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Thursday
Nov052015

Cahuenga Crossing: Bringing Open Space to Hollywood

Gensler's vision for Cahuenga Crossing. Image © Gensler

Hollywood, as a federally defined Enterprise Zone, is critically lacking open space and has a community general health-quotient well below the county average. With limited funds, and even more limited developable area, the challenge to create new open space in the Hollywood is a formidable challenge. Using a tactical approach to create centers of open space and physical activity, the Gensler team led the creation and implementation of the Cahuenga Crossing project located on and around Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Cahuenga Crossing is an opportunity for the Hollywood community to envision new ways of interacting and enlivening their streets, parking lots, and alleys while promoting community physical and behavioral health.

Cahuenga Crossing is a vision to leverage existing strengths along the Cahuenga Corridor area of Hollywood, and is defined as a series of tactical solutions, phased over time, in underused spaces that range from barren corners, to optimally located parking lots. The main strategic planning premise is to Move Parking For Parks by redirecting many of the parking needs of the area, presently served by many smaller parking lots, into an adjacent underutilized parking garage served by valet stations at the perimeter of the area. This will establish a more pedestrian oriented environment for the neighborhood while liberating some of these smaller lots, or portions thereof, to be parks.

Cahuenga Crossing's current appearance. Image © Gensler

Launched in the Fall 2015, the first phase in realizing this vision is the Cahuenga Crossing pop-up parklet, located at the corner of Cahuenga Blvd and Selma Ave. This first project is intended to serve as a small demonstration of this plan’s potential, and is a temporary open space that provides a place of respite, relaxation, and opportunity for community engagement at the heart of this bustling neighborhood. Following phases include the reactivation of a derelict garden at the Hollywood Post Office – Postage Park - and the activation of a couple of other strategically located parking lots along EaCa Alley. Using a combination of an existing space, and new plants and furnishings, Postage Park will activate a corner long-underused and forgotten, while these other open space interventions will strengthen an important neighborhood pedestrian spine. Ultimately, Cahuenga Crossing creates a platform for increased community interaction, local business engagement, and improved activity and safety within the Cahuenga Corridor neighborhood.

The Cahuenga Crossing project has developed into a robust partnership between Gensler Los Angeles, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the Hollywood Entertainment District BID, the local businesses, and the surrounding neighborhood. We thank our friends at ValleyCrest, Hermosa Design, Bend Furniture, Quick Crete Products Corp., and Easy Turf for their support in realizing our first pop-up parklet that is open to the public from November 6-8.

Gensler's vision for revitalizing Postage Park. Image © Gensler

Li Wen, AIA, is a design principal at Gensler with over 27 years of experience. He is responsible for leading the design on many of the firm’s corporate and civic/cultural projects, including MGM Place in Beverly Hills, the Playa Jefferson Creative Office Campus, and the LAPD Memorial to Fallen Officers. Li also is a leader on the team responsible for research and special projects coming out of the Los Angeles office. Contact him at li_wen@gensler.com
Brian Glodney, a design director in Gensler's Los Angeles office, is passionate about creating healthy, sustainable, and vibrant places and cities. Ensuring this passion is equally matched with pragmatism and research is his role as a Recognized Practitioner of Urban Design - to better shepherd a dialogue about urban design and its influence in the built and natural environments. Brian utilizes deep investigation and research combined with aspirational, yet implementable designs to craft resilient communities. Contact Brian at brian_glodney@gensler.com.

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