Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

A Larchmont Central Park(let)? Neighborhood Input Sought for Concept

LARCHMONT CENTRAL PARK(LET) for the Boulevard is a concept being floated for public feedback. The idea is to provide permanent seating and dining areas for shoppers and take-out food establishment customers. Renderings by JMS Design Associates

Editor’s note: We are posting this article at the request of our colleagues at the Larchmont Chronicle who are spearheading this effort with our colleagues at the Larchmont Boulevard Association. As one of the leaders of the Larchmont 2021 Community Conversations, we love the idea of community brainstorming and hope Buzz readers will engage in this conversation. We hope there will be several community forums to further the discussion and brainstorm more ideas about beautification and other improvements on Larchmont Blvd. You can count on us to advocate for that, to participate, and to keep you posted on details.

For years, there have been discussions about the future of Larchmont Boulevard and improving landscape and customer amenities. A stimulus for a renewed focus on this question was the 2020–2021 COVID-19 pandemic, which brought temporary outdoor dining platforms to replace some of the angle parking spaces up and down the Boulevard, between First Street and Beverly Boulevard.

Called ”parklets” by some people, these dining platforms really were just private acquisitions of public space for adjoining private businesses, and they were a welcome necessity when regulations prohibited eating indoors at restaurants and parking demand on Larchmont was greatly reduced because most retail stores were closed.

But permanently expanding space for outdoor dining — to serve all Larchmont businesses, including takeout food establishments that are not allowed to have their own tables and chairs — was an idea that has kept percolating. It was one of the many ideas discussed in the Larchmont 2021 Community Conversations convened by the Larchmont Boulevard Association (LBA) and overseen by local residents John Kaliski, Patty Lombard, Heather Duffy Boylston and Gary Gilbert.

A SINGLE PARALLEL parking spot between the “in” and “out” driveways of the city surface parking lot would be claimed as a seating and dining area surrounding the existing large ficus tree.

A concept for comment
Now, the LBA has received some concept renderings that it wants to share with neighbors, shoppers and others to learn their reactions to an idea. That idea is to permanently take one parallel parking space along the Larchmont curb, between the driveways going in and out of the city surface parking lot on the west side of the Boulevard, and to incorporate that (plus two existing angle parking spaces behind the clock and flagpole) into an attractive gathering place with seats and tables, including standup tables.

The concept drawings, created just to stimulate discussion and feedback, also anticipate improving with seating and dining tables the two current planter beds on the north and south ends of the parking lot adjoining the sidewalk. The conceived improvements at those two locations are triangular shaped and do not require the loss of any adjacent parking spaces in the city lot.

FARMERS MARKET representatives say that a proposed improvement like the Larchmont Central Park(let) would be helpful to the market and its vendors. It would provide a place for market shoppers to sit and even consume market purchases.

Farmers market
A recent LBA board of directors discussion also emphasized that any possible “Larchmont Central Park (let)” must be complementary to, and not be competitive with, the Sunday and Wednesday farmers markets on the city surface parking lot. Melissa Farwell, a representative of the farmers market’s organizer, and also a member of the LBA board, said that her company supports this parklet idea because it will be helpful to the market and its vendors. It will provide a place for market shoppers to sit and even consume market purchases. By slightly extending the line of a few vendor tents along the curb lane to the south, there will be no reduction in the number of market vendors on Sundays. “Everybody will benefit if this sort of parklet improvement can be made at the city parking lot,” concluded Farwell.

ADDITIONAL SEATING can be added at the north and south without taking any parking spaces because of the existing angle parking. In the center, the new public pedestrian space would surround the existing flagpole and Wilshire Rotary clock.

Street furniture
Romi Cortier, also an LBA board member and head of the association’s Beautification Committee, even has been contemplating doing a test case installation to get community feedback about replacing the existing, old benches on the Boulevard. Keep your eyes open, something may happen soon.

Cortier also says, of the concept of having a more unified look for the street, “It may reduce the demand of businesses to put their al fresco dining spaces in our parking areas. If we create an environment where seating is plentiful, then it might also allow us to ask ‘grab and go’ businesses to surrender those parking spaces.”
Community support

Participating with the LBA in coming up with the concept sketches for sharing with the community was the Windsor Square Association (WSA). The WSA underwrote the cost of producing the concept drawings. Jeffrey Smith and his team at JMS Design Associates, a landscape architecture firm active locally, came up with the drawings to stimulate public discussion of the parklet concept and preliminary landscape design approaches.
One of us writers of this article (both LBA board members) saw a similar parklet improvement in Sonoma County’s town of Healdsburg last summer. Attractive spaces for sitting and dining have been created, adjacent to the curbs and sidewalks, on local streets in that town.

Just concepts!
LBA board members emphasize that these images were created just to stimulate discussion. “If we see a wellspring of community support for exploring the matter further,” says LBA president John Winther, “the LBA will solicit specific suggestions (such as what vine might go on a dividing low slump stone wall, or what species tree might be added for additional shade, or what color should be the paint on the street furniture or whatever).” He adds that, “With community ideas in hand, the association would work with the landscape architects to come up with more refined drawings that could be priced and presented to potential city partners and private donors to see what might be done to actually install a Larchmont Central Park(let).”

If you readers have comments or suggestions, please email them to Mr. Cortier at [email protected].

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE of reclaiming bits of the street for public seating and dining comes from the town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County wine country. (photo from John Welborne)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
John Welborne
John Welborne
John Welborne is the owner and publisher of the Larchmont Chronicle. A native Angeleno and lifelong resident of Windsor Square, Welborne took over from founder Jane Gilman in 2015.

Related Articles


  1. Bravo, looking forward to seeing ideas like parklets & street furniture, They did some small parklets on Western Ave. South of Beverly, believe 1st & Western. Creative ways to make the Ave and the Blvd more user friendly. Larchmont is a destination visitors drive or walk to – to walk, shop and dine.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest Articles

.printfriendly { padding: 0 0 60px 50px; }