Cliff Lecuyer repeatedly booed from the sidelines in what became kind of call-and-response with those at the podium.

Crowd members broke in after a while answering Lecuyer's boos with their own "Yeahs."

Councilmember Garcetti responded indirectly to heckling at one point, asking everyone to settle down.

He also ended his remarks with a reminder that the project is temporary and its impact on the neighborhood will be periodically revisited.

That didn't seem to soothe Lecuyer, who told Echo Park Patch afterwards, "There's no more free parking in this neighborhood because of the delight. It's aesthetically hideous."

Lucuyer also expressed concern that Silver Lake Farmer's Market vendors were not consulted. The Sunset Junction Alliance still manages the twice-weekly market there,

Others have commented on the additional traffic the closing of Griffith Park Boulevard has sent up Maltman Avenue.

But for the most part, community reaction has been positive.

Read some of that here:

From Militant Angeleno

From The EastsiderLA

From Teapots and Polka Dots

Patrick Lee March 05, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Have you visited the new Sunset Triangle Plaza? What did you think? Also, if you have photos, please upload them here!
Tom Mertz March 05, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Yes and it's hideous. Sadly, there was no mention in your story of how everyone involved in creating the Neon Nightmare took off from their own 'grand opening' as soon as they finished congratulating each other and got their City commendations. The event was supposed to go from 11-2PM; by noon, everybody was gone. That to me was the most telling act of the day - the people that forced this thing on us could not even be bothered to stick around and properly introduce it to the neighborhood. Cynical me thinks it's nothing more than an attempt to squeeze out the farmers market; it's no secret that the "Improvement" Association hates them. I do not like my neighborhood being used to fight others' personal conflicts. Kudos to LeCuyer for speaking out! He definitely had a lot of support from the real community at the ceremony; the only people in favor in attendance seemed to be those who worked on it.
Mark Vallianatos March 05, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I visited later in the day and there were lots of people enjoying the site. The tables were full so my friend and I had to sit on the curb, in the shade of a palm tree. I would never have sat there if cars were driving in the street. Free parking ruins cities and apparently the thought of walking and enjoying public space in the city turns some people into pompous grouches.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) March 05, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Some are saying having a more well-developed business community around the site might also make it a place where people want to hang. Any thoughts?
Tom Mertz March 05, 2012 at 11:34 PM
14 free spots used only during the farmers market by patrons of the market, which could have remained in the easternmost separate triangle of the plaza even after its unfortunate makeover, would ruin the city? They served approximately 400 patrons every week over the 2 days of the market. They could have been returned to plaza space when the market is not going on. This sliver of space now is useless except to hold bike racks which could go anywhere in the space. Such lack of creativity! I guess that's why these people are city planners and not artists...
Anthony Trujillo March 06, 2012 at 03:20 PM
So, Anthea, you are suggesting it be a shopping mall. Great, just what we need. NOT. Frankly, all it is is an effort to thwart traffic, as if it will just disappear. No, the cars will not disappear, they will have to find a route around and might jam up on some other street. This was a smooth transition to Griffith Park Boulevard from those Westbound of Sunset. Now, it requires multiple stops and turns to get onto Griffith Park. All that is going to do is make more pollution and fumes from the stopping and going. There is a small but vocal and aggressive group that has coalesced in Silver Lake that wants to do anything and everything possible to thwart traffic. Gee, traffic is already jammed, we need to make it flow, but try to jam it up more. This group might be well intentioned, but it is wrong and it is living inn Fantasyland. People are not all going to drop their cars and start riding bikes! That is ridiculous. And meanwhile, all we have done is give free land to the business there -- like you say, Anthea, to give them a free shopping mall at taxpayer expense. No one is going out and using that area. Not since it was closed. I walk by daily,and have never seen more than two people there ever since it was closed. Yesterday, Monday, there were three, two of them sleeping on the grass -- I don't know if they were homeless or not. But even they were not using the now-closed street, were eon the grass.
Josh Post March 06, 2012 at 04:00 PM
When New York experimented with similar pedestrian plazas, businesses surrounding the plaza areas thrived. The people of L.A. are hungry for public space to mingle and mix. Take The Meadow at Silver Lake Reservoir for example. It is fantastic to see families and friends relaxing on blankets, throwing Frisbees and socializing in small groups. We are at a tipping point in L.A. The car culture is waning, and for good reason. We are tired of spending our lives in cars. And we are taking to the streets on bikes and as pedestrians. I think pedestrian plazas are a good thing, not only for our environment (getting us out of our cars), but also for our well-being. Cities like Mexico City, for example, have fantastic public spaces where people mingle. There are dance nights in parks and plazas where residents old and young experience free, outdoor ballroom dancing. This is the sort of thing that brings us together as neighbors, which can only lead to a drop in crime and a rise in community morale.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 08:02 AM
Word is that Streets 4 People, which oversaw the changes at Sunset Triangle Plaza, will also be doing some programming there this summer. I don't know if they will be looking for community artists to present, but I am trying to find out.
Scott Zwartz July 01, 2012 at 05:23 PM
You are really clueless about Los Angeles. We are not New York nor are we Mexico City. The transportation plans you support have been proven to deteriorate neighbrohoods and make life much worse of people in CD #13. That's why CD 313 lost more population than any of part of Los Angeles -- the very policies you want to impose upon us. Hollywoodians have had enough of the mouthpieces of the 1% raping their town and are moving away in droves. Yet, we propose more money go into the pockets of the corrupt crooks while pretending to be people oriented. Your proposals amount to this: Turn residents into Urban Serfs while transferring billions of tax dollars to the 1%

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