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LA City Council Introduces Plan to Increase Public Space

Los Angeles City Hall and City Hall East on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.  (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

The Los Angels City Council is moving forward with a plan that seeks to create more space for pedestrians.  

Called the Park Block Plan, the city hopes to model it after Barcelona’s Superblocks, which limit traffic to major streets. 

What’s in the Plan? 

As of right now, the proposal is just in the introductory phase, with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation searching for a neighborhood to pilot the plan. The pilot will be in City Council District 14 as Councilmember Kevin De Leon introduced the bill. 

While the pilot will be inspired by many big cities around the world, its main inspiration will be from Barcelona, Spain. In 2016, Barcelona launched a program called “Superilla.” 

Its three main goals were to lower air pollution, reduce urban noise, and decrease traffic deaths. Thus, the city transformed residential streets and reconfigured how traffic flows. Nearly a decade later, the evidence shows that Barcelona’s plan not only worked but made a massive impact as well. 

For space, up to 70% of street surface area was able to be reclaimed as public space due to the city eliminating cut-through traffic. 

In terms of Superilla’s three main goals, it was also successful. Studies show that air pollution dropped in many of the Superblocks, with some areas reducing Nitrogen Dioxide emissions by a third. 

For noise, following the implementation of the Superblocks, urban noise dropped by 4 decibels. Additionally, residents chose to use different transportation as there was a 92% decrease in vehicle usage. 

Only time will tell which neighborhood will be the first in Los Angeles to be transformed, but we do know that those with higher vehicle collisions will be given priority. 

We’ll make sure to update you when this plan officially gets in motion. 

Until then, keep up with BOMA on the Frontline for the latest news in the Greater Los Angeles area. 

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