At Last Café with new bulb-out and bioswale.
LONG BEACH, CA, (March 27, 2014) – The latest contribution to Long Beach’s incremental urbanism movement is a pedestrian bulb-out and bioswale garden, located adjacent to the At Last Café at the northeast corner of Orange and 2nd Street. The project represents the most recent endeavor by Studio One Eleven and the City to repurpose road space and enhance the urban environment — capturing rainwater, beautifying the streets and improving pedestrian safety. This effort follows two other sidewalk bulb-outs which have recently been completed along First Street in the East Village and Broadway in Belmont Heights. However, the At Last Café bulb-out is unique in that it is the first of its kind to combine a working bioswale with active outdoor dining. With this latest installation, At Last Café will join Lola’s, Café Berlin, and Utopia in an business expansion approach that contributes to slowing traffic, makes neighborhoods safer and encourages the pedestrian and cycling experience.
Michael Bohn, a Principal and Director of Design at Studio 111, notes that he views the At Last Café project as a form of “tactical urbanism,” a grassroots approach to bettering the community through immediate, cost effective action. “We’re pushing sustainability to the forefront of the public realm. We want to make immediate improvements to areas that may not have the resources to do so for themselves.” What started as a community effort by the City of Long Beach to improve the public realm has turned into a means of introducing sustainability by design. Through the At Last Café bulb-out design, Bohn sees the potential that similar projects will have on the community as a whole: “We’re taking streets, leveraging them for multiple uses, but more importantly, we’re energizing areas and creating places”
Charlie Gandy, Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal, designer Michael Bohn, Café owners Ria and John McLaughlin and family.
Studio One Eleven helped pioneer the Long Beach Parklet Program in 2012, designing the first parklet in Southern California in front of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine in the heart of Long Beach’s Retro Row. The goal of the project was to introduce a new view on urbanism and complete streets, focused on better utilizing overlooked or neglected urban spaces to improve the community. By repurposing parking spots in front of a business for additional outdoor seating, the parklet effectively widened the sidewalk and created opportunities for increased seating capacity without requiring extensive renovation of existing buildings. In the case of Lola’s (and Café Berlin), this has proven to translate to an influx of new customers and greater revenue for business owners while minimizing investment. The At Last Café in a public/private partnership with the City will be utilizing the extra space created by the bulb out for 40 new seats -doubling the amount of occupants their restaurant can currently hold. Owner John McLaughlin anticipates that this expansion will require the business to hire additional employees to serve the anticipated increase in customers, stimulating the local economy and creating jobs.
Curb extensions, or “bulb-outs” are designed to beautify the city and improve pedestrian safety, and are usually completed through the Public Works Department of the City of Long Beach. Whereas parklets are paid for by retailers and built upon a temporary foundation of pedestals anywhere along a street to keep them even with the sidewalk, bulb-outs are permanent extensions of the curb at street intersections or mid-block locations, and require extensive engineering. These curb extensions reduce the street width for vehicles, slow traffic speeds and decrease the cross-walk distance for a safer travel from one side of the street. Ironically, the narrower street and faster pedestrian crossing times also results in increased traffic flow.
Supported by the City of Long Beach’s Office of Sustainability, the bulb-out at the At Last Café features a bioswale which is engineered to capture rain water that percolates back into the ground, intercepting and treating polluted street run-off before it enters the storm water system and eventually the ocean. To add to its aesthetic beauty, a garden of drought tolerant plants will populate the design. The bio-swale/bulb-out design is at the forefront of a sustainable approach to the urbanism fostered and pioneered by the City of Long Beach and Studio One Eleven.
The At Last Café at 204 Orange Avenue opened the new curb extensions and outdoor seating to the public at a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 29th, just in time for diners to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. This public/private partnership is anticipated to pave the way for additional sustainable urbanism efforts throughout the City of Long Beach, and continued revitalization of the city, making it a more livable environment for all to enjoy.
At Last Café owners John and Ria McLaughlin.
Downtown San Pedro, CA – On Friday, March 7, 2014, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative and Studio One Eleven will be co-hosting a community workshop soliciting community input on a revitalization effort to transform the Lilyan Fierman Walkway, adjacent to the historic Warner Grand Theatre. The open forum, which will be held this Friday from 11:30am to 1:30pm at the walkway on 6th Street between Pacific Avenue and Mesa Street, will consist of two workshops: the first engaging the public for inspiration and ideas and the latter asking for design feedback. The interactive initiative to transform this facet of the community is dedicated to LANI’s goal of further improving the pedestrian environment through public and private partnerships. With community sponsored input, Studio One Eleven will leverage their urban design expertise to transform Fierman’s Walkway and thus catalyze its potential for economic development.
