Passing the front gates of Universal Studios was pretty much its high point; beyond that, as it ran north for seven miles toward Sun Valley and Interstate 5, Lankershim was a grim parade of gas stations, windowless storage warehouses and rundown motels.
Today, the boulevard is emphatically on the rise, energized by a pair of Red Line subway stops, a rapid-bus route packed with riders and the flourishing North Hollywood Arts District. As Van Nuys Boulevard and other car-dominated routes endure a slow fade from their post-war prominence, the stretch of Lankershim between the Red Line stations now ranks as the most vital north-south corridor in the Valley.
Its ascent makes clear that the hierarchy of Southern California boulevards is being reshuffled by the growth of the region’s bus and rail network.
But there are obstacles in Lankershim’s way, some of which suggest that Los Angeles is struggling to integrate new mass-transit lines into the life of the city — and still turning almost reflexively to outdated planning strategies that bow to the automobile.
Article by Christopher Hawthorne