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L.A. Parks FAIL in National Ranking, But They're Getting Better

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Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 9:01 AM
click to enlarge HIPSTERS AT GRAND HOPE PARK DOWNTOWN. PHOTO BY TESSIE NAVARRO FOR LA WEEKLY.
  • Hipsters at Grand Hope Park downtown. Photo by Tessie Navarro for LA Weekly.

Los Angeles is a vast city, nearly 500 square miles worth, on the edge of the sea and nestled against a national forest that could swallow some states.

Strangely, however, when it comes to parks, we might as well be New York or Boston. Scratch that: When it comes to parks, New York, Boston. and dozens of other cities outrank L.A. by far, according to the latest ParkScore index:

Yep. In a review of American parks, L.A. ties Wichita, Kansas for 34th place out of 50 cities.

New York comes in second behind winner Minneapolis. Boston ranked third. The ranking is compiled using computer mapping. It weighs access, park size and public services. The top cities:

1. Minneapolis

2. New York

3. Boston (tie)

3. Sacramento (tie)

3. San Francisco (tie)

6. Washington, DC

7. Portland

8 Virginia Beach

9. San Diego

10. Seattle

So why did L.A., with our massive Griffith Park and new Grand Park, rank so low? The Trust for Public Land, which complies the annual list, says it's all about access for Angelenos. According to a statement from the group:

Its score was boosted by high scores for park acreage, with an impressive 16.25 percent of city area dedicated to parkland. However, the city's ParkScore was hurt by below-average marks for park access. Only 52 percent of Angelenos live within a 10-minute walk of a park, compared to the national ParkScore average of 64 percent.

click to enlarge TESSIE NAVARRO FOR LA WEEKLY
  • Tessie Navarro for LA Weekly

L.A. had roughly the same score in last year's ranking. Jodi Delaney, Los Angeles program director for the Trust for Public Land, says local parks need to be "distributed equitably" among all communities in the city:

In the next five years, the successful completion of the city's '50 Parks Initiative' will open dozens of pocket parks in our most underserved areas -- increasing park access for Los Angeles residents ...

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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