The story behind a near-postcard-perfect streetscape. . .


This tiny one-block stretch of verdant goodness in the heart of Downtown LA is a rare find in this city. At one time in the not-too-distant past, this street was set to be widened, the row of trees within the parkway (or, “boulevard,” if you are from Minnesota) to be removed. I am still a bit incredulous that it wasn’t widened, given the cards stacked against it. Street trees are not under the jurisdiction of LA City Planning, nor are streets and sidewalks in general. In the City’s General Plan, City Planning simply set all Los Angeles streets to desired widths, and DOT and Public Works have since then enforced these designations by requiring road widenings to match the required street widths. Any attempt at narrowing a street or not widening a road now causes quite the kerfuffle, as DOT and Public Works are simply not keen on giving up their power of enforcement.

The good news is that LA City Planning, in conjunction with the CRA, and a host of urban design and transportation consultants, have been working to revise Downtown’s street standards so that future road widenings don’t occur, and, in some instances, so that over-widened roads can be narrowed, as is the case along Grand Avenue at Olympic, where a future park might be placed.

Godspeed, narrow street.

Parks First LA

Under Proposition K the City of Los Angeles will be generating $25 million annually to go towards the acquisition of land for new parks, maintenance of existing parks, and towards other park-related items (yes, so vague, I know; click on link to see the point-by-point low-down).

One of those new parks might be located in East Hollywood off of Lexington Avenue, near Sunset, and tomorrow would be an opportunity to show your support, if you are so inclined and can swing it. The Prop K Steering Committee will be meeting tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. in the CAO Conference Room on the 15th Floor of City Hall. It is agenda item number five.


For more info, contact Glen Dake at .

Plant of the week


Yet another plant from the wide, wide botanical world of South Africa. Hardy to Zone 9a (although, people say the bulbs have withstood frost), winter-blooming (in California), growing to 3 1’2′ to 4′ high, and a complete hummingbird magnet, Watsonia will send out its electric-colored flowers for weeks on end. Since they are bulbs and thus have a somewhat ephemeral quality, plant these tucked in with other plants that have a bolder, more lasting presence in the garden, such as Deer Grass , or Alkali Dropseed. Deadhead spent flowers and cut back any ratty-looking foliage as spring turns to summer, particularly as winter rains subside and plants go dormant. Will need some supplemental water during dry winter years for best results.