On October 8, 2011, Studio One Eleven and Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) hosted the third and final public workshop for our traffic calming plan in Virgil Village. Returning to the location of our first workshop, we occupied the northeast corner of the Santa Monica/Virgil intersection and created a temporary plaza for the afternoon. The event once again attracted a broad cross-section of participants, with over seventy of the neighborhood’s residents and stakeholders in attendance. Many expressed their appreciation for this shared decision-making process and were prepared to voice their opinions on how the improvements should be prioritized.
Using cones and potted citrus trees to delineate the edge, pedestrian space was created within the right turn pocket created by the acute angle of the intersecting streets. Right-turning automobile traffic still managed to flow smoothly, and pedestrians appreciated the easier street-crossing allowed by the extended plaza. Sawhorses displayed over a dozen presentation boards that helped illustrate the progress we’ve made – with the community’s help – and to provide a context for the “Preferred Street Design” for Virgil Avenue. Continue reading →
This past weekend, Studio One Eleven started work on a comprehensive plan for Virgil Village: a new neighborhood project sponsored by Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiatives (LANI). The focus of our study is Virgil Avenue, a mixed-use (but mostly retail-oriented) street between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. Like a lot of our work, this project involves the design of streets and sidewalks as well as commercial façades along an economically-challenged part of town.
We’ve always recognized the significance of being involved in these types of projects. In fact, our studio was born as a result of working with the 4th Street merchant association to implement a commercial façade program on Long Beach’s Retro Row (www.4thstreetlongbeach.com). The success of that project affirmed our commitment to what we call “Community Retail Districts” – local/independent stores that serve the community and occupy older and historic buildings along public streets. Community Retail Districts are the public face of a neighborhood, and operate on the triple bottom line of economic, cultural, and social return. This contrasts with “Corporate Retail Districts” (a.k.a. “shopping centers”), which are privately owned and often provide economic return only to investors who are not connected to the community. (Visit www.cooltownstudios.com for more on natural cultural districts and their return to communities). Continue reading →