Studio One Eleven and LANI’s coalition to revitalize low and middle-income neighborhoods around LA began over a decade ago. Brad Williams, Chief Operating Officer and Associate Principal at Studio One Eleven, says the firm was first drawn to the neighborhood organization because of their similar values. “Studio One Eleven is passionate about incremental urbanism. Alongside LANI, we are dedicated to being part of the continual improvement of the city’s fabric.” As one of Studio One Eleven’s first clients, their partnership with LANI extends far beyond the completion of past projects and into the true meaning of their work: the community. “We are eager to yet again be working with this wonderful organization to stimulate positive growth in San Pedro.” They have collaborated on a number of projects including the Virgil Village Traffic Calming Plan and the Leimert Park Façade Renovation.
The Lilyan Fierman Walkway project itself began in 2013. Tiffany Peterson, a designer at Studio One Eleven and project manager for this opportunity, is eager to begin work on the historic walkway. Although she has some ideas for the design, the bulk of her inspiration will come from community input. On her goal for the workshop taking place during the San Pedro Farmer’s Market, she states, “This is San Pedro’s walkway. I want to take a step back in the process, let the community give me ideas and walk away with a solid foundation for the design based on a good understanding of how they want to transform their walkway.” Studio One Eleven and LANI have used this strategy in the past to great success in the Virgil Village neighborhood of Los Angeles. (See http://www.studio-111blog.com/?s=virgil ).
Together, LANI and Studio One Eleven’s goal for the workshop is to parlay inspiration from the public for improvement upon existing conditions in order to create a safer, walkable neighborhood for pedestrians. After this Friday’s workshop, work will begin on the revitalization effort. The Lilyan Fierman Walkway is estimated to be complete by October 2014.
Historic Warner Grand Theatre, adjacent to Lilyan Fierman Walkway
We pride ourselves on repositioning under-performing properties for our clients. We’ve completed several with great success from both an economic and community enhancement perspective, such as Courtyard Lofts; Lincoln & Rose; and 4th+Linden, where we also acted as the developer. We are currently in the midst of completing La Brea, which caters to high-end Los Angeles hipsters, as well as a development in Pacoima that creates a community gathering place in a Latin American immigrant neighborhood.
Now, a sneak preview of our latest adaptive re-use project in Santa Ana known as “The Roost.” The site is in the Station District on Santa Ana Boulevard, which is the main artery into Downtown from the 5 Freeway. It is a five minute stroll from the train station and two blocks from the cool East End that includes The Playground, Yost Theater and soon-to-open Food Market. A light rail train is slated to begin construction in 2015 and is proposed to travel down Santa Ana Boulevard, passing our project on its way into downtown and eventually connecting with the City of Anaheim.
Santa Ana’s rich historic downtown is attracting the arts, entertainment and culinary industries. The Roost promises to be at the center of this creative and professional infusion, adding to the neighborhood’s artsy luster with boutiques, crafts, patio dining, and unique spaces to hang out.
The Roost is a sustainable adaptive reuse project with a passion for Craft, Culture and Community. It is a mixed use, transit-oriented development intended to become “The Community’s Living Room.” The project will benefit from a dynamic mix of structures; including re-purposed cargo containers, a renovated craftsman bungalow duplex, a 1920′s commercial building and a reinvented two story barn. All units will have exclusive garden areas for the enjoyment of residents, patrons and shop keepers. “The Roost” is close to permit-ready and will be finished in just a few months. Come out and see for yourself what all the cackling is about!
2013 was an eventful year for us. Among many exciting developments, restaurant owners around Southern California took notice of the success of our parklets at Lola’s and Berlin and the parklet trend began to spread.
Our design for the first “curb café” in north San Diego county recently completed construction at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant in Carlsbad, CA. Occupying two diagonal parking spaces and seating 24, the design includes serape-inspired elements and is already a hit with owner and customers alike.
We currently have two more parklets on the boards, one incorporating a bioswale. We’re proud to be at the forefront of this growing trend, with each new parklet promising increased visibility as well as street vibrancy and a refreshing dining experience.
Friday afternoons are special for our bike commuters – during this time, our resource manager, William McLaughlin, takes a break from managing the materials and specifications to tune up our bicycles. Having worked as a master mechanic in a bike shop, he has the expertise and tools to keep us cycling smoothly and safely whether it is a mountain, cruiser, Fixie, BMX, or racing bike.
We operate this bike kitchen to promote bike culture and encourage active transportation both within and outside our office. Bicycling is great for health, good for communities, and a cost-effective solution to many of our most pressing societal and environmental problems. This is just one of the many ways that we embrace LEED concepts like planning, design, and development of sustainable, pedestrian and bike friendly neighborhoods.
When working on community-based landscape beautification projects with limited budgets, we often help to procure materials and oversee plant placement. Irrigation can be a costly challenge and while this may be mitigated through smart design, including the use of drought-tolerant plants and other materials, street trees can be difficult to establish without watering systems. Hence our Studio One Eleven experiment with Treegator slow release watering bags. It takes five minutes to install the bag around the tree trunk and about a minute to fill with water. So give an urban tree a drink, already! The bag just needs to be refilled once a week and the entire neighborhood can pitch in if needed (take note, kids)! This does involve some participation but we think that this type of temporary irrigation may prove an effective and inexpensive way to help support the growth of new trees in an urban environment. We’ll keep you posted.