The Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) People St program is designed to support communities in transforming L.A.’s streets into active, vibrant, and accessible public spaces. Through this program, community partners complete an application to obtain approval for small-scale public space projects within three established categories: plazas, bike corrals, and parklets. LADOT evaluates project proposals each spring, and then accepts new applications again in the fall.
For plaza and parklet projects, LADOT provides a “kit of parts” document, which outlines required, pre-approved design configurations. The Kit of Parts documents (and supporting Technical Appendixes) account for necessary differences in size, shape, and use of the space and allow for a defined range of options for design components. Requirements guide roadbed graphics, furnishing, plantings, and safety features. Stewards are expected to adhere closely to the Kit of Parts document and Technical Appendix appropriate to their project type through all phases of the project. Though it affords less creative license with design, this approach helps create a cohesive visual identity for all projects and expedites approval and implementation.
LADOT views the plazas, parklets, and bike corrals created through People St as part of a continuum of projects that can help transform streets citywide. People St interventions exist in a space between short-term event-based initiatives such as open streets and permanent complete streets infrastructure upgrades.
REVENUE AND FINANCING
People St is a Public/Private partnership in which the City works with project sponsors that are willing to fund construction and maintenance of their project. In some cases, project leaders have independently secured grants to fund their initiative, but this is rare. Most partners receive funding through neighborhood councils, local officials, or crowdsourcing.
The LADOT has worked with the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) to fund parklets and plazas near transit stops in underserved communities in the past, and hopes to do so again if funding is available. Outside of staff hours, the People St initiative is intended to be a budget neutral program for LADOT.
ACTIVATION AND PROGRAMMING
The Community Partner is responsible for all programming and activation efforts in their parklet or plaza
The Community Partner is responsible for maintaining and operating the their parklet or plaza. Responsibilities vary by project type, and LADOT provides a clear chart of costs and responsibilities for stewards (see Appendix A). The majority of partnerships are established with organizations that can demonstrate clear capabilities to perform their required maintenance duties, such as BIDs. In some cases, stewards have established new partnerships to meet their responsibilities. For example, the neighborhood group Pacoima Beautiful is working with a non-profit “Graffiti Busters” group on a variety of maintenance tasks.
For bike corrals, community partners must fill out a Bicycle Corral Interest Form. If the corral is approved, the partner enters into an a maintenance agreement with the City of Los Angeles. Under this framework, the partner agrees to take responsibility for regular maintenance of the corral and adjacent parking spaces including keeping the corral free from trash and debris, stickers and graffiti, and maintaining landscaping (if applicable).
The “Kit of Parts” approach is controversial. The approach allows LADOT to quickly implement projects and deliver benefits to the community. These standards establish a strong baseline for project safety, feasibility and usability. While they do leave some design options open, some find the requirements too restrictive. LADOT must balance this issue carefully - even seemingly simple deviations from the design guidelines can be costly. The department is continuing to refine the guidelines to expand some elements, such as paint and color options.
Primary Model Type
Special Assessment Districts
Los Angeles, CA
Plaza, Street/Alley, Curbside
Cost to set-up: $
Manager resource level: Varies
Provides simple framework for creation of plazas, parklets, and bike corrals
Defines clear roles for private partners and limits agency responsibilities and costs
Allows for quick project review and installation