March 2016

Kids practice their new riding skills on the temporary bike lanes in Van Nuys on February 20th at Connect the Dots Great Street event.
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Welcome to the March 2016 edition of Street Talk, the Great Streets Initiative's monthly newsletter! Here, we'll update you on the work happening in our studio and out on the streets. If you're reading this and need more great news in your life, check out our new website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or double-tap us on Instagram.

  • February Challenge Grant event recap
  • Upcoming Great Streets events
  • Introducing a new feature: Councilmember Corner!
See you on the street!

-The Great Streets team

February Challenge Grant Event Recap

Great Streets partnered on four community street festivals this month as part of our Challenge Grant series, where communities applied for funds to re-imagine their streets as public spaces. 
Top row: I Heart [Re]seda (right), Connect the Dots (left)
Bottom row: Street Beats (right), Youth Envisioned Streets (left)

I Heart [Re]seda

On February 6, hundreds of Reseda Boulevard residents and stakeholders came out for "I Heart [RE]seda," the culminating event of the [Re]visit [Re]seda Challenge Grant, which included a poetry slam, art show, live music, food trucks and more activities that got people out on the street enjoying public life. 

Connect the Dots

Challenge Grant event Connect the Dots brought more than 200 people to Van Nuys Boulevard on February 20 for free outdoor design workshops, a street fair with increased pedestrian space and a temporary bike lane, and vacant store fronts activated with art and cultural activities.

Street Beats

Also on February 20, the Street Beats Challenge Grant event transformed the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Florence Avenue with interactive musical instruments, temporary painted curb extensions, and a pedestrian scramble that protected about 500 pedestrians crossing in every direction while all cars were held.

Youth Envisioned Streets

Last weekend, the Challenge Grant team Youth Envisioned Streets (YES) held their event in conjunction with the annual Health and Garden Expo. Over 1,500 community members attended the event where community members could sample healthy foods, learn how to prepare healthy meals, and re-envisioned how to make Central Ave a healthier, more vibrant corridor. 

Upcoming Great Streets Events

We have three more events left in our Challenge Grant series! If you haven't attended one yet, March is your last chance to check out these amazing street experiences. Our remaining Challenge Grant teams have been hard at work conducting outreach and gearing up for their events. If you are interested in helping out with any of the events, please contact us at

Pacoima Street Values

Van Nuys Blvd - Pacoima
March 6, 2016
Pacoima Street Values is all about celebrating the existing street activity happening on Van Nuys Boulevard, and local "DIY" placemaking efforts to make this section of Pacoima compatible for the way the community is using it. Join us at the March 6 CicLAvia to celebrate these new public spaces. To find out more click here! Also on that day, join us and the Urban Land Institute | Los Angeles for a "pop-up parklet" and health expo at Pacoima City Hall from 10AM - 3PM.

Nuestra Avenida 

Cesar Chavez Ave - Boyle Heights
March 12, 2016
Nuestra Avenida will engage the Boyle Heights community in envisioning what their Great Street could be and should be. The event will host a series of sidewalk charrettes, where participants will utilize hands on materials to visualize possible configurations for how people can travel to and through Cesar Chavez Ave on foot, bike and transit. Find out more here!

Fig Jam 

North Figueroa Street in Highland Park
March 19, 2016
Fig Jam will bring neighbors together in the streets, businesses, and public spaces of Highland Park for this free one-day event. Reimagine North Figueroa Street by drawing attention to its rich past, recognizing its vibrant present, and sparking interest in its promising future. Find out more here!


In an effort to help create the visual language that invites people to engage in public spaces, Great Streets is teaming up with the Noun Project and the Goldhirsh Foundation to host a Great Streets Iconathon around the topic of livable communities. The goal of this workshop is to create a set of internationally recognizable icons that will help increase communication around streets as the centerpieces of our communities.

The Iconathon is free to attend but space is limited, please RSVP here

Councilmember Corner:
Councilwoman Nury Martinez

Council District 6

In 2013 Nury Martinez became the second Latina in over 25 years and the only woman elected out of 18 Los Angeles city offices when she became Councilmember of the 6th District in the San Fernando Valley. Prior to her current seat, she has also served on the Los Angeles Unified School Board and as the Executive Director of non-profit Pacoima Beautiful. Nury is a graduate of San Fernando High School and California State University at Northridge.

Q: What are three things that make a street great to you?

A: Great streets are those that user-friendly for the people who live in the community. Things like the ability for mothers and families to be able to maneuver on foot and with strollers makes a great street. If a street is as safe as possible for families, it's a great street. A great street should promote the best of our community - from small business to safe community gathering places - they should promote a community.

Q: What upcoming projects are you most excited about, and in what way will this contribute to your district?

A: I'm really excited to transform Van Nuys Blvd., and bring economic development to the area. Additionally, it will help transit riders get from places in the Northern Valley to jobs in the South. There are a lot of residents in CD 6 who are transit-dependent and I want to ensure they have the ability to get to and from their jobs safely, comfortably and in the most efficient way possible. My father never drove a car, and always rode the bus to his job in Sherman Oaks from our home in Pacoima. I understand how important a good transit system is for families in my district. 

Q: As this is Women's History Month, can you speak of what inspired you to pursue your Council District seat when there has been such a male-dominated precedent, and how do you hope to inspire other women to push the boundary?

A: My parents always encouraged me to go after what I wanted, and I wanted to be a member of the Los Angeles City Council to help fight for my district. It didn't hit me, really, until I got here that I was the only woman. When I walked up to my City Council chair and looked around, it became real - I was the only woman. We've had many great women serve on the City Council before, but right now I'm alone. That needs to change. However, it's important our women know that they can dream big - and I hope my presence here lets them know that women have a place on the Los Angeles City Council. I hope more women are inspired to enter public service. Ultimately, my job is to fight for the families that live in my district, and as a mother, I bring a unique perspective to that job that none of my colleagues share. 

Q: How would you spend a day on your district's Great Street, Van Nuys Blvd. (i.e. where will you eat, window shop, hang out)?

A: I really want to revitalize the Van Nuys Blvd. corridor. I want to bring back a commercial district that inspires walkability. I want to see an arts center. An ideal day for me on Van Nuys Blvd. would involve taking my daughter out for some shopping - and being able to walk from store to store, and having a few fun places to eat along the way. But most importantly, we wouldn't be alone, because the street would attract others like us, and a sense of community would build up and encourage others to enjoy the walkability of the street as well.

Q: In what way will the upcoming CicLAvia (March 6) address your vision, goals, and priorities for the 6th district?

A: I'm really excited to welcome CicLAvia back to the Valley and into the Sixth District! I hope people see some of the amazing things that make my district great: our vibrant communities, the wonderful people and neighborhoods. We'll also have the opportunity to show the community that there are alternatives to the car. For one day, we'll emphasize that it's good to get out and enjoy a more walkable and bikeable neighborhood. I fully embrace CicLAvia's goal of bringing the community and activate transportation together for one fun filled day. 
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