Green Is Right Up Our Alley

Cities need more green space, and new parkland can be hard to find. But in park-poor Los Angeles, potential green space may be as close as residents’ back doors. L.A. is interlaced with 900 miles of urban alleys, totaling approximately 2,400 acres. Why not transform these concrete corridors into safe and attractive community green spaces?

Partnering with the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and other organizations, The Trust for Public Land is trying out this idea by redesigning two alleys in South Los Angeles into the Avalon Green Alley Network.

Across the nation, eight cities have launched green alley programs. In L.A., the goals of the program are to increase park space, encourage walking and playing, cool the neighborhood, save water, avoid expensive water treatment, and reduce crime and build communities by providing safe community spaces.

In partnership with CRA/LA, we’ve generated a design for the alleys and are raising funds to begin construction. Improvements will include replacing dark, impervious pavement with porous, light-colored paving stones that reflect heat and allow water to penetrate rather than running off into sewers; planting the edges of alleys with greenery to make them cooler and more inviting; and adding signs, lighting, and pavement markings to encourage residents to use the alleys as green pathways through the neighborhood.

Greening alleys is only one project of our Parks for People–Los Angeles initiative. Currently we’re working to create six new parks in L.A., in locations to include Watts, Maywood, Hollywood, Reseda, and downtown.