Folks had a rare opportunity to enjoy strolling York Boulevard free of cars during the York Park grand opening.
Yesterday Highland Park enjoyed a very special event, the grand opening of the long anticipated York Park, located on the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 50. Planned in conjunction with what has great potential to be a recurring street fair on York Boulevard between Avenue 50 and Avenue 52, El Mercado, it was a memorable day for all in attendance.
Before the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the York Park, Councilmember Jose Huizar detailed the hard work it took to get to this day. The park’s grand opening reflects years of meetings and dedicated community engagement. Huizar also took the opportunity to share how proud he is of improvements that have been made over the years in the district, including the development the neighborhood’s bicycle network and piloting of small-scale innovations for more walkable streets (now formally adopted in the city’s People Street program).
Senator De Leon spoke of the park’s importance as a symbol of environmental justice. He noted that some westside neighborhoods have front yards larger many homes in the area and that every neighborhood deserves access to parks, particularly so that children have a safe spaces to play and grow.
Congressmember Becerra, aware that children were very eager to start enjoying the park, was brief in his remarks but recounted his advocacy for the community on the federal level to help secure funds for civic improvements such as the York Park.
Assemblymember Gomez, who walked to the event from his Eagle Rock home, said he is proud to live in a walkable neighborhood and frequents the bustling York Boulevard corridor often to patronize local businesses. He said he is pushing for further improvements to make the district he represents more livable, with a focus on Los Angeles River revitalization and improved bicycle infrastructure connecting to the River.
While most attention was rightfully dedicated to the York Park opening, here are some additional highlights from the event looking at the street fair along the two block stretch of York Boulevard:
York Boulevard was truly a street for people.
Colorful sidewalk chalking .
Some of the businesses open during the event benefitted from the additional foot traffic.
This was the scene at the edge of the street fair. Traffic was re-routed onto Meridian Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, streets paralleling York Boulevard.
York Boulevard felt more like space for neighbors to gather than an thoroughfare to rush through.
Crowd gathers around the park as it finally opens. Note the amusing sign overhead.
The city’s first bike corral was filled beyond capacity. Many other parked bikes dotted the street fair.
One of the delightful sights during the event was seeing bikes with child-seats.
The focus may have been on the children, but the day was truly for everyone. Here an elderly couple takes a pause and does some people watching, utilizing the city’s first public parklet
Old roadway marking visible in the center of the street (the dark grey lines in the middle) reminds us of a time not long ago when York Boulevard was two lanes in each direction with a center turn lane at intersections. That York Boulevard would be populated with people like this would be unimaginable just ten years ago.
By all accounts, the celebratory day was a huge success. A question many had before the day was over was “when can this happen again?”
A big thank you to all who made the day possible!
(ps. No pictures of the park in this post but some great pictures can be found on twitter, including this one, taken from the roof of the building across the street. Also, see The Eastsider LA’s coverage for some additional pictures of the park.)