Cooler LA Streets with Trees, Cooler Pavements & More

Mayor Eric Garcetti today launched Cool Streets LA, a new program to confront the effects of climate change at the neighborhood level.

“Rising temperatures put our local communities on the front lines of the climate crisis,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Cool Streets LA is about taking

action in ways that will make a real and direct impact on people’s daily lives.”

Cool Streets LA is designed to advance the goals of Mayor Garcetti’s Green New Deal by piloting six cool neighborhood projects in vulnerable communities by 2021 and ten by 2025. The initiative will also help achieve two more key goals in L.A.’s Green New Deal: planting 90,000 trees by 2021 and increasing tree canopy in areas of greatest need by at least 50% by 2028.

The effort by the City’s Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA) combines several cooling strategies to help lower temperatures and add shade in L.A.’s hottest and most vulnerable neighborhoods. Through this program, Angelenos can expect the City to plant new street trees; install cool pavement; build bus benches with shade-structures; expand cool roofs; provide hydration stations; and empower local businesses with energy efficiency rebate services offered through the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The project unveiled today in South L.A. is the first of ten set to be completed by 2025 — and includes 14 new street trees in a single two-block stretch, 35,000 square feet of cool pavement, and 4 bus benches with shade canopies.

“StreetsLA is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all,” said Director of the Bureau of Street Services Adel Hagekhalil. “By implementing holistic, innovative, and coordinated solutions such as applying cool pavement, planting trees, installing transit shelters, and adding hydration stations, we are cooling our communities and making our streets safe, mobile, and resilient.”

Cool Streets LA includes a renewed focus on transit corridors citywide in neighborhoods where residents are more dependent on public transportation. By December 2020, StreetsLA plans to install 750 new bus benches with shade umbrellas adjacent to new or existing street trees.

On top of unveiling the first pilot project, Mayor Garcetti announced a design workshop led by StreetsLA and the Mayor’s Chief Design Officer, Christopher Hawthorne, to develop options for shade structures that can be added to bus benches and easily scaled up in production.

“In an era of climate change, shade has become an equity issue and can even be thought of as a kind of infrastructure,” said Hawthorne. “We’ve always had beautifully shaded streets and sidewalks in parts of Los Angeles. Our goal is to deliver shade more equitably around the city, to make the experience of walking or waiting for the bus or train more comfortable. In the coming weeks, the Mayor’s Office will be supporting this effort by organizing a design workshop to find solutions to provide shade that are both attractive and cost-effective.”

The cooling impacts in Cool Streets LA will enable the City to meet a number of additional goals set forth in Mayor Garcetti’s Green New Deal, such as: reducing urban/rural temperature differential by at least 1.7 degrees by 2025 and 3 degrees by 2035; ensuring every high-volume transit stop has access to cooling features by 2021; and installing cool pavement material on 250 lane miles of the City’s streets.