Over the past month, we broke in our new polling feature by asking you, faithful Urbanize readers, to vote on the best projects we covered in 2021. They ranged from things as small as complete street makeovers to the type of skyline-altering mega-projects that populate our Instagram profiles. With the end of the year now just hours away, the polls are closed, and the results are decided.
Best transportation project of 2021
In a come-from-behind victory, the grassroots proposal from active transportation advocacy group Streets For All to extend the Ballona Creek bike path claimed the title of the year's best transportation project. The proposal, which still requires funding and cooperation from multiple government agencies, would complete the original vision of the path, extending its reach by approximately two miles to the intersection of Cochran Avenue and Venice Boulevard.
Check out some of the other work that Streets For All is doing on Sunset Boulevard, Venice, Boulevard, and 6th Street here.The year's runner-up is a still nebulous plan from City Councilmember (and prospective Mayor) Kevin de Leon to bring three small segments of car-free streets to Downtown Los Angeles. Much work still needs to be done, but the end result could be pedestrian-only segments of Grand Avenue, Broadway, and Traction Avenue in Bunker Hill, the Historic Core, and the Arts District.
In a commanding fashion, the official start of construction on the third and final phase of the D (Purple) Line extension emerged as L.A.'s best groundbreaking of 2021. The final leg of the project will push subway service west from Century City toward new stops in Westwood and the VA campus, building off of initial two phases which will connect Century City with Koreatown via Beverly Hills and the Miracle Mile. Service is slated to begin in 2027.
Another Metro project, the long-awaited LAX Metro Rail station, came in as a distance second. The $900-million project, slated to open in 2024 at 96th Street and Aviation Boulevard, will allow Crenshaw/LAX and C Line passengers to transfer to the airport's new automated people mover system
In a photo finish, three different projects were within shouting distance of the title of "Best new project of 2021." But as the tagline of The Highlander notes, "there can only be one."
Plans from Relevant Group and Gensler to construction modular apartment towers at the 3rd & Spring and 845 Olive in Downtown pulled off a surprise, come-from-behind victory. The two projects would create a combined total of 660 apartments and more than 11,000 square feet of retail space, with just 51 parking stalls between them.
Following closely behind in second phase was 3401 La Cienega, the latest mixed-use project slated to rise on the blocks surrounding La Cienega/Jefferson Station. The project from Lendlease and SHoP Architects would replace a storage complex with a 12-story, 260-unit residential building and a six-story, 250,000 square-foot office building, accompanied by ground-floor retail and open space.
And coming in third was the Buena Vista development, a proposal from LPC West and the Riboli family which could bring a trio of towers featuring 986 apartments (including 200 affordable units) and nearly 40,000 square feet of commercial space to a narrow strip of land on a bluff overlooking L.A. Station Historic Park. Construction on the mixed-use complex could kick off as early as 2023.