Portlandi-LA: Placemaking Lessons from the City Repair Project

#LeapLA tries to keep you looped into all things that make Los Angeles streets and neighborhoods more livable. Last month, Active Transportation Division had the opportunity to partner with the Department of City Planning, the Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative, and the Los Angeles Eco Village to bring Portland’s Mark Lakeman to speak to City departments. Lakeman, the founder of City Repair Project, gave a compelling presentation on how communities in Portland create natural building, permaculture, and public art projects. Lakeman’s presentation provided Los Angeles with some food for thought, illustrating how City Repair Project has served as an effective means for achieving transportation implementation goals.

The mission of the City Repair Project is to “foster thriving, inclusive, and sustainable communities through the creative reclamation of public space.” The project has facilitated simple, yet holistic approaches to improving Portland’s neighborhoods. Lakeman’s strategy emphasizes that streets are the center of cultural convergence: a community meeting place where ideas are communicated and people are compelled to interact. In this, Lakeman argues, a street should reflect the full spectrum of human expressions and serve more as a cultural continuum than a conduit to move traffic.

People enjoying a completed City Repair Project

People enjoying a completed City Repair Project

Culturally and physically, Los Angeles neighborhoods seeking to reclaim culture back into the streets can continue to expand their toolkit and learn from the City Repair model. Many Los Angeles communities have been touched by locally-driven placemaking efforts. From the more recent Great Streets Challenge, to well-established organizations such as Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI), placemaking in Los Angeles has generated greater connectivity and revitalized neighborhoods. Community-driven strategies like these that utilize and engage active communities can facilitate critical improvements that enhance community cohesiveness.

City Repair Projects inspire creativity and community engagement

City Repair Projects inspire creativity and community engagement

Lakeman’s talk explained that City Repair Projects are a unique partnership between the non-profit, the community, and the City of Portland. The projects are driven from the bottom up, largely developed by volunteers and citizen activists, but the process is sustained and facilitated by the city. The city has made the process to opt into a City Repair Project fairly simple:

  1. after identifying gaps and corridors, community members can pool resources and collaborate to design a project that is context sensitive and cost effective
  2. community members then apply with the Portland Bureau of Transportation for an encroachment permit and a block party permit, that allow them to shut down two streets (4 blocks) during a City Repair Project intersection painting

By keeping the regulatory process flexible and simple, Portland enables communities to create artistic and ecologically-oriented transportation improvements. Projects such as benches, community kiosks, gardens, street paintings, tile mosaics, and intersection treatments, though granular, integrally stitch neighborhoods together and inspire creativity and diversity.

The semi-permanent nature of some projects foster opportunities for continual innovation

Some projects are semi-permanent, fostering opportunities for continual innovation

The City Repair Project is about the intersection of transportation, art, public spaces, and community engagement. Fostering collaboration among community members, these projects create permanent and semi-permanent street improvements that benefit neighborhoods and the city at-large.  Following the lead of People St and Great Streets, City Repair Project is another model that Los Angeles can adapt as a means to encourage creative and environmentally sustainable placemaking.

Explore LA! Adventures on two-wheels: NoHo to Griffith Park

Spring (or is this one long perpetual summer?) is back and adventure options for those on two wheels are endless! After travelling to a few other places, we wanted to get back on our local tourism tip!

This bicycle tour features destinations in between the Red Line North Hollywood Station (in NoHo) and the Griffith Park Sunday Drum Circle. Yes, a drum circle! This 8.5 mile-long bike ride travels along different bike facilities (bike paths, lanes, and routes) and features a variety of LA neighborhood attractions from shops & entertainment in NoHo to nature & culture in Griffith Park.

Come along for the ride! To prepare, you need: a bike, a bike lock, some kind of map or smart phone, water, snacks, and don’t forget your sun protection, because it can get HOT!

Pleasant 8.5 mile-long features NoHo Arts District, Burbank and Griffith Park

Pleasant 8.5 mile-long bike ride features the NoHo Arts District, Burbank and Griffith Park. Photo: Google Map

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Visit us at the LA Bicycle Commuter Festival!

