Wednesday, April 14, 2010

reader request: 6th street + spring street, downtown

Thanks to Phillip Estes from Los Angeles County Regional Planning for the location request.

This intersection is a perfect example of that "almost there" feeling I get whenever I visit Downtown: the buildings have the trappings of an old, urban center; there's even foot traffic. The only thing holding it back are the streets, which at five lanes in either direction still allow cars to travel at unreasonable speeds — speeds which effectively prevent easy jaywalking and turn the sidewalks into long, dead alleys. It's an important detail, given the sketchy types that can frequently be encountered when walking in Downtown. Smaller streets provide more "escape" routes and give even sparse foot traffic greater density, mixing normal folks closer in with the crazies, providing a sense of safety in numbers: crazies are fine in my book, as long as they're vastly outnumbered by us normals. But larger streets thin out the crowds and increase approach distances, bringing a sense of dread that gives creepy types time + license to act even creepier. So I got a little ambitious with this rendering, narrowing not just one axis of the street but all four corners to shrink the entire intersection down by 75%. The result is a scene straight out of NYC.

Apologies for the slightly blurry background building — as I was taking the shot I was jarred by a driver who felt the need to honk and yell at me ("What the hell is wrong with you?"), even though it was 8:00am on a Sunday and he had four other completely empty lanes to choose from. Driving indeed brings out the savage child in all of us. See it narrowed!
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About the Photographer

Los Angeles, CA, United States
Writer, designer, and urban planning geek.

Got a location idea or photo submission? Send it to I'll post it to the blog or even run out to shoot it myself.


Other sites by David Yoon
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Kindred Spirits
Tom Baker, LA Without Cars
James Howard Kunstler

Nicola Yoon Design
SIFT Angeles


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