Checking in on the Local Livable Streets Movement

Advocates for safer streets and more sustainable transportation are often frustrated by the slow pace of improvements. However, sometimes progress is not always visible, or it doesn’t receive widespread coverage, or it gets drowned out by some bigger news. Here at Walk Eagle Rock a number of livability-related efforts that affect Northeast LA caught our attention in recent months and we thought we would share them here to provide some added exposure.

Chances are we did not catch everything. So, if you know of something, please let us know in the comments, on facebook, twitter, or email us at walkeaglerock@gmail.com. And let us know if any of the below initiatives are of particular interest to you and we can try to follow up with additional coverage on it.

Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Asks for CicLAvia event in 2019

ERNC_CicLAvia.jpg

Excerpt from ERNC November 2017 minutes. Note “in Echo Park” is likely a typo meant to read “in Eagle Rock”.

At the ERNC’s monthly meeting in November, a motion from Boulevard Director Chloe Renee Ziegler to partner with the non-profit CicLAvia to bring an “open street” event to Eagle Rock in 2019 passed unanimously. A CicLAvia-like “open street” event would close streets to cars for a day while allowing people to walk, bicycle, scoot, and roll to explore the neighborhood and enjoy the local businesses. Nearby, CicLAvia events have been hosted in Pasadena, Glendale, Atwater and Echo Park. If Eagle Rock is lucky enough to host an “open street” event in 2019, it would likely span at least 2 miles, making the street closure much longer than the annual Eagle Rock Music Festival, which closes down less than a mile of Colorado Boulevard. A successful open street event could help get locals interested in walking and bicycling, and demonstrate that having a happy, thriving community does not necessitate dependence on car travel. Locally, a smaller proof-of-concept street closure event has been Highland Park’s successful El Mercado street fair on the two blocks of York Boulevard between Avenue 50 and Avenue 52.

Speed Humps Appear on Avenue 46 and Armadale Avenue

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New speed hump on Armadale Ave

It was a big deal when the City announced in 2016 it would re-instate its speed hump request program. Amid budget cuts, the popular traffic calming program was suspended in 2009. Even with its recent revival, it seemed unlikely that given its popularity that any new speed humps would make their way to Eagle Rock anytime soon. Fortunately, Eagle Rock received speed humps on not one, but two streets. Two speed humps were installed on Avenue 46 between Ridgeview Avenue and Corrliss Street while three were installed on Armadale Avenue between Campus Road and York Boulevard. While the speed humps were installed unceremoniously, they appear to have taken shape sometime in early November.

Speed Limit Set to be Lowered on NELA Streets

Back in October, Streetsblog reported that a number of streets citywide would see speed limits increase due to a notorious State law commonly referred to as the “85th percentile” law. In effect, the law requires speed limits be set to the speed that most drivers are going. If most drivers are going above the speed limit, the speed limit must be raised. Likewise, if most go below the speed limit, the speed limit is to be lowered. Northeast LA, will see speed limit reductions on the following streets:

  • Ave 26 between Pasadena Ave and San Fernando Rd (0.9 miles) – 35mph to 30mph
  • Ave 36 between Eagle Rock Bl and Fletcher Dr (0.1 miles) – 35mph to 30mph
  • Fletcher Dr between Ave 36 and San Fernando Dr (0.7 miles) – 35mph to 30mph
  • Townsend Ave between Hill Dr and Colorado Bl (0.35 miles) – 30mph to 25mph
  • York Bl between Arroyo Verde Rd and Eagle Rock Bl (2.72 miles) – 35mph to 30mph

The speed reductions are beneficial for two reasons: slowing cars will mean the streets are safer, and with a speed limit based on a current speed survey, LAPD is now legally allowed to perform automated speed enforcement. If all goes well, we will see safer travel speeds, and greater enforcement presence. Incidentally, most of the speed reductions are occurring on streets that have received road diets, suggesting that lane reductions are indeed an effective tool to curb unwanted speeding.

The Eagle Rock Association (TERA) Asks for Safer Yosemite Drive

On November 15th, TERA sent a letter to Councilmember Huizar asking that the City take measures to improve safety on Yosemite Drive after Eagle Rock High School students were struck by a car driver while crossing in a marked crosswalk. The letter asks for short-term as well as long-term solutions, requesting the City explore a variety of improvements ranging from bike lanes, sidewalk extensions, and crossing refuge islands. Given that two schools, a public park, and senior housing are all located on Yosemite Drive, the street is an ideal candidate for more pedestrian-oriented design and traffic calming.

Livability Improvements in Glendale, South Pasadena, and Beyond

In addition to the promising progress locally, improvements are also being made in neighboring Glendale and South Pasadena. Bike Walk Glendale brought to our attention that bike lanes and sidewalk extensions were added to Ocean View Boulevard in late October. Meanwhile, BikeSGV previewed the physical progress being made on extending the Arroyo Seco Bike Path from Highland Park north into South Pasadena. Urbanize LA reminded us that Metro expects to break ground on a bus rapid transit line connecting North Hollywood to Pasadena in 2020. The bus route would go through Eagle Rock, and quite possibly operate down the center of Colorado Boulevard in dedicated lanes where streetcars once ran.

In addition to the above items, we are also excited by TERA’s initiative “Rock the Boulevard,” which will take a community-driven approach to re-envision Eagle Rock Boulevard as a more pedestrian-friendly boulevard. We expect to hear more about that in 2018. We also hope our friends at Safer Verdugo will reignite their efforts to tame traffic on Verdugo Road in Glassell Park in 2018 as well.

Did we miss something? Any particular initiative you want to hear more about or get involved with? Let us know!

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2 thoughts on “Checking in on the Local Livable Streets Movement

  1. Thank you for this important posting. An LAPD officer told me last week that Colorado Blvd, where people speed all the time through 25 mph school zones on the way to and from the 134 on- and off-ramps, had been approved by LADOT for “laser survey” traffic enforcement until July 2016, when it lost its approval. In other words, LADOT determines which streets are eligible for monitoring traffic speeds with laser guns.The officer said that LAPD has asked LADOT to reinstate Colorado Blvd’s “approved” status, with no response as yet.

  2. Pingback: NELA Livable Streets News – December 2017 | Walk Eagle Rock

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