Larchmont ’21 conversations continue

| July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

PARKLETS may be a streetscape tool useful on Larchmont. The one shown here is in San Francisco. Photo by Mark Hogan

Last month, the Larchmont 2021 group hosted its second of three planned “community conversations” about the future of Larchmont Boulevard. The first event, hosted June 28, was focused on retail trends, while the July 12 meeting topic was “Main Street Placemaking,” or how to enhance a street to meet the needs of its neighboring community.

The Larchmont Boulevard Association (LBA) is spearheading the effort through its Larchmont 2021 Committee, headed by LBA board member Patty Lombard, who opened last month’s meeting and welcomed Windsor Village resident John Kaliski as the event’s moderator.

Kaliski, who is an architect and urban designer, said that the goal of the meeting was to “explore means, especially short-term, to support existing — and foster new — neighborhood-oriented retail and enhance Larchmont Village.” To learn more about best practices and improvement ideas, Kaliski welcomed two guests, Howard Blackson, a San Diego-based urban designer with specific expertise in neighborhood development and advocacy, and Lindsey Wallace, director of strategic projects and design services for the Main Street America Institute.

Blackson told meeting participants about how mixed-use development, a technique popular over the past decade, has helped to energize today’s streets with a variety of uses, such as vehicle traffic, parking, bus stops, parklets, food trucks and more. But with the pandemic, and the need for more outdoor space, a new trend of “curbside management” emerged. Blackson said that residents should keep three things in mind as they consider changes for Larchmont: Design at the neighborhood scale, and think about loss of street parking as an opportunity to gain other kinds of spaces; Design for time, not speed, as people spend more money if they’re encouraged to stay longer; and change the “first come, first served” attitude about parking. According to Blackman, building for social and cultural value will always translate into economic value, but that the reverse does not always work out.

Wallace, who was speaking from Chicago, told the group that the pandemic has created a great “opportunity phase” as the economy reopens.

As an example of two kinds of streetscape tools that could be useful on Larchmont, Wallace highlighted “parklets” and “pedlets.” A parklet is a small space adjacent to or actually in the street space, to be used for dining, seating or just gathering. A pedlet is an extension of pedestrian space into the street, allowing more space on the sidewalk to be used for dining, retail or other purposes. Wallace explained that cities that have studied the impact of parklets and pedlets have found that economic benefits far outweigh the cost of the lost parking spaces they replace.

To watch a recording of the two-hour meeting, visit

Third session July 26

The final planned conversation, a “Community Listening Session,” was scheduled for July 26 at 7 p.m., a date that falls after deadline for this issue. However, organizers tell the Chronicle that the online and recorded meeting will build off of the two previous sessions with the opportunity for community stakeholders to ask questions and share ideas.

Visit for more information.

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