Rios Clementi Hale Studios – Streets for the People
Traveling Exhibition Selected Entry
Sunset Triangle Plaza opened in March under the auspices of Streets for People (S4P), an initiative of the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The project took an underutilized public right of way located at Griffith Park and Sunset Boulevard, and transformed it into a safe, pleasant, and vibrant public space for pedestrians, cyclists alike.
A key concept of the S4P program is to quickly and inexpensively reclaim under-used street space and involve local residents and businesses in the design and maintenance. Using simple materials – in this case paint and planters – allowed the program to recapture streets for people in months rather than decades, and for thousands—rather than millions—of dollars. The Sunset Triangle Plaza acted as a pilot project to create a process, template, and system of cooperation between city departments and the community. The hope is that now that these elements are in place, the program can be quickly expanded to provide small open space areas throughout the city, particularly in park-poor neighborhoods.
Sunset Triangle Plaza is outlined by rows of planters working as bollards to demarcate the 11,000-square-foot site. In addition to planters containing drought-tolerant and low-maintenance plants, moveable bistro tables with umbrellas and chairs and a whimsically painted street surface create a community atmosphere and a respite in the middle of a busy neighborhood. An existing pocket park complements the new plaza and in the time since the plaza has opened, has been cleaned up and maintained by the local neighborhood council.
Literally a “green space,” the Sunset Triangle Plaza surface is painted in two tones of green in an enlarged polka-dot pattern. The playful dots are open to interpretation, but our concept was inspired by the pre-digital printing process. In that process, dot patterns are created called halftones, and Sunset Triangle Plaza represents a site in transition—a halfway point—from street to plaza. The dots also play off of D.O.T., the abbreviation for Department of Transportation, which was integral to the success of the Streets for People program.
The twice-weekly farmer’s market continues to operate uninterrupted, additional parking spaces were created along Sunset Boulevard to accommodate for some of those lost in the planning, and all street furniture is brought inside each evening to maintain its quality and cleanliness. The pilot project will be in place for approximately one year.