INSIDE THE HALLS - AWAITING GRAND AVE. PARK
Those of us who work at City Hall and other Civic Center buildings were very excited by yesterday morning’s re-opening of City Hall Park. It’s a calm, shaded respite from the hubbub of downtown L.A.’s busy streets and shops – and also a respite from the commotion that is life inside City Hall.
That said, when I’m sprawled out on the lawn this Thursday, digging into a tasty treat from the farmer’s market, part of me will be looking ahead to the opening of Grand Park later this summer.
That’s no knock on City Hall park – I’m just that excited about Grand Park.
What’s the big deal about Grand Park?
The immediate answer is that every new bit of green open space in Los Angeles is gladly welcome. But there are a few more reasons, in my humble opinion, that Grand Park is going to be a huge boon for Los Angeles and Angelenos.
• While Los Angeles is long on urban wilderness – think Griffith Park and the Santa Monica Mountains – we’re not as well stocked when it comes to urban green space that is easily accessible to those in the heart of the city. However, in the last decade, the City has made a great deal of progress on adding hundreds of acres of accessible open space. Grand Park represents one more milestone in that effort.
• Speaking of access: As someone who takes Metro to work at City Hall, I’m keenly aware of the fact that the Metro Red and Purple Lines stop right smack in the middle of Grand Park at the Civic Center Station. Why is that important? Well, for one, soon I’ll be able to walk through a park from the subway to work – that’s always nice – but more importantly, even more Angelenos are now within reach of green space via affordable public transit.
• Grand Park will provide a key linkage between the Civic Center and the arts and cultural buildings at the north end of Bunker Hill, including the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Disney Hall and the Colburn Academy.
• Downtown L.A. has undergone a dramatic transformation, as tens of thousands of new residents have moved into the city’s core and new businesses have sprung up. The added green space of Grand Park will be a great amenity to those residents and will help make downtown an even more attractive place to live and work. And that’s a great thing, I think, because there are still opportunities to fill a vacant storefront here or flip a parking lot into a mixed use building there.
• Lastly, in a city where much creative energy has been focused on building great private places, I’m excited to have yet one more great public place where Angelenos can congregate, face to face, and revel in the diversity of ourselves and in the diversity of opinions about what Los Angeles means to us. The success of events like CicLAvia suggests to me that there’s a hunger for more opportunities to do that; and in that respect, Grand Park will prove quite appetizing.
— Carter Rubin
Policy Analyst, Performance Management Unit