Many Angelenos live within walking distance of their local schools, grocery stores, and restaurants, but opt to drive because LA neighborhood streets are often noisy and busy with narrow sidewalks. They aren’t well designed for walking, especially with young children, so driving is often the safer option. But what if there was a way to reimagine existing infrastructure into safe, connected, community spaces?
There are 900 linear miles of alleys in Los Angeles, which combined would make up about 3 square miles—about half the size of Griffith Park and twice the size of New York’s Central Park. Scattered throughout the city in neighborhoods, commercial zones, downtown, and L.A.’s industrial areas, the alleys are typically ignored or have earned a reputation as a magnet for dumping and crime. We’re working to change that.
Partnering with the City of Los Angeles’s Community Redevelopment Agency, Bureau of Sanitation, the University of Southern California’s Center for Sustainable Cities, Jefferson High School and others, our Green Alleys project turns uninviting alleys into walkable, bikeable, and beautiful public resources for the whole community to enjoy. We’ve transformed several neighborhood alleys into vibrant, outdoor areas for pedestrian travel with improvements like:
- Light colored paving to reduce the heat island effect;
- Cross walk striping, lights, and signage to increase walkability;
- Native and drought tolerant planting to help green and beautify the neighborhood;
- A host of innovative techniques to capture and infiltrate storm water from nearby alleys and streets.
In a bustling metropolis like Los Angeles where more than half the population lacks easy access to green space, alleyways are an innovative solution to addressing the need for better connectivity between communities. Alleys are packed with potential and thanks to groups like Equipo Verde, more alleys are turning green and staying green.