Imagine if LA’s 2 Freeway ended in a colored, eco-smart park

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Imagine if LA's 2 Freeway ended in a colored, eco-smart park
Stoss Landscape Urbanism’s proposal for the 2 Freeway spur includes paths for pedestrians and bicyclists and a rain capture system / © Chris Reed

There are two ways you can look at the long spur of the 2 Freeway as it runs south from the 5 Freeway and descends into Silver Lake and Echo Park.

You can see it as the abandoned beginning of a long-planned connection between the 5 and the 101, shaking your fist at the frustrating gaps that remain in the L.A. freeway network.

Or you can argue that because Los Angeles is simply no longer in the freeway-building business — meaning that gap is virtually certain never to be filled — the mile-long stretch of road is better understood as the potential platform for a new kind of green space in a park-starved city.

As I made clear last year, in a series of articles on reimagining the L.A. freeway for the 21st century, I am firmly in the second camp.

So is Chris Reed, a landscape architect and associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. With his firm, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, he has taken my suggestion about the freeway stub and run with it.

Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say he’s watched over the seed I planted and coaxed it into something with a life of its own. His proposal for turning that part of the freeway into an elevated park is a sort of fantasia — in shades of orange and fuchsia — on the classic Los Angeles themes of water, sunshine and the infrastructural sublime. […]