a green alleywayEven with the giant Griffith Park and the nearby natural playgrounds of the Santa Monica Mountains and Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles is the most park-poor major city in America — with only 7.8% of city space devoted to parks. With urban sprawl the way it is out here, it can be tough to find places to squeeze greenspace into the grid — but now, a group is working to change that in a new way.

Inspired by a 2006 program in the city of Chicago, USC’s Center for Sustainable Cities is pushing for the creation of a “Green Alleys” subcommittee. After doing some research, they found that there are 900 linear miles of alleyways in L.A. — about half the size of Griffith Park — and that most of them are very rarely used. So why not make them green?

Most other cities that have instated Green Alley programs use them to help reduce stormwater runoff and erosion, and L.A.’s system would do that, as well — but many people are also starting to see the commercial benefit of having pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares away from street traffic. A group of Hollywood businesses is already working to clean and maintain their alleyways, with the hopes of one day making them part of a chain of outdoor dining and business entrances.

A walkable L.A.? Or at least, more walkable sections of L.A.? Sign me up!

Full story at Grist.

Image by Ikhlasul Amal.

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