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Around the country, cities are demolishing stretches of highway, turning them into parks or boulevards.
Los Angeles has an opportunity to do something even more dramatic: to close a piece of elevated freeway to traffic but keep it intact as a huge platform for new open space and housing.
In a single gesture, the city could produce significant parkland and a monument to the ambition that produced the Southern California highway network in the first place.
The stretch I have in mind is the stub end of the 2 Freeway as it bends south and west from Interstate 5 and dips into Silver Lake and Echo Park, two miles or so from downtown Los Angeles.
Is this a freeway? A glorified offramp? In fact, it’s something of a hybrid, wide enough to match the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass but in practice a transitional and vastly overscaled road, slowing drivers as they leave the freeway and rejoin street traffic on Glendale Boulevard.
Though many of those motorists are too busy driving to notice, this stretch of the 2, about a mile long, also snakes through a remarkably beautiful natural landscape, a narrow valley with hills dotted with single-family houses on both sides. […]