Who doesn’t like Polka dots?
Whimsical Simplicity. Symmetrical Patterns. Vibrant Colors. Calming Repetition. What’s not to like?
What started as a demonstration project in Silver Lake, Los Angeles looks to become a permanent polka dot fixture. The pilot project was organized through Streets for People (People Street) and Frank Clementi of Rios Clementi Hale Studios in what is currently known as the Sunset Triangle “Polka Dot” Plaza.
The plan was to close off Griffith Park Boulevard and create a green space that would fill in and span from an already existing park space to retail space. The area was an underutilized section of street and filling it in with a natural environment of trees, tables, and paved walkway seemed like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, back in 2012 the design was running up against major cost constraints and lack of funding. Instead of shutting the project down, it went forward, but with a different look than envisioned. Frank Clementi and his team proposed painting the asphalt green with tone on tone polka dots to bring not only green into the environment, but doing it through an artistic expression.
The project has been a great success in closing off traffic and adding tables/chairs, bike corrals, planters, and a basketball hoop. The neighborhood has held summer night movies as well as using the space to expand the weekly farmer’s market in the Plaza.
In 2014 because the plaza was so successful it was made a permanent fixture in Silver Lake. They now have the opportunity to designate the space as a pedestrian mall and can implement trees, and additional greenery that was originally envisioned for the location.
This is a fun and interesting way to calm traffic and an interactive setting for bringing community together. It goes to show that when money may not be easily accessible, other inexpensive ways can always be found. Bravo to the Silver Lake community for sticking to their guns and creating a space for all to enjoy!
Another similar example is a project realized in Chicago. Here the same concept is being used in a slightly different way at the Lincoln/Wellington/Southport intersection. They’ve created polka dot crosswalks that shorten the distance travelled, create community interaction, and emphasize traffic calming.
This is an idea that may be an inspiration for Manchester within the urban corridor. Not only could Hull Street benefit from this idea for traffic calming, but some of the other main streets moving Northeast/Southwest through Manchester could benefit as well.
So who wants to Polka? Polka Dot that is.
If you ask me, it might just be Polka Dot Time!