Thursday, May 6, 2010

santa monica boulevard + sepulveda boulevard, westwood

Here's the intersection right around the corner from my house. The office towers proudly call themselves the "Gateway" to "Westwood," but I think of it as the point where the great Beverly Hills Freeway comes to an end, abruptly cutting off its dedicated bike lanes and continuing its auto-frenzied free-for-all to the sea. The buildings, far from being an integrated part of their surrounding urban ecosystem, function as self-contained acrologies right out of Sim City and leave pedestrians to fend for themselves against the river of cars that fight for space in the transition from freeway speeds to the daily bottleneck caused by the entrance to the 405 just ahead. This intersection suffers from the classic Los Angeles problem of being a landmark solely on paper; as a destination, it offers nothing for those walking on the street. Narrowing it reveals its true autocentric nature: the lawns on the left become an absurdist ghost park, and the columns on the right suddenly feel disproportionately huge. Like many places in the city it's a perfect candidate for infill by new retail, something I'm sure the workers in those towering offices would rejoice at. 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.


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