Urbanize LA: Downtown Freeway Cap Park Reemerges


The proposal to build park space above the U.S. 101 freeway's Downtown Slot has been quiet for some time, but don't count the project as dead quite yet.

Representatives of Park 101 have begun circulating updated information on the project, which would cap four blocks between Grand Avenue and Los Angeles Street.

Read the rest at Urbanize LA

6 cities that have transformed their highways into Urban Parks


Building a highway in a city is often thought of as a solution to traffic congestion. However, the induced demand theory has shown that when drivers have more routes, they choose to continue using this medium instead of using public transport or a bicycle, and as a result, congestion doesn’t decrease.

As a result, some cities have chosen to remove spaces designated for cars and turn what was once a highway into urban parks and less congested streets.

Here we have six examples, some have already been completed, while a few are still under construction. To the surprise of some, most of the projects are in the US, which reflects that American designers are looking into further studying European transport policies. Continue reading.

Interview with Los Angeles planner Cecilia Estolano

Excerpted from The Planning Report (Full interview hereEstolano__Cecilia_WEB.png

"One example (Park 101) of a place where I think we need to apply this kind of thinking is the area right around Union Station. ELP Advisors is working on a feasibility plan for the Park 101 project, which would cap three blocks of the 101 Freeway as it goes through Downtown Los Angeles.

That investment would create an amazing amenity: parkland right in the middle of the city. It would also knit together the Historic Core, the Civic Center, and the largest transportation hub in the region.

As we look at that, we also have to look at other investments going on in the area, including the Union Station Master Plan; the eventual advent of high-speed rail; the Regional Connector; and private investment going on in Chinatown. Altogether, we can see that this is a district that needs to be comprehensively planned.

It might be a great place to implement an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District. We’re investing a lot in the public realm that will create value for private property owners. We should be able to capture that value and use the proceeds to fund benefits like affordable housing."

-Cecilia Estolano, ELP Advisors.

Los Angeles Times - Freeway cap parks can be L.A.'s High Line

Excerpted from the Los Angeles Times (Full Op-Ed here)


"In downtown Los Angeles, a cap park is planned across the 101 Freeway between Hope and Alameda streets — essentially reconnecting Chinatown and Olvera Street to Bunker Hill and the Civic Center. Another proposal for the 101 would cover the span from Santa Monica Boulevard to Hollywood Boulevard. The latter is closer to realization: Its environmental review process (started in 2008) is nearly complete, and the nonprofit Friends of the Hollywood Central Park has attracted some big donors and grants. The price tag may ultimately determine whether it is built. Feasibility studies peg the cost at $949 million, but other estimates suggest it could cost well over $1 billion."

Park 101