HIGHLAND PARK — With its colorful mosaics, planters and redwood benches, the York Boulevard Parklet turned a strip of the street into a curbside patio where pedestrians could sit and take in the scene. But the parklet has been fenced off since the end of July after a hit-and-run driver smashed into the structure and vandals inflicted more damage. Now, city and neighborhood officials are trying to figure out how to repair the parklet.
The 20-foot-long parklet on York near Avenue 50 was completed in early 2013 as part of the People Street program, which aims to create more pedestrian-friend environments. In addition to Highland Park, parklets, have popped up in Downtown, East L.A. and El Sereno, creating sidewalk-adjacent seating areas on what had been part of the roadway. The city spent an estimated $30,000 to build the York Boulevard parklet, a city official said.
Motor vehicles have run into other People Street projects, including Polka Dot Plaza in Silver Lake, where officials had to install stronger barriers.
Elizabeth Gallardo, an Assistant Project Coordinator with the city’s Department of Transportation, said the York Boulevard parklet had been well used until a hit-and-run driver crashed into the structure in mid-July. Vandals later caused even more damage, prompting Councilman Jose Huizar and the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, which is responsible for maintaining and repairing the seating area, to fence off the parklet, Gallardo said.
The parklet “will definitely reopen” Gallardo said. However, it’s not clear when that will happen and how much it will cost. The city and chamber of commerce are “working diligently on a repair plan,” she said.
“Repair plans are still in development, but the repair will require significant rebuilding of the parklet,” she said.
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