NELA Livable Streets Roundup – January 2018

Alhambra Avenue Street Safety Construction Begins

On January 13, 2018, Councilmember Jose Huizar held the ceremonial groundbreaking for the forthcoming Alhambra Avenue safety improvements that will span from Valley Boulevard to Lowell Avenue, approximately 1.3 miles.

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Councilmember Huizar and community pose for ceremonial groundbreaking.

According to Streetsblog LA, which covered the event in detail, when the $1.5 million project is completed in May 2018, Alhambra Avenue will feature:

  • Traffic signal at Lowell Avenue, including a bulb-out for pedestrian safety
  • Sidewalk on the north side of the Alhambra Avenue adjacent to the El Sereno Arroyo Playground – this includes a retaining wall that will serve as a future art wall welcoming people to El Sereno
  • Crosswalk with flashing lights at Alhambra Avenue and Hollister Avenue
  • Road diet and bike lanes from Valley Boulevard to the city limit

A small group of NELA advocates biked to the groundbreaking from York Park in Highland Park. Here’s to more group rides to more bike and pedestrian safety groundbreaking projects across the City!

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Bike advocates met at York Park in Highland Park to ride over to Alhambra Avenue safety improvement groundbreaking in El Sereno. York Park was formerly a gas station, and thanks to Councilmember Huizar’s support, the site was purchased, cleaned up, and converted to a neighborhood pocket park.

Monterey Park Approves Protected Bike Lanes

Amontereypass.png bit further east and south of El Sereno in the San Gabriel Valley, the City of Monterey Park voted to approve proposed protected bike lanes along Monterey Pass Road, the first bike lanes of any type for the City. BikeSGV deserves a lot of credit for advocating for this project.

Eagle Rock Boulevard Complete Streets Meeting On January 30

rocktheblvd.jpgThe Eagle Rock Association (TERA) in collaboration with councilmember Jose Huizar’s office will hold a kick-off meeting for a new complete streets initiative for Eagle Rock Boulevard on January 30. The initiative, called “Rock the Boulevard,” will ultimately culminate in a long-range vision plan for a safer and more sustainable boulevard. Please come join in the community process and bring your ideas for how to improve the public realm on Eagle Rock Boulevard.

NELA Advocate Impacts Downtown Alameda Esplanade Project?

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Metro’s initial proposal for the Union Station Forecourt and Esplanade Improvement project. This design has since been improved. Image via: The Source

On January 16, Metro’s outreach website The Source announced the Final Environmental Impact Report for the Union Station Forecourt and Esplanade Improvement project had been released. For those unfamiliar, the project consists of widening the sidewalk in front of Union Station on Alameda Street and closing a section of Los Angeles Street to automobile traffic to expand a pedestrian plaza. As proposed, the project was a major improvement for pedestrians. However, according to public comments on the project, NELA bike advocate Michael MacDonald felt the project did not go far enough in improving conditions for bicycling. He provided a counter-proposal (see page 92) to Metro’s proposed painted bike lane. Below is MacDonald’s revision with a two-way protected bike path and Metro’s revised proposal.

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Counter proposal provided by Michael MacDonald. Image via: Metro’s Final Environmental Impact Report.

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Metro’s revised recommendation. Note two-way bike path taking place of formerly proposed painted bike lane. Image via: Metro’s Final Environmental Impact Report.

Metro’s official response reveals they changed their recommended proposal to more closely resemble MacDonald’s suggestion to upgrade bike lanes to a protected bike path. While Metro’s new proposal stops short of MacDonald’s proposal which would extend the bike path further down Los Angeles Street, it appears the protected bike path could be extended if Metro collaborates with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and Council District 14.

Cypress Park’s Taylor Yard Bike Bridge Construction To Begin Summer 2018

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Rendering of the Taylor Yard Bike Bridge. Image via: Bureau of Engineering

When accessing the LA River bike path from Northeast LA, there are two choices for accessing the path– North Figueroa Street and Fletcher Drive. Neither street is very pleasant for bicycling, which makes the LA River feel like a resource that is so close yet so far away. Thankfully, a new bicycle and pedestrian friendly gateway connecting the LA River to NELA may emerge soon. LA Curbed reports that the long anticipated Taylor Yard Bike Bridge could begin construction this summer.

