The First Street Project for Los Angeles envisions a walkable urban corridor filled with pedestrian activity benefiting current and future developments along the two-mile stretch from Grand Avenue to Boyle Heights. From the day-to-day lunch hour to special cultural and sporting events, First Street promises a sustainable vibrancy that will draw people to visit and remind people to return.
Once connected by surface rail, downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights in the late 1880s showed promise for a region that would be tied together as one cohesive yet dynamic community. Today, the MTA is in the process of rebuilding and reconnecting neighborhoods with transit that have become divided by the freeway. Also today are new developments and new opportunities for critical land uses such as housing and schools with over four million square feet of development happening on or near First Street. As the new heart of downtown, the downtown renaissance with Grand Avenue’s developments will trickle down First Street through the heart of the Civic Center and Little Tokyo, over the L.A. River and to Mariachi Plaza.
Another reminder of First Street’s promise is the current revitalization of the Los Angeles River. New access points and connections are being master planned by a team of experts. With its proximity to the Civic Center, tapping into the vitality of the L. A. River will help facilitate an East-West connection. One of First Street’s potential treasures can become a recreational jogging path, a retail promenade and community park – all connected to this sinuous sapphire strand.
The First Street Project calls for a new colorful language of design elements: blossom and shade trees, a Civic Square, rhythmic lanterns, patterned crosswalks, sidewalk furnishings, special signage and wayfinding markers. All will become the glue that ties the distinctive segments of First Street together into a memorable place dedicated to the pedestrian.
Project Goals & Vision
1) Highlight First Street’s distinctive neighborhood segment identities
2) Build on the current developments happening on First Street
3) Develop a lively streetscape that will draw people to First Street
4) Enhance the connection to the L.A. River
5) Develop a kit of parts that ties First Street’s segments together