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How would you revitalize downtown Los Angeles?

15231 Views 53 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  klamedia
We all have our ideas and opinion's on how we want downtown to be. But never have we heard detailed ideas. So in terms of skyscrapers, park space, retail, transportation, or otherwise, how would you mold the hood?

If I were in charge, downtown would be totally different.


- One of the first things I would do is white wash every single building in downtown Los Angeles. Alot of building espically in the Historic Core and the OBD are beautiful but dirty. We'll need a whole lot of turtle wax.

- Revamp Broadway to the ninth degree. Replace a majority (not all) of the current retail with numerous home grown restraunts, cafe's, clubs, clothing stores, and such. Throw in a Starbucks in there too for the **** of it. It would be stupid not to.

- Each of the theatres along Broadway would be updated (seats, sounds, lighting, and so fourth) but retains it's exterior design.

- Underground parking would be mandatory throughout downtown.

- Each and every new devlopment in downtown would be LEED certified.

- Destroy the county buildings lining Grand Park. Erect a visually stricking 70 story office/county building on the site of Cal Plaza 3.

- On the corner of 4th and Hill, a 50 story tower would rise and it's sole purpose would be to help the homeless. It would provide housing, medical care, psychiatric evaluations, job training, and life skills for all homeless free of charge.

- All throughout the Civic Center, if there is a small building surrounded by parking lots, destory the building and erect Washington DC sized office buildings. But if there is a large building surrounded by a even larger parking lot, build around it. If you've ever been to DC, you know that their building's are short, but huge. For example:

- The Arts District would be turned into the largest neighborhood in all of downtown Los Angeles. It's boundries would be the 101 to the north, the LA River to the east, San Pedro to the west, and 6th Street to the south. I would convert existing empty wharehouses into lofts, condos, apartments, offices and affordable housing. I would also build on top of existing wharehouses more units. A 7 story limit would be in place for all new development in the Arts District. Ultimately, I want lots of Barker Block style buildings in the Arts District but with extremely cutting edge designs. Picture this all throughtout the Arts District:
Now imagine that the street there is San Pedro and the downtown skyline is in the backround and you have the Arts District.

- I would put a cap on the MetroRail yards and turn it into a park.

- Developers couldn't build anything less than 20 stories in Bunker Hill and South Park.

- South Park would be turned into the family friendly area of downtown LA. Ultimately I would use the Pearl District in Portland as a model because that's the perfect example of how I would want South Park to look like:

^ Doesn't that pic look like the corner of 11th and Grand?

- My LA Live would be gigantic. Towers everywhere. It's boundries would be the 110 to the west, Pico to the south, 8th Street to the north, and Hope Street to the east. One of the things I would do is implement a ordanience that all new construction would have lively ground floor retail, have a Met Lofts like design, and have interactive lighting displays. My LA Live would include:

A 65 and 40 story towers on the corner of 9th and Fig.
A 50 story tower across from the Ritz.
A broad 30 story hotel on the NW corner of Georgia and Olympic.
At least 5 towers ranging from 30 to 70 stories between 9th and 8th Streets.
A 30 story tower on the corner of 11th and Fig.
And all other structures converted to offices, residential, and retail.

- City West would build no higher than 8 stories (1100 Wilshire would remain the tallest building in City West). But in terms of office space, a 30 story limit would be implied. Like the Arts District, City West would have long, broad towers but in a much lively design. City West is easily a diamond in the rough. I mean look at these pictures:

- Parks would be everywhere. Pershing Square would turn into a extremely lush, organic, quiet area. The Grand Park would be filled with trees (euclyptst..can't fucking spell, jacaranda, palms, roses, oak, pine), and eating spaces. It would totally be cut off from traffic. Hill, Broadway, and Spring Streets would be cut off.

- 3am last call for bars/clubs.


- My downtown connector would be 3 lines. Line 1 would start at Union Station and turn right onto 1st Street. It would then travel west until it would split on Broadway. Line 1 would travel down Broadway until it reaches 8th Street where it would turn right. From 8th Street, it would turn left onto Flower, then right onto Figueroa. From Fig it would make a right onto 6th Street. From 6th it would turn left onto Broadway and back to Union Station.

