Restoring Angled Parking on Eagle Rock Boulevard

I’m not typically a proponent for adding parking capacity in Eagle Rock however I have recently thought of a situation which could please those who seek more car parking and those looking for a more pleasant pedestrian environment in downtown Eagle Rock– restoring diagonal parking on the block of Eagle Rock Boulevard between Merton Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.

Historic picture of Eagle Rock Boulevard between Colorado Boulevard and Merton Avenue with diagonal parking (and pedestrian oriented street lighting). Image credit: Eagle Rock by Eric Warren

Below’s an overhead view of the same block of Eagle Rock Boulevard today, with largely the same historic buildings seen in the first picture.

This is where Eagle Rock Boulevard is at its widest. Just a few blocks before the street is only 2 lanes with curbside parking and a center turning lane– here the block has 2 left turning lanes, one through lane, and one wide right turning lane and curbside parking.

That’s an awful lot of space dedicated to having cars zoom through the community and miss all the local businesses on the block inhabiting beautiful historic buildings. Additionally, the sidewalk experience is rather unpleasant for a pedestrian. Trying to cross the wide street with fast moving cars or enjoy outdoor seating at Swork – the cafe that anchors the corner of this block where it intersects with Colorado Boulevard – the experience just isn’t all that nice.

It seems that this portion of Eagle Rock Boulevard, in it’s current configuration, is more conducive for funneling cars than attracting potential customers and encouraging people to pop into the local businesses. Given how excessively wide this portion of Eagle Rock Boulevard is (approximately 50 feet northbound with the 2 left turning lanes, and 40 feet along the brief portion when it is three lanes and curbside parking) there’s a lot of room for creative solutions to  generating foot traffic, slowing down the street, and attracting potential customers. As suggested at the beginning of this post, one solution could be to restore diagonal parking that once existing along this block but also utilize the ends of the blocks, where parking is currently not allowed, to create sidewalk extensions. This would presumably only require the removal of one northbound lane, leaving 3 lanes in addition to the parking.

Below is a rough interpretation of the idea.

The green shapes at the ends of the block represent sidewalk extensions. Not only would these sidewalk extensions shorten crossing distance for pedestrians, it would make outdoor seating at Swork more pleasant by buffering the outdoor seating from the motor vehicles and allowing for calmer, quieter experience. The blue lines represent delineated diagonal parking spaces, which would increase the number of parking spaces along the block.

It’s uncertain how feasible this solution is from an engineering standpoint though one would assume that with enough funding coupled with political and community will, it could happen. And who knows, maybe it would make the block safer, more vibrant, and enjoyable than it is today while benefitting the adjacent businesses.

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14 thoughts on “Restoring Angled Parking on Eagle Rock Boulevard

  1. One small suggestion that would dramatically improve safety.

    Traditional head-in angled parking creates a significant hazard for both cyclists and motorists as views of street traffic are often blocked for motorists backing out of parking spaces — especially for cyclists, who ride closer to parked cars and offer a smaller less visible profile.

    However, this can be eliminated entirely by angling parking in the opposite direction, requiring drivers to back into parking spaces. As a result, their cars will face forward when they pull out of the parking space, providing a clear view of every road user and potential hazard.

    Some drivers have complained that back-in parking forces following traffic to come to a full stop in order for the lead driver to back into a space. However, that is balanced out by the fact that drivers will no longer have to come to a full stop to allow a driver to back out of a parking space.

  2. YES! YES! We have been proponents of this for many years. Diagonal spaces increase parking spaces by approximately 33%, as well as functioning as de facto traffic slowers. Larchmont Village is a good example. Those who argue that traffic on Colorado would be severely impacted are not considering that a considerable percentage of the traffic on Colorado are using it as an alternative to the 134, and are not, in fact, cars whose drivers reside in Eagle Rock. So many of us who live here would love a more pedestrian-friendly experience, and safer crosswalks as well.

