Subtle Signs of Take Back The Boulevard’s Efforts

(In my last post I asked if there was anything specifically I should write about in 2013, one reader requested I keep followers updated with the status of Take Back The Boulevard. So to kick off the year, here’s an update on the initiative.)

It’s been almost two years since Walk Eagle Rock first covered Take Back the Boulevard (TBTB)– the community driven initiative to make Colorado Boulevard a safer, friendlier street for  all.  While there were initially some public meetings following the launch of Take Back the Boulevard, the past few months have been relatively quiet. So what’s new? Why hasn’t the boulevard been taken back already?

According to Bob Gotham – chair of the Take Back the Boulevard’s steering committee – the initiative isn’t intended to transform Colorado Boulevard over night or even over a couple of years. To fulfill it’s goals, the initiative is realistically envisioned as an on-going process that will consist of short-term and long-term solutions to improve the boulevard. This is in part because any substantial, visible changes to the boulevard will only be able to move forward as funds are made available and if the City’s departments are willing to act. A safer, more pleasant Colorado Boulevard that functions for all users is at least a few more years off, but Take Back The Boulevard has taken steps towawrds bringing change to Eagle Rock’s main street. Let’s take a look…

  • April 2011–  LADOT Bike Blog noted that bike lanes along Colorado Boulevard had been prioritized in the City’s Bike Plan due to the momentum of Take Back The Boulevard. Originally scheduled to be implemented sometime after 2015, the City will likely be moving forward with bike lanes along Colorado Boulevard in 2013.

Sloat Boulevard / CA Hwy 35 bike lanesOnce bike lanes are installed, the street will likely have the same configuration as this bike lane on Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco. Photo credit: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

  • March 2012 – Take Back The Boulevard announced: ” In earlier public meetings, the challenge of crossing Colorado Boulevard and the shorter time limits of the parking meters on the north side of the street (one hour) were the most frequently cited reasons for the lower usage of those meters… based on recent efforts by the Council Office, the time limits on the meters on the north side of Colorado Boulevard have now been changed to two hours.”
  • March 2012 – In the same March 2012 announcement, it was also reported: “The public parking lot at the intersection of Merton and Caspar Avenues significantly mitigates the parking issues in that area. Many have claimed they did not know this parking lot exists. New signage has been installed, making the availability of this lot, which is located within three blocks of a large number of commercial establishments, more apparent.”

IMG_7701

One of the new sign on Colorado Boulevard pointing towards the public parking lot at Caspar Avenue and Merton Avenue

  • January 2013 – The most recent development since TBTB formed occurred just a few days ago. Yield markings known as “shark teeth” were added to the crosswalk at Hermosa Avenue and Colorado Boulevard at the request of the TBTB steering committee. The markings remind traffic where to yield for crossing pedestrians.

IMG_7677

New shark teeth yield markings indicating where motorists must yield to crossing pedestrians
IMG_7675

Look at those shark teeth!
IMG_7687Where the yield markings were applied for eastbound travel

There has also been a subtle change to the two curbside parking space in front of Cacao Mexicatessen and Eufloria. In mid-2012 the parking space were converted from 30-minute parking space to one hour parking spaces. This may not be the direct result of  Take Back The Boulevard, but it would not be surprising if it were as the Department of Transportation has been reevaluating conditions along Colorado Boulevard following requests from TBTB’s steering committee. Hopefully the additional half hour granted to the parking spaces now makes them more attractive and useful for patrons of Cacao.

IMG_7605

Note the curb in front of Eufloria and Cacao is no longer green, which indicated parking there was only allowed for 30 minutes– not enough time if one parking there wishes to comfortably enjoy a meal at Cacao

The above changes aren’t the most visible or high-profile – nor are they the only accomplishments from the initiative – but they are meaningful changes that we can point to and thank Take Back The Boulevard for. Hopefully 2013 will continue to bring more visible accomplishments from Take Back The Boulevard’s hard work.

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12 thoughts on “Subtle Signs of Take Back The Boulevard’s Efforts

  1. Great post! Seeing evidence of the gradual changes occurring is reassuring and encouraging. Can’t wait for the Colorado bike lanes!