- Line 2 would travel west on 1st Street alongside the Grand Park, then it would turn left onto Grand. It would travel down Grand until it reaches 6th Street where it would follow Line 1.

- Line 3 would start on Flower and 8th (Macy's Plaza). It would travel south down Flower to Pico where it would turn right. From Pico it would turn right onto Fig. From Fig it would travel north to Wilshire. From Wilshire it would turn left. From Wilshire, it would travel into City West where it would turn right onto Lucas. From Lucas, a quick right onto 6th Street where it would follow the route of Line 1. Could someone make a map of that to see if looks plausable? Please?


- Pocket parks everywhere.

- On the blank side of 611 Place, a mural would be painted. It would change every 3 months.

- The 3rd Street tunnel would be completely lined with LED's.

- The moat at the DWP Building would change color.

- City Hall, the US Bank Tower, 777, and Fig @ Wilshire would change color according to the seasons and city events. Or just randomly.

- Replace every street light with Xeon light bulbs.

- Widen every sidewalk and add small trees and bushes.

- A gimassive New Years Celebration would happen at LA Live. It would have a mostly dance/rave/techno theme. At 12 am, the US Bank would light fireworks and bathe itself in color.


- Security cameras everywhere.

- Police everywhere. Under cover and uniformed.

- Selling drugs gets you 10 years. Grafitti is 5 years. Murder is life.
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a man can dream cant he?

i would like broadway to take on a similar vibe that times square has. i think if we wanted to try and get the closet thing to ts, i think broadway would be the best place for it. just put ads and billboards all over buildings.
Wow, Soup woke up! Very good, passionate stuff! :)
rebuild it on the westside
Broadway belongs in downtown Los Angeles and no where else in the city.
^^ absolutely!

How would I revitalize L.A.? that's a very complicated question.

I'll start with Downtown:

MOre than likely I'm in the minority thought when I say that for the downtown connector, there should be trollies going all through downtown. Instead of building a subway from Union Station to 7th St. Metro station, I'd rather have people experience the city than have them rushed from point A to Point B underground. I'm sure the cost of a subway connector will more than easily cover an above ground trolly system.

For all cars running in and out of the city, I'd like to impose something like what Mexico City has. You can NOT drive a particular car for 1 day of the week. or even 2 (unless there's an emergency). Somehow "force" people to take public transportation.

For ALL new development in downtown, it should definitely include low to extremely low income housing. None of this having to pay a fee to not have it included. Forced "integration". - Hey, I'm running the city...ok? -

I'm also not too sure about the subway to the sea. I mean, it is extremely important and should be the primary focus of the MTA, however, I do NOT think it warrants 2 lines going to Santa Monica. Move the culver city line further south, to include LAX and the south bay cities and beaches. Or where ever the population warrants it.

there's soooo much more..i'll think of something else later in MY versions of what LA should look like.
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rebuild it on the westside
LOL, what year are you living in? 1984? :lol:
Well, downtown is doing a pretty good job of revitalizing as we speak, but since we are fantasizing and money is no issue when you are dreaming, let me throw out a couple of my ideas.

I have to start by defining what I consider downtown, To me downtown is everthing between the 110 on the west, the LA river on the east, Elysian Park on the north, and Exposition PArk on the south. I recognize that this is a bigger than some would consider downtown, but the extra space gives us a chance to play with the whole area.

The first thing to do is to get people into downtown, that mean public transport i.e. the Wilshire line all the way to Santa Monica then run it south through Ocean Park, Venice, Marina del Rey, Westchester, LAX, El Segundo, Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beach. 2. Extend the red line to Valencia. 3. Finish the Exposition Line not only to Culver city but a branch to Venice as well. 4. Build the Crenshaw line to the Del Amo and then to downtown Torrance. have it connect to the Wilshire line. 5. Extend the north branch of the Gold Line to San Bernardino and the South branch to Riverside. 6. Run the red line east from Union station roughly along the path of the Santa Ana freeway, East Los Angeles/Commerce/Downey/La Mirada/Buena Park/ Anaheim/Orange/Santa Ana/Costa Mesa/Newport Beach/John Wayne/Irvine.

