The sight of tuk-tuks, the sound of traditional Thai music and the flavor of fried desserts transformed Hollywood Boulevard in Thai Town into a vibrant outdoor Bangkok-style bazaar atmosphere on Saturday, September 23 as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s L.A. Great Streets program.
The event, billed as a “Pop-Up/Demo Lab,” organized by the Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC) in conjunction with the L.A. Mayor’s Office, was designed to activate Thailand Plaza and the surrounding streetscape into a pedestrian-friendly public space intended to spur engagement towards implementing a vision for the business corridor as a cultural destination.
The unused retail stalls in front of Thailand Plaza functioned as activity centers, featuring a Thai dessert vendor, a temporary Los Angeles Police Department substation, travel information by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and stages for Thai music and dance performances. The venue also hosted the weekly Thai community tradition of giving alms to Buddhist monks from Wat Thai Los Angeles temple in North Hollywood. A temporary “parklet” featuring trees, artificial grass and street furniture, turned street parking spots into public open space during the event. Across the street, and bookended by a pair of iconic Thai motorcycle taxis, or tuk-tuks, on display, Thai paintings were exhibited, health screenings were offered, and food trucks sold Thai and Mexican dishes.
A temporary crosswalk, decorated in a traditional Thai motif design, was installed at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Serrano Avenue in response to the number of people who jaywalk across the street, according to pedestrian counts conducted by Thai CDC staff over the past few months. The organization also surveyed attendees and passers-by with the intent of gauging community feedback for permanent improvements to the streetscape of Thai Town.
“The Thai Town Great Streets Pop-Up/Demo Lab provided Thai CDC with an opportunity to expand upon its creative placemaking efforts for an area that it strives to make into a cultural destination” said Chanchanit Martorell, Thai CDC’s executive director.
In February 2017, Thai CDC was selected as one of eight awardees of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2016 L.A. Great Streets Challenge Grant, which awarded the organization $10,000 to organize the Thai Town Pop-Up/Demo Lab. Thai Town is the only designated ethnic community in Los Angeles named as part of Great Streets program.
Read the report here.