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The Taylor Yard Bike Bridge appears it will be well-lit when it’s dark outside. Image via: Bureau of Engineering

Once completed, the Bridge will provide a car-free connection to the LA River, and the bridge itself will be accessible via Cypress Avenue, which features bike lanes and less traffic than Figueroa and Fletcher. As noted by StreetsblogLA, the Taylor Yard bike bridge is also just one of three car-free bridges proposed to be built across the LA River along the soft-bottom Glendale Narrows portion of the waterway. With these new bridges in place, the most difficult part of accessing the LA River bike path (the crossing of the river itself) will be completed. Hopefully we will see comfortable surface street bicycle routes develop alongside these new bridges to fully capitalize on these multi-million dollar investments.

Los Feliz Welcomes Bike Corral

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A colorful new bike corral at Spitz in Los Feliz. Via: Spitz

In a City often referred to as the car capital of the world, converting any inch of road space from cars to bikes is a big deal. On the trendy commercial street Hillhurst Avenue in Los Feliz, the city recently installed a bike corral, converting one car parking space to a dozen bike parking spaces. The restaurant in front of the bike corral, Spitz, celebrated the bike parking with an extended happy hour.

NELA Councilmember O’Farrell Champions Bus Shelter, Traffic Signal and Calls For a More Walkable City

On social media, councilmember Mitch O’Farrell shared that he worked to get a new traffic signal to help pedestrians get across Silver Lake Boulevard in Silver Lake, and a new bus shelter on Eagle Rock Boulevard in Glassell Park.  Over on Citywatch, a press-release from Councilmember O’Farrell was shared in which he highlights recent pedestrians throughout his sprawling district (most of which is not in Northeast LA). Of the noted improvements, most consist of new traffic signals and crosswalks. Councilmember O’Farrell’s press-release notes:

During my first term in office we dedicated more than a dozen pedestrian safety improvements, and I look forward to welcoming more in the years ahead.

A refreshing and encouraging sentiment to hear from a councilmember. Let’s hope O’Farrell can aspire to dedicate at least twice as many pedestrian improvements in his second term.

Livability in Pasadena and Beyond

Pasadena Climate Action Plan: The City of Pasadena hosted public meetings for its draft Climate Action Plan. As noted by a member of Pasadena’s Environmental Advisory Commission, drastic actions will be needed in the realm of transportation.

Griffith Park Access Study: In the Hollywood area, Councilmember David Ryu released a commissioned report on possible transportation changes to accessing Griffith Park. Among the discussed possibilities, are some pedestrian improvements such as sidewalk extensions, new crosswalks, speed humps, pedestrian directional signage, and new sidewalks. The report also discusses a possible shuttle service between the Metro Red Line subway and major tourist destinations or adjusting existing transit services. In general, the ideas considered would likely improve conditions for walking and public transit.

Silver Lake Reservoir Walking Path: It was announced that in February a path along the Silver Lake Reservoir will be newly opened to the pedestrians, allowing for greater access to this popular recreational spot.

Burbank Complete Streets Plan: The California Department of Transportation announced the first Senate Bill 1 Sustainable Communities Grant Award List. Among the winners was the City of Burbank, which was awarded $519,228 to adopt a Complete Streets Plan. Per the announcement, Burbank’s Complete Streets Plan will:

“provide an action agenda to create safe and sustainable street improvements, increase bicycling and walking, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the most disadvantaged areas, improve transit connectivity, reduce automobile collisions, reduce vehicle trips, and to build a multimodal and equitable transportation network.”

A great first step toward being able to implement more bicycle and pedestrian improvements citywide in a time when concepts such as protected bike lanes and pedestrian streets are being more seriously discussed.

2 thoughts on “NELA Livable Streets Roundup – January 2018

  1. Pingback: Today’s Headlines – Streetsblog Los Angeles

  2. I appreciate your roundup. District 1 under Gil Cedillo is sadly moving in the opposite direction. He quietly canceled LADOT-designed safety improvements along Temple Street within his jurisdiction, though the improvements will thankfully proceed along O’Farrell’s stretch.

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