What is the Play Streets program?

Play Streets is a pilot program that enables Angelenos to temporarily close down their streets to cars and transform them into places for play, learning, and fun for all ages!

Play Streets Pilot Program

The Play Streets program is in a pilot stage, which simply means we’re testing it out to see what the possibilities are and exploring how it could work if it became a permanent city-wide program in the city of Los Angeles. 

Since 2015, we’ve been engaging play “experts”—the children and families of LA— in designing a program that is uniquely-LA. For the pilot, we will do 10 -15 “test” events in the areas of the city that need park space the most, places where people can’t walk out their door and easily get to a park. These test events will help us work out all the kinks of the program and learn how a potential permanent program could be most successful for our city. 

Play Streets Program Goal

The Los Angeles Play Streets Program supports residents in transforming their streets into places for play. These Play Streets improve:

  • Public health
  • Neighborhood safety
  • Community Connections
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History of Play Streets

People of all ages have been playing in the street since, well, there were streets! It wasn’t until 1914 that the City of New York launched the first official Play Streets Program to make playing in the street a safe and fun activity. We’re looking to breathe new life into that same old-fashioned fun here in Los Angeles through the Play Streets Program. 

In 2015, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) looked to bring Play Streets to Los Angeles. In partnership with LADOT and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative, Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), a local, non-profit community development and design organization, implemented a pilot program. That same year this team began to test the possibilities for playing in the street in Los Angeles.

The first phase of the Play Streets Pilot Program helped residents temporarily transform Los Angeles City streets into places for play, learning, and fun for all ages. KDI hosted play streets demonstration events in five neighborhoods across the city with limited access to parks, including South Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Watts, Pacoima, and Koreatown. Over 700 Angelenos experienced having their streets transformed into Play Streets. Now we’re inviting you to help us continue to refine the program.

Click here to view our Play Streets Phase One Report

Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative have partnered with the non-profit Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) to create the Los Angeles Play Streets Program. Mayor Garcetti and LADOT are committed to ensuring all Angelenos live in safe, vibrant, well-connected, and healthy communities as a fundamental livability issue for LA. Recognizing that safe streets and public spaces can form the heart of thriving neighborhoods; the City is committed to making sure these benefits are shared city-wide.

KDI

Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) is a non-profit design and community development organization, that partners with under-resourced communities in the US and Africa to physically transform communities and in the process, improve environmental, economic, and social quality of life.

LADOT

LADOT leads transportation planning, design, construction, maintenance and operations in the City of Los Angeles to provide safe, accessible transportation services and infrastructure.

Great Streets

Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the Great Streets Initiative to help re-imagine neighborhood centers, one main street at a time. The Initiative coordinates city resources, builds partnerships with communities and leverages additional resources needed to bring great streets to all of Los Angeles.

Play Streets and Other Streets

In Los Angeles, where residents experience a dearth of accessible and safe public space, the 7,500 miles that make up our street network is the largest public space in the city. The City of Los Angeles hosts a number of programs that work together to advance the design and use of our streets beyond simply moving people, and instead, transform them into places that support a thriving economy, connected community, and expansive culture.  

 

 

Great Streets Challenge

Administered by the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative and the Department of City Planning, the Great Streets Challenge offers grants and technical assistance to community partners to assist them with the visioning process to redesign their streets into safe and vibrant public spaces through temporary demonstration projects and implementable streetscape improvements.

CicLAvia

Initiated in 2010, CicLAvia (a 501c3 non-profit) creates new, temporary public spaces by removing cars for one-day open street events. CicLAvia encourages active transportation by opening up these now car-free streets to non-motorized transit for pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, and more. Implemented quarterly, CicLAvia connects residents throughout Los Angeles via multi-mile, continuous open streets.

The Vision Zero


The Vision Zero initiative is a commitment from the City of Los Angeles to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025. Vision Zero brings together city departments, community organizations, advocates, public health experts, and other policymakers to work together towards creating safer streets. Vision Zero projects focus on protecting our most vulnerable road users, including children, older adults, and people walking and bicycling.

People St

People St is an application-based program available to community partners to transform underused city streets into active, vibrant, and accessible public space. Three innovative types of projects are available: Plazas, Parklets, and Bicycle Corrals.