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New Shade Structures, Who Dis?: Hoover Triangle 3.0

10:44 AM PDT on October 25, 2019

When I first spotted what appeared to be a second effort to revamp the Hoover Triangle earlier this summer, my jaw dropped.

The Bureau of Street Services (BSS) had hauled in four massive trees, and thick blue poles meant to anchor canopies had appeared. When I stopped by to try to take pictures a few weeks later, BSS was busy installing planters and an array of greenery around the edges of the plaza. [See BSS installing the trees and some plants here.]

This was phase two, I was told.

Phase two?

Calling it phase two makes it sound like having to rip up concrete and rip out old new trees to install new new trees and new structures was always part of the plan. But the shade structures were not in the original plans, to the best of my understanding. Nor were they mentioned in any of the press materials (see here, here).

The rendering of the plaza from July, 2016. The red circles were the trees that were removed. The green circles indicate trees to be replaced. The trees planned for along 24th did not go in along the sidewalk. Source:
The rendering of the plaza from July, 2016. The red circles were the trees that were removed. The green circles indicated trees to be planted. The trees planned for along Union did not go in right away, but have since been planted. Source: Bureau of Street Services
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Instead, the first "phase" had cost nearly two years of planning and $600,000 in concrete, greenery, lighting, benches, and labor, all to yield profoundly underwhelming results, as we noted in 2017.

The newly paved-over transit island is clean and accessible, but could really use some shade. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
In 2017, the then-newly paved-over transit island was clean and accessible, but could really have used some shade. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
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At the groundbreaking, those involved in the project spoke of it as a model that could be replicated around the city and touted it as the fruits of what can happen when a community comes together to improve livability.

It wasn't until the day after our story dropped, when councilmember Gil Cedillo responded to someone concerned about the lack of shade, that mention was made of tackling the shade issue in a second phase of the project.

To the district office's credit, they have tackled it in spades.

This is the same view as the photo above.

What a difference a year - and a lot of greenery - makes. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
What a difference a year - and trees and canopies and a lot of greenery - makes. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
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The four mature trees planted this summer were complemented with a range of drought-tolerant flowering plants and grasses.

The installation of two shade structures helped make the triangle feel much more spacious than it actually is. So did the placement of tall planters around the edge of what is described as a performance space.

Planters ring the performance area of the plaza. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Planters ring the performance area of the plaza, helping make it an inviting space for parents to watch their younger kids dance, play, skate, or learn to ride a bike without being melted by the sun. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
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It's a quality glow-up.

And given that I see area residents relaxing on the benches there every time I roll through, it appears that the plaza is finally functional, too.

A canopy shades picnic tables for kids and adults and offers those waiting for the bus some relief when the bus shelter canopy comes up short. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
A canopy shades picnic tables for kids and adults and offers those waiting for the bus some relief when the bus shelter canopy comes up short. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
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It just would have been great - and likely more cost-effective - if this kind of investment and attention to community needs had been made from the outset. Especially since those surveyed during the planning process had ranked shade first among their asks.

A survey of 75 area residents indicates shade is the most important feature. Source: NANDC presentation
A survey of 75 area residents taken during the original planning process indicated shade was the most important feature. Source: NANDC presentation
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