Downtown residents, community leaders, greenspace advocates and members of the media braved the cold yesterday morning to celebrate the opening of the Hope Street Parklet — South Park’s first and Downtown Los Angeles’ third.

Located on South Hope Street just south of 11th Street, the parklet fronts a parking garage that was recently reonvated to include new ground-level retail space and across the street from tthe venerable Desmond Warehouse, now home to the offices of AEG Live.

Speakers at the event included Councilmember José Huizar, Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) General Manager Seleta Reynolds, South Park Business Improvement District Executive Director Jessica Lall, and CoCo Fresh co-owner Tony Chou.

For the uninitiated, parklets are quasi-temporary curb extensions built on top of one or more street parking spaces.  First popularized in San Francisco, the parklet concept has since spread to dozens of cities worldwide.

Along with widening the sidewalk and calming traffic, the purpose of parklets is to carve out small amounts of neighborhood greenspace— something acutely lacking in Los Angeles, notoriously one of the nation’s most park poor cities.

This dearth of community park space is of the primary motivations behind the LADOT’s People Street Program.  The program provides a standard well-defined process for sponsors to submit an application for a parklet to be approved and built in their neighborhood.

The Hope Street Parklet is the first in the city to be created under People Street.  Prior to that, LADOT tested the concept by creating four pilot parklets: two in Downtown’s Historic Core, one in Highland Park and one in El Sereno.

Los Angeles’ next pair of parklets slated to open will be in Palms - one at 3370 Motor Ave and the other at 3272 Motor Ave.

The Hope Street parklet features a simple, modern look, designed by SODA Architects and Mia Lehrer & Associates and constructed by Swinerton Builders.

The South Park Business Improvement District spearheaded the effort to create the parklet.

Sponsors include SODA Architects, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Mack Urban, AECOM Capital, LLC, Benchmark + Tishman Construction, Tinco Sheet Metal, Valley Crest Landscape, ABC Resources, Inc., Harry H. Joh Construction, Inc., Helix Electric, Swinerton Builders, Hazens Group, USA, Trumark Urban, and ALTC Realty.

You can learn more about the Hope Street Parklet on the South Park BID website.

If you are interested in applying to sponsor a parklet in your own Los Angeles neighborhood, you can learn more about the process on LADOT’s People Street website.