LOS ANGELES, CA – August 22, 2023 – Dangerous driving and traffic congestion would be curbed in historic Sawtelle Corridor through an ambitious plan focused on pedestrian safety and preserving the neighborhood’s cultural integrity, the Lamar Johnson Collaborative announced today.
The Sawtelle Japantown neighborhood in West Los Angeles boasts a century-long rich history. While adorned with charming restaurants and chic boutiques, Sawtelle Boulevard has regrettably turned perilous, with recent instances of pedestrians falling victim to car accidents. Displaying their commitment, the LJC team engaged in this project on a pro-bono basis, collaborating with the West Los Angeles Sawtelle Neighborhood Council. Together, they are embarking on a mission to re-envsion two city blocks along Sawtelle Boulevard into an exceptionally extraordinary remarkable destination.
David Swartz FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP, NCARB, a Principal with LJC in the Los Angeles Office, is an elected Board Member for the City of Los Angeles West LA Sawtelle Neighborhood Council, representing the Southeast District. Swartz has taken notice of the urgent need for revitalization of Sawtelle Boulevard. Additionally, he has blogged about the issue to his audience of 30,000+ LinkedIn followers. Inspired by a recent article in the LA Times suggesting that Sawtelle Boulevard should consider transforming into a pedestrian street similar to Santa Monica’s iconic Third St. Promenade, LJC and the Neighborhood Council have joined forces to create a proposal that aims to make Sawtelle Boulevard safer for pedestrians and a cultural gem for the entire city community.
“My affinity for this historic neighborhood as a resident who frequents the area only increases my drive to see these critical issues addressed,” Swartz said. “I believe LJC—which is working pro bono on this project—and the community can work together to address these concerncs and create a safe and efficient public way while preserving Sawtelle’s integrity and charm.”
LJC’s plan for the corridor includes a comprehensive approach to simplify vehicular and pedestrian circulation. By optimizing traffic flow and reducing congestion, the neighborhood will be safer and more efficient for all. The project aims to enhance the neighborhood’s infrastructure, such as the sidewalks, landscaping, lighting, and bike parking. The addition of terraced seating and comfortable site furnishings will help make the neighborhood more lively and dynamic, providing a better experience for all residents and visitors.
Moreover, LJC has collaborated closely with the Neighborhood Council to reimagine a two-block corridor that addresses multiple community concerns. Their primary focus has been on creating an inviting outdoor environment that is both safe and engaging for pedestrians. This approach involves the development of additional outdoor dining spaces, the establishment of a community garden, and the creation of a unique identity for Jack Fujimoto Square at the intersection of Sawtelle and Mississippi.
The innovative two-block corridor renovation project proposed by LJC represents a critical step towards elevating the Sawtelle Japantown neighborhood into a world-class destination. By addressing issues related to business engagement, infrastructure, and circulation, LJC hopes to elevate the community’s quality of life while establishing the area as a cultural gem and essential destination for the entire City community.
Sawtelle Japantown is a vibrant and diverse community with plenty of highlights to offer. Its pedestrian-friendly atmosphere invites residents and visitors alike to leave their cars behind and enjoy the culinary delights on offer. With its proximity to the 405 freeway, Westwood, Century City, Santa Monica, and the Olympic Boulevard tech corridor, Sawtelle is a sought-after location for UCLA students and employees, start-up workers, and creative types.
However, Sawtelle also faces challenges as it undergoes a building boom that is changing its character. Many of the Craftsman bungalows from Sawtelle’s early days are being demolished to make way for large mixed-use developments and mid-rise condominiums, transforming the neighborhood’s landscape.
“It is essential to preserve the rich history of Sawtelle while embracing the changes that will make it a safer and more vibrant community,” Swartz said. “With the help of the Sawtelle community and its stakeholders, we can generate the momentum needed to move this pro bono project forward and pave the way for a brighter future for the neighborhood. By working together, and ensuring the voices of our residents are heard and that their input and feedback are taken into account, we can make a real difference enhancing this cultural gem and essential destination for our community.”
Lamar Johnson Collaborative (LJC) is the full-service design and architecture arm of Clayco and is committed to enhancing the quality of the human experience and to improving how design and architecture can impact each individual’s emotional being. By harnessing the power of integrated design—including architecture, workplace strategy, interior design, landscape architecture, urban planning and engineering—the company achieves its clients’ goals and aspirations. For more information, visit www.theljc.com.