Christopher Hawthorne’s article “Atlantic on the Move“, published in the Los Angeles Times, covers the transitions taking place along LA’s boulevards and one in particular: the 5600 block of Atlantic Avenue. Hawthorne reveals the changes taking place that are “reversing decades of neglect” among LA’s roadways. Among those that have promoted a cultural association with Los Angeles: traffic, congestion and miles of roadways. The article covers the small steps that take place over time via minor interventions that combine to change the face of the boulevards to more pedestrian and bike-friendly spaces for alternative modes of transportation.
Read on for more after the break.
Hawthorne describes these interventions as “the immediate future of LA”. These corridors, which were designed to create transportation from one end of a suburb to another, have started to take on a different association. According to Hawthorne, they are slowly becoming the sorts of places that appeal to pedestrians. Street lights and crosswalks are the first step to creating a benevolent environment for people. Next come the shops, attracted by the accessibility of the streets. Eventually, this builds up to a community of followers that frequent the shops and inspire other businesses to open, sparking amenities that allow people an alternative use of the street: benches, bike racks, shade provided by trees and medians. Now the boulevard no longer reads as a constant “go”; it invites pedestrians and drivers to slow down, look and stop.
Los Angeles has a reputation for being fixated on the car and for providing the ultimate definition of suburban sprawl. But, Christopher Hawthorne’s observations in the metamorphosis of L.A.’s boulevards is beginning to challenge that notion by revealing opportunities for improving walkability in auto-centric cities. Hawthorne’s article also touches on the politics and economics of LA County that have made these changes possible and briefly reveals how the city was designed and developed through the visions of its leaders and architects.