    • Thanks for the comment, I personally do not favor angled parking on Colorado Boulevard as it would require narrowing of the median according to the LA Department of Transportation but I do favor angled parking on this block of Eagle Rock Boulevard where it seems excessively wide with 2 left turning lanes, 1 through lane, 1 right turning lane AND curbside parking whereas the majority of Eagle Rock Boulevard is considerably narrower.

      • Narrowing the median would mean less water costs to keep the grass green. The median looked terrible last year with brown grass because it wasn’t watered anyway and was not maintained very well either. Narrow the median, reverse angled parking and a bike lane. I am a business owner on Colorado Boulevard, I want more parking and when my customers can I want them to ride their bike to see me.

      • I think your idea captures something that would really please everyone, Rick. I do believe however that rather than waiting years to identify sources of funding to create such an ideal street design that we need incremental or even temporary phases to tame Colorado Boulevard.

        As for the median, my understanding is that there’s a median task force which is looking to make the median more drought tolerant by replacing the grass with attractive, native vegetation.

  3. Anyone attending last night’s (6/5)Take Back The Boulevard meeting heard that $2.875 million was going to be spent to convert a vacant lot at York and Ave. 50 into a small park, which is lovely, but our planning firm staff were doubtful about being able to spend any money on new crosswalks with traffic signals on the “Colorado Boulevard Freeway,” which could actually save lives. I’d like to hear how others are feeling about TBTB.

    • I attended the meeting – and spoke – and my understanding is that traffic signals are quite expensive. In Long Beach a separated bike lane was added to reduce the city’s Broadway from 3 to 2 lanes, the project cost about $800,000 and about 90% of the project’s construction cost went to installing bike signals. This was only adding signals to existing poles at intersections. I can imagine that adding new signals altogether, utility pole and all would be more expensive with no clear source of funding.

      Fortunately, there IS funding to provide bike lanes if the Environmental Impact Review proves that the removal of one lane will not significantly impact flow of motorized traffic. And compared to traffic signals, bike lanes are cheap to install and have a more consistent slowing effect on travel than adding one signal.

      It is my hope that if residents of Eagle Rock truly wish to see a calmer Colorado Boulevard immediately, that they’ll embrace adding a bike lane, if only as a temporary measure (for the next few years) until sources of funding for other projects are identified. Personally, I left the meeting feeling quite optimistic.

  4. I look forward to the bike lanes, too, I was just struck by the availability of nearly $3 million for a small park on York vs. any serious-sounding money for the much larger, more complicated, and very important project of making Eagle Rock’s main artery less dangerous and more attractive.

  5. The funding for the park came from voter-approved Prop. 84 funds for urban greening – nothing to do with transportation. But what about the $430,000 that’s going to be spent on the ‘sinkhole’ between Fig and Ave 64?

  6. Added info – you are assuming that the spaces will be used by standard sized vehicles. When a UPS truck and extended wheelbase trucks park in angles spots, they extend further into the traffic lane. Also red curbs north of the Merton corner would have to be lengthened, as cars making right turns onto Eagle Rock Blvd need more room to swing around the first parked car and merge into the lane. Angle parking will slow traffic and cause stappages when larger vehicles reverse into the driving lane, but as is the case on Colorado, with proper red curb installations for sidestreet ingress and egress, plus bus zone and fire hydrant red curb, you may actually be losing parking spaces on the whole.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Jeff. This is by no means an exhaustive, analytical post. My intention is to demonstrate that streets needn’t only serve as utilitarian traffic sewers. Streets can be more pleasant and be configured in a variety of ways when the primary purpose stops being funneling motor vehicles through as quickly as possible. I understand there are a lot of elements to examine like the things you mention, you might appreciate though I only marked diagonal parking where there wasn’t red curb in my google map drawing– I was aware of red curb.

  7. Pingback: Walk Eagle Rock in 2012 « Walk Eagle Rock

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