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Hiding the 101 Freeway Beneath a Park (Part I)

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From the outside, it might look like putting on my ray bans and blasting Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall is a matter of taste, but in reality it’s a calculated effort for droning out the miles of billboards, concrete, and cars I drive through everyday. Amateur graffiti art and occasional, adjacent shrubbery are hardly enough to make up for what we have to sit through during daily commutes. This year, I’ve become well acquainted with the 210,110 and 105 freeways in between my home in Pasadena and my classes at Otis (which is a couple blocks from LAX).

Wikipedia explains that, as a partial implementation of the 1954 master plan, there are now 36 freeways in the greater Los Angeles area. We’re home to the first freeway ever, the first stack interchange, the first grade-separated HOV lanes, and the first fully-automated toll way system. I’m a strong believer in the idea that our surroundings and the way they are designed impacts the way we feel. Even those who claim they don’t see the value in design would have to agree that they’d rather work in an office with a window or live in a home in which the color of the rugs matches the color of the curtains. So if you’re at least partially with me on the value of the spaces we live in and look at, what effect do you think hours in traffic each week do to how we feel? Asides from the aesthetic harm of freeways, we also have to deal with noise exposure, pollution, lowered property values and divided neighborhoods.

So, naturally, when I think about my concerns about our freeways, the proposed Hollywood Freeway Central Park sounds good to me; its realization becomes essential when I think about the “LA LIVE” project in downtown.