Dense urban centers are great, but we still have to find some room for nature in the city. Los Angeles hasn't done a great job of this in the past, but now there's an ambitiuos proposal on the table: putting a massive park on top of a below-grade section of the 101 freeway in the heart of downtown. The Park 101 project would give the city some much-needed greenspace, unite neighborhoods that have been fractured by downtown's tangle of freeways, and allow for smart new urban housing developments.
This idea of capping an active roadway with a park isn't entirely new. (There have been proposals for other sections of freeway in Los Angeles over the years, and Boston's Big Dig turned out great, budget problems aside). Could it work in Los Angeles? Well, the Park 101 plan seems to have real momentum. The California Department of Transportation is on board and the design firm Aecom is putting together the designs. CalTrans his holding a public meeting on the idea on May 13.
With an estimated cost of $800 million, Park 101 may seem like a long shot, but Aecom is making the plan modular, so it can be built piece-by-piece as funding is available. And in 20 years, if all goes well, Los Angeles may have its own Central Park.