Los Angeles gets its own Central Park

“There is no design,” says Sarah Lejeune, Santa Monica’s senior planner. No official design, anyway, but photos like this one show that planning is underway. She’s talking about the four freeway cap parks in the works for Hollywood, Santa Monica and downtown LA. A cap park is essentially a raised element built over a freeway that can support, among other things, parks. Hollywood’s cap park, also called Hollywood Central Park or Park 101, is the most developed of the three so far. Spanning 44 acres between Bronson Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, the park cap would link up with downtown LA and join landmarks like Olvera Street, Chinatown and Union Station on one side and Disney Hall, City Hall and the Cathedral on the other, creating a “livable, walkable and unified downtown district.”

It’s an interesting idea, and it’s been done before to great success in cities like Boston, Seattle and Phoenix. There’s even a small one over the 210 in La Canada-Flintridge and another under way in Ventura. Unfortunately, the 44 acres won’t all be used for large expanses of grass and landscaped walkways. The plan, as it stands now, will include “lots of surface parking and at least a million square feet of new development.” Of course if that new development looks anything like LA Live, spare us. Either way, no one’s breaking ground anytime soon.