LA announces winners of Great Street Challenge competition

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Plans for a cultural destination in Thai Town, a safer Crenshaw Corridor, improved public spaces and pop-up street festivals for five other Los Angeles commercial districts moved closer to development Friday after L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the winners of his Great Streets Challenge.

The seven winners will each receive up to $13,000 to help increase foot traffic, along with economic and cultural activities, according to the challenge's website. The mayor selected projects from 37 applications representing 99 partner organizations throughout the city.

You can see the full list of winners here, along with the location and plans for each of the seven proposed projects.

One of the challenge's winners was the environmental justice group Pacoima Beautiful. The group hopes to transform a section of a median in the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard in Panorama City, their planning director Max Podemski told KPCC. 

A site plan for the transformation of a median in the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard in Panorama City. The environmental group Pacoima Beautiful says they hope to put funding from the Great Streets Challenge toward development costs.
A site plan for the transformation of a median in the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard in Panorama City. The environmental group Pacoima Beautiful says they hope to put funding from the Great Streets Challenge toward development costs. Courtesy of Pacoima Beautiful

"We thought that would be a great place to introduce a pedestrian island that could also function as a public space for people to gather, and also slow down traffic and create more of a human-scaled street," he said. 

But the winnings from the Great Streets Challenge will probably not be enough to completely rebuild the curb and put in a new sidewalk, Podemski said in an email, adding that his organization was now looking at more temporary solutions using planters, removable posts and paint. 

Other winners cheered their victories as a step in the right direction for underdeveloped streets. 

City Councilmember Paul Koretz said in a statement that he was thrilled about the extra funding for the South Robertson Community Foundation's longtime plans to revitalize Robertson Boulevard between Cadillac Avenue and Kincardine Avenue. 

"The grant money will allow us to further our goals of creating, attracting, and providing more community access, reducing commercial vacancies, improving parking while enhancing safety for those by car, foot, transit or bike," he stated.

Garcetti launched the Great Streets Initiative in 2013. The Great Streets Challenge is the latest in a series of safety improvement projects throughout the city, according to the initiative's website.

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