Last year, Clifford Beers Housing was selected by the City of Los Angeles to construct a new supportive housing development at 283 West Imperial Highway in the Harbor Gateway community.  The LOHA-designed project, called Isla de Los Angeles, would make use of recycled shipping containers to construct 54 dwelling units, in addition to on-site amenities and some commercial space.

Now, in addition to employing innovative construction methods, it seems that the project may also serve as a testing ground for shared streets in South Los Angeles.  Athens Way, a short road which runs along the west side of the property, is being targeted by Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson as an opportunity to implement a shared streets concept. 

According to the City of Los Angeles' Complete Streets Guidelines, a shared street is one in which cars, bikes, pedestrians, and scooters are able to comfortably utilize the same space.  Shared streets are intended to have a minimum 20-foot-wide roadway with five-foot buffers on either side and landscaping or other traffic calming elements to enhance aesthetics and reinforce safety.  The speed limit for shared streets - and Athens Way - is recommended at no more than five miles per hour.

Harris-Dawson has introduced a motion which directs the multiple city departments to evaluate Isla de Los Angeles and Athens Way between 113th Street and Imperial highway for use as a shared street, and to report back within 14 days.  The item has been referred to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee for consideration.

Shared streets - also known as shared spaces and shared zones - are not widespread in the United States, but are a more familiar concept in European nations.  In the Netherlands, they have come to be known by the term "Woonerf."