Just as important is moving people within downtown. I would take the propsed tram concept and extend it from Exposition Park right through the USC, past the Shrine auditorium, Chester Place, LA trade Tech college, Patriotic Hall, the convention center, LA live, east on Olympic to Broadway then North to first street, west to Hill and the Music center the North to Chinatown with an extention to Dodger Stadium and ending at Elysian Park.

Oh, and finally fix Angel's flight and get it working.

Which brings us to the issue of downtown parks. By all means build the proposed "great park" replacing the Civic center mall. This includes tearing down the ugly court buildings, municipal, criminal, and district as well as the Hahn hall of administration, and the hall of records. If possible extend the park all the way across the 101 to Olivera street, over the freeway similar to the proposal for the freeway park over the Hollywood freeway.

But don't stop there. Develop a chain of parks extending from Elysian Park to Exposition Park.

Elysian Park is an underutilized treasure of the city, mainly because it is a little awkward to get to and also because a lot of it is rather hilly. Still it has the oldest arboretum in the county and at more than 600 acres is the second biggest municipal park in the city after Griffith Park. I would make an easy transition from the proposed Dodgertown development around Dodger stadium into Elysian Park. Develop some high density housing around the perimeter of the park. Develop hiking and horseback trails, gardens, picnic grounds. etc.

Open the Police Academy for Public tours with a Criminology museum explaining modern crime fighting techniques for the CSI fans out there and also giving some history of some of the more notorious criminal history of our city, the Manson murders, Black dahlia, Buggsy siegal asassination, Symbionese Liberation army, Hollywood scandals, etc. (I have a nephew who trained at the Police academy in the OC and was able to tour the facility. Its really rather interesting.)

Recognize the city has a major shortage of housing. We have a choice to build high or to pave the mountains and the deserts. I favor building tall. Continue to build mixed use developments in South Park but also around Chinatown and surrounding Elysian Park, along the LA river, south of the 10 freeway and in the industrial areas adjacent to the arts district. We need 150,000 units of housing in the next 10-15 years. That's a lot of apartments. I'd rather see them downtown than wiping out the single family homes in the Valley.

I like the proposal for the development of Dodgertown. I would integrate this with Elysian Park, build a Dodger Museum and sports themed restaurants and stores and make the ravine a year round destination.

The trails in Elysian Park should connect to the park being developed at the Cornfield, ie. the Los Angeles State Historic Park. I would like to see development of gardens especially a Chinese style garden in this park given its proximity to Chinatown.

I'd like to see another park developed over the air rights of the utility yard located east of the river west of the I-5 north of Mission and south of Alhambra ave. Right now this is a collecting area for trailers. I suspect it needs to function but it is ugly as hell and occupies a prime piece of property right along the river. We could copy Chicago's Millenium Park idea and build a new park over the air rights of this utility yard. A side benefit would be the San Antonio Winery is located just across the street and could be incorporated into the park design.

I would locate another park over the air rights of the rail yards between 1st and fourth just west of the river and east of Santa Fe Blvd.

Lastly I would grass over the parking lots that take up way too much of the space in Exposition Park and put the needed parking underground. I would also finish the buildout of the California Science center. I would expand the LA Natural History Museum. It has the third or fourth biggest collection in the country but the facility is way to small to show it all off. I would build a separate history museum and locate it close to Olvera Street, maybe in the old Post Office building.

That's enough for now. More ideas later.
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I would demolish numerous eyesores scattered around downtown. First to go would be that horrid World Trade Center. That has to be the most inept and inaccessible building in downtown history. Next I would get rid of the low-rise buildings at the Bunker Hill Towers. LA has a long history of building cheap, tacky and low-rise. The Promenade at First and Figueroa was a huge mistake. It doesn't even register on the skyline. The Park across the street at Second and Figueroa is also obsolete. I know the city planners wanted a mix of low, mid and high-rise but these buildings just stink. Going further south the former Laemmle Grand Hotel at Figueroa and Third looks like a glorified parking garage. It should have been up ended to emphasize the vertical.

