A Place in the Sun

Sunset Triangle Pedestrian Plaza
Silver Lake scored last week, gaining not only LA’s second bike corral but reclaiming a snippet of public street for the public’s use with the city’s first pedestrian plaza.

“Sunset Triangle” is based on the scrap of land left where Griffith Park Boulevard angles into Sunset a block or so east of Sunset Junction. Now the short bit of Griffith Park between Edgecliffe and Sunset has been closed to cars and opened to unarmored human beings (though it’s briefly interrupted by an access strip to a bakery’s parking lot).

Although the project’s announcement touts its resemblance to the also-triangular Times Square treatment in Manhattan, they are nothing at all alike: Sunset Triangle is a neighborhood space, long used as a mini-park, where a farmers market sets up twice a week–and it is not in the heart of town, nor is it heavily frequented by tourists. While it would be wonderful to see a pedestrian plaza at Hollywood and Highland, in the Miracle Mile, somewhere on Ventura, or Downtown (where My Figueroa might actually make it happen), in a way this is better: Sunset Triangle is primarily for Angelenos.

Silver Lake is already a bike-enriched neighborhood, and enjoys lots of sidewalk strolling, dozens of bistros, cafés, coffeehouses, restaurants, pubs, bars, and breweries, and a dizzying selection of boutiques ranging from the ordinary to the esoteric. It’s the perfect location for a true public square where people can mingle and linger freely, sipping a cup of coffee, enjoying a sandwich, or just chatting up their neighbors, without having had to wrestle a two-ton prosthetic down the crowded lanes and into a rare parking space. You just walk in or ride your bike–as so many do already–sit down, and enjoy life.

What a concept, eh?

It’s at the intersection of two bike lanes: the one on Griffith Park feeds in from North Silver Lake, starting just short of Hyperion and Rowena, and the Sunset Bouelvard lanes connect the plaza to Downtown, Echo Park, East Hollywood, and the main part of Silver Lake.

This makes you think about NELA, doesn’t it? Suppose the city re-dedicated a strip of land from the senior citizen center along that cutoff from Fig to York and laid in some coffeehouses and decent restaurants…or did something with the intersection of Pasadena/Marmion and Fig just east of the Pigeon, where there appears to be a lot of dead space?

It took the residents of Silver Lake six years to get this plaza built, so we’d better start now!

I’m sure there are possibilities all over LA.

Sunset Triangle Pedestrian Plaza
Sunset Triangle Pedestrian Plaza
Sunset Triangle Pedestrian Plaza

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3 Comments

  1. Posted March 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Good article about a cool new space… but I got distracted by references to “Silverlake” – “Silver Lake” is two words.

  2. Posted March 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Right you are, Joe, so I corrected it!

    Though I do like the sleek look of “Silverlake” as one word…ah, well.

    Spelled either way, it’s a happy, lively neighborhood with a valuable new public space we can all enjoy. Let’s hope the city bumps it out of “pilot project” status and makes it permanent…with maybe a bit of depaving, eh?

    It’s already boosted sales at one coffeehouse, since I’d never stopped into MorningsNights before…great spot. I’ll be back–thanks to the new plaza.

  3. grrlyrida
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m happy to report that people have been using the new public space round the clock. Whether it’s for a night time bike ride meet up or sitting in front of Morning and Nights cafe (where I use to bake) with laptops ablaze. But the best sight I’ve seen so far are two different sets of parents using it to teach their children how to ride a balance bike and tricycle.

    Btw we Silverlakers write it as Silverlake. :)

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