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Proposal would park a park on top of downtown L.A. freeway

May 13, 2010 | 10:15 am

Green zone?

The freeway is jammed, traffic is crawling and motorists are steamed. On top of all that, they want a 100-acre park.

That describes the plan to roof-over a half-mile stretch of the Hollywood Freeway in downtown Los Angeles and turn it into a gentle greenbelt.

The idea of a $700-million "cap" covering the freeway between Hope and Alameda streets in the Civic Center area is the latest in a series of proposals to convert airspace above local freeways into public parkland.

Civic leaders in Hollywood and Santa Monica have initiated similar freeway-cover campaigns for sections of highway there. A covering for the 101 Freeway in Ventura has also been discussed.

The proposed downtown freeway cap is being called "Park 101" by advocates -- some of whom have envisioned such a project for more than 10 years.

But it was a 2008 brainstorming session by two dozen college-age summer interns working for a design and planning firm that jump-started the downtown park proposal.

Working in a borrowed design studio at the state Department of Transportation's downtown headquarters, the interns pumped out the basic concept for the 100-acre park development in just two weeks.

Since then, the freeway redevelopment idea has been showcased in a booklet and in informal presentations at Caltrans and at City Hall before the Planning Commission.

Backers hope to give the concept another push by staging a community meeting and open house Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Caltrans headquarters at 100 S. Main St.

Read the full story here.

-- Bob Pool

Photo: Traffic along the 101 Freeway under the Hill Street bridge. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times