The Bonaventure needs to knock out some of that stone base and begin relating to the street scape. The AON Center needs to be re-skinned a reflective gold or green. Dark brown is exceptionally dull. The Metropolis should be built along with the third towers of California Plaza and Citicorp Plaza. The three parcels bordered by Sixth, Ninth, Figueroa and Flower should be filled in with sever 500 to 800 foot towers. The twin towers have nothing prominent built on any of its four sides. Put a construction moratorium on the West Bank and concentrate on downtown proper. Stop building those mediocre mid-rises that glut the office market and delays the construction of much taller buildings. That brown thing at Ninth and Figueroa falls into this category. Also the former Chase Plaza at Eighth and Grand. The green glass, former Manulife Tower at Fifth and Figueroa should have been twice as tall.

Pershing Square is a mess and needs a world-class redesign or revert to something similar to the original park design. Downtown needs far more night clubs and restaurants. Museums unique to Los Angeles should also be built. More festivals, parades and events should be planned. A couple more parks would help a lot. I'm exhausted now so I'll check in later.
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^^ You're exhausted after THAT? MRM must mean "Must Rest Momentarily!"
Very good ideas, I'll have to bring up some of them whenever I get the chance to meet and chat with the councilman and controller

I'm already raving to everyone I get to know at city hall that I'd like to see us stick it to NY
We shouldn't worry about highrises. Mid-rises and walkable areas are the heart of any city. The highrise areas of NY are the WORST areas for livability.

You don't just put in clubs and restaurants. They are privately financed and driven by demand. Demand will come from livability, not highrises. Again, look at the parts of NY that are generally viewed as most active: Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chelsea, many others. They are characterized by mid and low-rises, not highrises ala Wall St. or Rockefeller Plaza.

Most of the other comments I agree with. A lot of tacky stuff was put up and a lot of bad decisions made. But the fix is not to put up a highrise on every vacant lot (to say nothing that the demand and money are not there).
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^^ You're exhausted after THAT? MRM must mean "Must Rest Momentarily!"
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So i finally moved Downtown last week, and im enjoying it here. Took a look inside the Trinity as i walked by earlier, and they are definitely doing some work in there and its not just cleaning. Hopefully well hear something soon.

Its also great to see the new restaurants on 7th street. The dream of restaurant row is getting closer every day.

here is a wish list of what i think would make Downtown a little better. ill keep it general.

1) I think that all the streets should be two way.
2) We need uniform lighting, signage, landscaping and furniture all over and removal of a lot of these tacky signs. After spending a few weeks in major eurpoean cities, it was fun and enjoyable to walk around. with our weather, Downtown LA should be just like that and then some.
3) Downtown can be great for bikes and pedestrians, but we need to encourage it and promote it. Each main street should have a lane dedicated to bikes, pedicabs scooters and the like. It should be painted green and ideally would be separated from the flow of traffic.
4) The sidewalks need some serious repairs and cleanings.
5) More outside seating and drinking areas.
6) and of course, i wish pershing square would be redone asap. Just go back to what it was 40 years ago.
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So i finally moved Downtown last week
Congratulations! :)
Thanks! its great out here. obviously some more development and changes would be nice, but its also rewarding to see the small improvement, like restaurant row on 7th grow, or the spring and 6th corridor!
-More parks (cap the 101!)
-More public plazas
-Smart landscaping (more trees, fountains, landmarks)
-Build smart, widen sidewalks, add public benches
-More police presence, officers walking the beat
-More rail transit

I think implementing these ideas would get more people to move downtown, which in turn brings more developement, more restaraunts, shops, museums etc...

Once downtown is bustling every day of the week, maybe we can turn some of those alleys into promenades. Imagine those alleys full of restaurants, people, stores etc...

One day Aaron, one day...
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