Yesterday, 24 interns from around the world gathered at the Cal Trans Building on Main Street to begin a two week study of how a section of the Hollywood Freeway that runs through Downtown Los Angeles can be capped with a park. The study will also examine how the communities on each side of the freeway can be connected with each other and made more pedestrian accessible.
This project is sponsored by EDAW which is also doing the official study of he Hollywood Freeway Cap Park in the heart of Hollywood.
The day started with welcoming speeches by Doug Failing of Cal Trans, the principals of EDAW - whose names I did not catch, EDAW project coordinators Mike Williams & Gaurav Srivastava, Planning Director Gail Goldberg, Jessica Wethington McClean who represented Councilman Jose Huizar and moi.
Afterwards, I gave a tour of the project area between First Street and the Plaza/Union Station area on Alameda all the way up to the Music Center and the Performing Arts High School on Grand Avenue and pretty much everything in between. We managed this all in under four hours.
My impression of the project after this first day is that EDAW has assembled a talented team of in-house staff members and local civic leaders to assist the interns in developing a much needed vision for both our Civic Center and our historic center. If anything, I think connecting these two sides of the freeway will be the easy part; the far bigger challenge will be to find a way to make the neighborhoods on each side of the freeway places one would want to connect with.