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Letters: A grander Grand Ave.

November 30, 2013

Re "Gehry's Grand vision," Nov. 25

Finally, finally, perhaps the most interesting piece of undeveloped corner real estate in Los Angeles has a worthy project proposed. It took guts on L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina's part to stand up and demand something better for the site, fighting all the pressure to get a lesser project built.

Bunker Hill, where I live, is a jewel in downtown, a hill of public art, museums, overhead pedways (walkways) and green spaces, all there because the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency made it a "planned" area of development. Much architecture was lost in the doing, but we owe it to all those whose lives were overturned by the redevelopment to make the hill very special for all who come, including schoolchildren, tourists and regular Angelenos.

I'm glad some strong people held out for architect Frank Gehry's bold design. Now we need to tweak it and build it and have a way to get the less able people up the hill from the Metro rail stations below.

Judith Markoff Hansen

Los Angeles

I love Gehry's sweeping architecture — when viewed from a distance. But at ground level, a person immediately feels the sleek sterility. The street around the Walt Disney Concert Hall is a deserted, forbidding, concrete wasteland.

Gehry designed a shopping alcove on Main Street in Santa Monica that is so sterile, hardly anyone sits there despite the ice cream shop.

As someone who yearns for downtown L.A. to get its act together for a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly cultural life, I sorely hope that Gehry and local planners will have the wisdom to design human-scale retail and landscaping at street level. Encouraging street life also requires enabling evolution and variety and not freezing a design. Retailers, for example, should be allowed to design their own unique storefronts. Swaths of uniformity tend to keep pedestrians away.

Finally, install an outdoor escalator from the Metro subway stop up the hill to the Music Center, like in Barcelona.

Nancy Kiang

Irvine

It's regrettable that the Board of Supervisors did not require the older portion of the Music Center, which sits across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, to be incorporated into the planning and redesign of the Grand Avenue arts complex.

The former new kid on the block will now become the outcast stepchild.

Toby Horn

Los Angeles

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