June 23, 2014

How can we make this underpass better?

This is Westwood Boulevard where Interstate 10 passes over. How can we make this less of a dead zone and more of a community asset? I know there's a movement to remove freeways and replace them with boulevards, but that's not a practical reality for this freeway right now. So we're stuck with underpasses like this one. Just beyond this image is tree-lined Westwood and it is about a five minute walk from the under construction Metro Expo Line.  Murals and lighting have been tried in other places, but what else could be done to mitigate the inhospitable nature of this place? I'm wondering if vertical elements that mimic the trees further up could be part of the solution. They did something like that where the 10 passes over Pico Boulevard. They could provide additional lighting at night and also function to create a buffer between pedestrians and traffic. Bright paint could help as well. Or perhaps a decorative signs announcing the entry to the neighborhood. I wasn't able to find anything beyond artistic lighting and murals online. Have people just accepted that freeway underpasses are ugly and there's not much to be done? Maybe my Google search skills are lacking. 

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