  2. This is great, very fine, very informative and well written. Thanks so much. You might want to do a piece on the great trail next to the Rock, that is being slolwy transformed into more of a botanical garden by CERB (Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful). It’s used quite a bit but we would love some publicity so that it gets even more passage. It’s such a great hike. Thanks again. Chloé Renée

    • So proud of you! Another local-grown activist in Eagle Rock! I commend CERB for the xeriscapic improvements to ER Blvd to date, as well as the ER Canyon Trail. They are growing in beautifully. My wish is that we optimize our parkways and all growable open space planted for human benefit, water conservation and/or habitat preservation. It’s time for more horticultural projects that enhance our streets and quality of life. How about a pilot project of fruit trees and edible landscapes on our streets? We could start a pilot program right here. So far, LA City has not gone there. Let us be the lab rats!

      • Dear Mary Teez, I am ready for more greenery in our hoods. It’s been done elsewhere in the city (cf. Ron Finley’s saga with the city two years ago) but we are ready here. It will take some effort and elbow grease though.

      • Thanks for the encouragement and solidarity, Chloe! I’m a proven worker bee in for the long haul. Maintenance is the biggest obstacle to edible streetscapes, which, as I’m sure you know from Ron Finley’s 2010 odyssey (and outstanding $700 fine), is the major reason that food-producing plants are STILL not permitted on LA sidewalks. However, if Councilmember Huizar could grant us one experiment, let’s plant one block in the Rock. I’m confident we can develop a solid system to maintain them. How about N. Figueroa near La Loma or Yosemite, since it’s close to the Eagle Rockdale Community Garden and dozens of gardeners, arborists, and additional worker bees? You are welcome to contact me at la.communitygardens@yahoo.com.

      • Dear Mary: I’ve got my hands full with The Boulevard, CERB and Home Girl café right now. Adding one more volunteer commitment would turn me into a nutcase at this point, a qualification which some people have already attributed me for sure. Ron’s situation is very different since he has his beautiful gardening strip right in front of his house. He can grow compost tea right there in his coffee grinds-filled empty pool if you permit me the oxymoron. Last night’s rain shoulda added a good amount of water to it! Let’s have tea one of these days shall we?

  3. The committee is ‘looking down the road’ as we develop a plan for Colorado Boulevard. Gasoline prices, density, more cars and the economy in general will cause most of us to stay local. Public Transportation, bikes and walking will become more viable. Colorado Boulevard was built to move traffic as were most major streets in the city. As this changes the boulevard must change and address its accessibility and use, and that is the driving theme behind TBTB. Positioning these changes for the near and distant future is key. Eagle Rock will be in the forefront in regards to adapting to future needs through these efforts.

  4. Thank you for this update. These are perhaps subtle but still encouraging signs; it’s gratifying to know that TBTB is beginning to have some impact even in the absence of major funding. If we can’t afford new flashing light pedestrian crosswalks, at least pedestrians now have shark’s teeth as a measure of protection.

  5. WalkEagleRock,

    It was great to see that you could attend yesterdays city of Los Angeles bike plan implementation team (BPIT) meeting. You have been a proponent of having the city make street designs so that a person on a bicycle can make a Copenhagen left, or crossing a intersection and waiting at the curb on the cross street for a green light to complete a the left turn.

    There are instances where that would not work, such as when there is a fork in the road, or a T-section where a cyclist has to cross lanes of traffic to make a left turn.

    I noticed on the Green Lane projects blog that there was a installation of a bicycle bay in San Francisco where Market St and Valencia St intersect. This is also known as a New Jersey left, or jughandle where a person on a bicycle has a protected waiting area to enable them to safely cross several lanes of traffic:

    http://greenlaneproject.org/blog/view/san-francisco-welcomes-first-bicycle-bay

    Here’s another website that gives links showing how this same sort of design has been applied on a much larger scale for motor vehicles:

    http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/16970/bike-bays-make-left-turns-safer/

    A link to the San Francisco MTA website that contain a schematic and larger clearer photos of the bicycle bay on Market St:

    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/apress/SFMTAAddsInnovativeBicycleBayatMarketandValenciaStreets.htm

    I handed print outs of this to traffic engineer Tim Fremaux just before the BPIT meeting started. My intention was to give an example of how to make it safer for cyclists to continue north on Lankershim Blvd where the two right lanes split off for Cahuenga Blvd in North Hollywood. There are other situations where this could be used around the city.

  6. Pingback: Today’s post, as I pause amid a busy week to bring you the latest breaking and slightly broken bike news « BikingInLA

  7. MAYBE THE 30 MINUTE TIME LIMIT AT CACOA IS FOR FAST MEXICAN  FOOD EATERS OR PEOPLE ORDERING TAKE OUT. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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