Credit: Bruce Chan http://jiachi.tumblr.com/

Credit: Bruce Chan http://jiachi.tumblr.com/

The LADOT Bicycle Program is excited to take part in the Los Angeles Bicycle Commuter Festival & Summit! This day-long event is intended “to entertain, educate and connect the ‘bike curious’ of Los Angeles to the joys of riding bicycles for transportation.” The festival features workshops and information on the basics of biking for transportation, local bicycle advocacy efforts, group rides and all things Bike-L.A. related.

Workshops and panel discussions will provide a platform to exchange ideas and experiences with other bicycle commuters. Visitors are encouraged to learn about new and existing resources to help make their bicycle commute a more enjoyable experience. In addition, there will be a number of cool bike vendors attending, a silent auction of bicycle goodies and a party immediately following the main event.

LADOT Bicycle Program will be at the festival with our usual collection of reflective ankle straps, lights, maps and other information. In addition, LADOT People St will be in attendance to answer questions and explain how residents can help transform Los Angeles’ streets into active, accessible public spaces through the implementation of plazas, parklets, and bike corrals.

The festival takes place Sunday, February 16 from noon to 8 p.m. at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza at 1125 N McCadden Pl, Los Angeles, CA.  Please note that this is a ticketed event; registration is $10 for individuals and $15 for families. See below for full details. Hope to see you there!

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Alex Baum Bridge re-dedication ceremony this Thursday (You’re invited!)

Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge

Making way for the new plaque to be installed

On Thursday, from 11 to 12 p.m. LADOT and Council member Tom LaBonge will be re-dedicating the Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge in a ceremony from 11 to 12 at the bridge, located above Los Feliz Blvd. The dedication ceremony will showcase new bronze plaques (unveiled earlier this year at the Blessing of the Bicycles) honoring Alex Baum and his role in promoting bicycling in Los Angeles (just in time for his birthday.) Parking will be limited so we are encouraging attendees to bike, take transit or carpool to the ceremony. Join in the celebration to get a first-hand look at the plaques and a chance to hear guest speakers honor Alex’s accomplishments and L.A’s long bicycling history.

Please note, that the bicycle bridge will be closed to bicyclists from 10:30 to 11:30 for the purpose of the ceremony. A clearly signed detour will be available for bicyclists passing through the area at this time.

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Community Profile: Society of the Spectacle

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Two LADOT bike racks in front of bicycle friendly Society of the Spectacle. Photo credit: Walk Eagle Rock

(This post is part of our community profile series, which provides an insightful look into bicycle friendly and bicycle related businesses in the City of Los Angeles. We hope to show why these businesses choose to be bike friendly, and how they are helping to improve the qualify of life for all Angelenos. The LADOT Bike Program is committed to encouraging and supporting bicycling in the City of Los Angeles. If you know of a business that would like to be included in our series here on the LADOT Bike Blog, feel free to leave us a comment below, fill out our form, or email us at ladotbikeblog@gmail.com.)

Featured in today’s community profile are Amy and Katie O’Connell, owners of the eye wear store Society of the Spectacle, located on 4563 York Boulevard in the Highland Park neighborhood. Both are very enthusiastic about cycling and enjoy riding around the Highland Park and Eagle Rock area.

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Community Profile: Endo Customs

Editors Note: The LADOT Bike Blog would like to introduce our newest series, Community Profile. This series will provide an insightful look into bicycle friendly and bicycle related businesses in the City of Los Angeles. We hope to show why these businesses choose to be bike friendly, and how they are helping to improve the qualify of life for all Angelenos. The LADOT Bike Program is committed to encouraging and supporting bicycling in the City of Los Angeles. If you know of a business that would like to be included in our latest series here on the LADOT Bike Blog, feel free to leave us a comment below, or fill out our form, or email us at ladotbikeblog@gmail.com. 

Bobby Endo of Endo Customs
Endo Customs owner Bobby Endo standing next to our bicycle rack marking

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