In the past year, Urban Diachrony has documented some of the countless changes that have transformed Los Angeles’ built form in the past century. As readers will surely have noticed, one theme that emerges from many photo montages is the great destruction of the city’s historic bones due to an embrace of automobility and car-centric planning. Many of the city’s oldest buildings near Los Angeles Plaza were lost to highway construction; the grand residences of Hoover Street were lost to road widening; the famed Baker Block was lost to a road extension; and many more have made way for surface parking lots. The poor choices we have made in the construction of our transportation infrastructure have undeniably led to a great degradation of Los Angeles’ public realm.
The City of Los Angeles’ Departments of City Planning and Transportation are currently offering a rare opportunity for all Angelenos to describe what we want our streets and neighborhoods to look like into the new century. The project known as LA/2B aims to update the city’s planning policies and standards related to transportation and street design. Still in its early stages, LA/2B has established a user-friendly online town hall that has already seen a number of great ideas and discussions. Of course, the more participation LA/2B receives, the more likely those ideas will find a permanent place in the city’s planning objectives. If you believe as strongly as I do in the need to relieve Los Angeles of its car-dependence, now is the time to join the dialogue and be part of the public record. With any luck, we will get Los Angeles on the way to a more sustainable and more beautiful future.