On February 7, two “parklets,” or micro urban parks, were officially opened in downtown Los Angeles in a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony on Spring Street; the Lewis Center’s Complete Streets Initiative played a central role in creating these new public spaces. “This parklet is the first in the nation focused on active recreation,” said Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Associate Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, who was a lead Lewis Center researcher on the project and who spoke at the ceremony.

The parklet features bike equipment and a foosball table along with seating and vegetation. The two parklets on Spring Street were designed by the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council with support from Councilmember Jose Huizar and the L.A. Department of Transportation. The Complete Streets Initiative worked with these partners throughout the project phases and supported construction with a grant from the Rosaline & Arthur Gilbert Foundation.

The local parklet movement is guided by the parklet toolkit (PDF) authored by Loukaitou-Sideris, UCLA Complete Streets Initiative Manager Madeline Brozen, and UCLA Luskin Center Deputy Director Colleen Callahan. “It is a very exciting day for Los Angeles and UCLA. We are seeing our research put into action by helping the city implement this innovative project,” Brozen noted. The UCLA team in collaboration with Parklet Studies will next evaluate the parklets’ use and pedestrian and business volumes in the area, to quantify the impact of the micro parks.

Also part of the UCLA Complete Streets Initiative is the Model Design Manual for Living Streets, a reference for cities and others working to enhance the many economic, social, and travel purposes of streets. The Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation has selected the Model Design Manual as one of only 13 recipients for the 2012 Exemplary Human Environment Initiative award.