People Street

People Street

A new plaza was unveiled in North Hollywood on Monday, part of a citywide effort to turn roadways into walkable spaces.

Formerly an alley used primarily for deliveries, the 2,500-square-foot NoHo Plaza is outfitted with chairs and tables set on a green-painted surface. It is located on Lankershim Boulevard, blocks from a subway station.

Appearing at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called the plaza an example of “urban acupuncture” that will help enliven North Hollywood. Such neighborhoods are “the backbones of the city,” Garcetti said.

The project cost $54,000, Garcetti said.

NoHo Plaza is a project from the city’s People St program and one of three “street-to-plazas” conversions to open in recent weeks.

Similar spaces have already opened in Pacoima and Leimert Park this year. Additionally, a pilot program paid for another plaza in 2012 in Silver Lake, which turned a small strip of roadway into a plaza.

That Silver Lake project had some growing pains, notably when cars reportedly drove through the plaza on at least two instances.

Still, the Silver Lake and new NoHo plazas represent larger efforts to turn city roadways and alleys into pedestrian space, part of a national trend of emphasizing walkways over cars.

Whether locals will use the space remains to be seen.

The plaza is located next to an exercise studio, and during Monday’s ribbon-cutting the “thump-thump-thump” of dance music could be heard.

Mike Manukian, owner of Mama’s Pizza three doors down from the plaza, said he had some concerns about the alley’s conversion. His employees drive through the alley, he said, and a lack of parking remains a problem in the area. Looking out at the plaza, he said: “We’ll see what happens.”

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