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L.A. considers building a park atop 101 Freeway in downtown

April 26, 2010 |  7:31 am

First, officials in Hollywood proposed capping a portion of the Hollywood Freeway and building a park on top of it.

Then Santa Monica officials began talking about another park-cap project above a section of the Santa Monica Freeway.

Now Caltrans is reviving talk of a massive park and development project atop what is known as the Slot, the below-grade section of the 101 Freeway that runs between the Civic Center and Chinatown.

The concept has gotten less publicity than the Hollywood Freeway cap proposal, but it has been talked about for several years. And it's very ambitious. According to Caltrans, the idea would be to cap about a half-mile of the 101 just east of the 110 Freeway.

Designers have said the park project could help unite neighborhoods now divided by the freeway, which is bisected by a series of bridges. On the south is the Civic Center, Bunker Hill and Little Tokyo; on the north is Olvera Street, Chinatown and the Union Station area.

There are no firm design plans for the freeway cap -- nor is there a firm price tag. The concepts show meandering open space and new high-rise development in and around what is now the 101. Backers are bullish, likening it to L.A.'s version of New York's Central Park.

Preliminary concepts say the park would likely be built as part of a public-private partnership that would involve some new high-rise construction.

A community meeting on the project is scheduled for May 13 at Caltrans headquarters, according to Curbed L.A.

-- Shelby Grad

Images: Caltrans