Calling Koreatown one of the densest and most park poor areas in Los Angeles, city officials are proposing to turn the parking lot of Pio Pico-Koreatown Branch Library into a pocket park, and changing the street parking in the area into angled parking to offset the loss in parking. The proposal is currently being reviewed by city officials and a meeting is expected to be held in early 2015 for members of the public to submit comments.
The library, which first opened in 1900 in Pico Heights, moved several times before settling in its current location at 694 S. Oxford Ave., and it was renamed the Pio Pico – Koreatown branch in 1990, according to its website. The 5,000-square-foot facility’s parking lot is located directly in front of the library and includes approximately 55 parking spaces, 3 of which are designated for handicapped parking, according to city documents.
The proposal is being led by City Councilmember and Council President Herb Wesson of the 10th District, which includes Koreatown. In a motion presented to the city council on October 29, Wesson called the 10th District “one of the most park poor, if not, the most park poor district” in the city, and also noted that activists in the Wilshire Center and Koreatown area have been advocating for more green space for decades.
The motion instructed the city’s Library Commission, the Recreation and Parks Commission, and various departments and officers of the city to explore the feasibility of the proposal, which would require the parking lot to be split from the library and transferred from the city’s Department of General Services to the Department of Recreation and Parks. The motion also instructed the Department of Transportation to “examine the viability of angled parking along both Serrano Avenue and Oxford Avenue.”
Peter Persic, Public Relation Director for the Los Angeles Public Library, said that the proposal was very preliminary at this point. He said that there were many issues for the various departments to work through, and it is difficult to say how long the review and planning process will take.
Kristina Morita, Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Public Library, said that the proposal will most likely be put before the Board of Library Commissioners in January of next year. She said that they will also hold a meeting at Pio Pico Library where members of the public will be able to comment on the proposal.
Caroline Sim, Board member of the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council, said that she opposed the proposal because of the small size of the lot and because of the reduction in parking.
“There is barely enough parking as is, and we need [Council District 10] to spend some real dough on building a real park,” she stated in an email.