Social List Increases Retro Row’s Outdoor Dining Options, Safety with Upcoming Bulb Out and Crosswalks

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Renderings courtesy of Studio One Eleven.

I’ve talked about outdoor dining being key for two things: fulfilling our brunch desires and, through the outdoor dining development trend of parklets, creating safer streets and better usage of public real estate. In this sense, DTLB is killin’ it.

(And this after I had just recently lauded the massive parklet installed on 4th just east of Pine. And the parklets popping up in other places in DTLB. And long ago, the parklets along Retro Row.)

Speaking of Retro Row, the famed stretch in Alamitos Beach is looking to up their parklet game—well, bulb-out game, technically—while also increasing pedestrian safety along 4th Street.

After becoming home to the city’s second parklet at Lola’s, owner Luis Navarro has partnered with Studio One Eleven to create an extensive bulb-out, much like the one at Ellie’s, on the northeast corner of 4th and St. Louis for his gastropub The Social List.

Parklets originated out of take-overs of parking spaces along sidewalks to increase space for pedestrians, often built on pedestal foundations that could quickly be assembled and disassembled (think Park(ing) Day) and are flush with the curb. The overall philosophy is that space belongs properly to humans more than cars.

Technically speaking, The Social List’s setup is not really a streetdeck or parklet, but a bulb-out or an actual extension of the curb. Bulb-outs require not only design but engineering and building elements different than a parklet, where the foundations are essentially temporary. These permanent bulb-outs not only increase pedestrian accessibility but safety as well—and The Social List simultaneously gets to enjoy the benefit of increased seating.

 

The move marks a growing believe in “tactical urbanism”—a term often used by Principal and Director of Design at Studio One Eleven Michael Bohn—which is essentially urban design that is cost-effective and quick without losing aesthetic quality or utility.

“We’re pushing the sustainability front in the public realm,” said Bohn. “We want to make immediate improvements to areas that may not have the resources to do so for themselves. We’re taking streets, leveraging them for multiple uses, but more importantly, we’re energizing areas and creating places.”

On top of that, the intersection will finally receive some much needed crosswalk markings, one heading across 4th Street and another crossing St. Louis. Anyone with experience along the stretch of shops and restaurants notices one particular danger: the impulsiveness of those wishing to cross the street wherever they can and the onslaught of angry drivers using the arterial as a passthrough.

In other words, this project is a win-win.

The Social List is located at 2105 E 4th St.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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