February was slow for livable streets in Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) proper. Nearby Silver Lake/Echo Park area saw some modest movement, and ambitious plans in the Pasadena area are forging ahead. Meanwhile, the most exciting update within NELA boundaries was the community kick-off meeting for Rock The Boulevard, the TERA-led initiative to make Eagle Rock Boulevard a more people-friendly street.
Rock The Boulevard Kick-Off Meeting A Success, Next Meeting on March 20th!
First, an update from Rock The Boulevard. On January 30th the Eagle Rock community was formally introduced to TERA’s latest initiative aimed at calming traffic on Eagle Rock Boulevard. With an estimated 70+ people in attendance, the interest in making improvements to this major street is clear.
Following some background and an outline of the process to achieving changes, residents shared initial thoughts about the boulevard. Popular themes emerged, including: making existing bike lanes physically separated; adding greenery; making the boulevard easier to cross; and making modifications to the existing median. The next community meeting is scheduled for March 20 at the Women’s 20th Century Club. Please make it a point to attend and share your ideas for a better Eagle Rock Boulevard!
Glassell Park Walnut Canyon Development
One of the most contentious land-use issues in Glassell Park, if not all of Northeast LA, is the potential development of large swaths of natural hillsides. As the neighborhood has become more desirable, it is suddenly profitable to develop housing in the local hills. Glassell Park has a network of hillsides that are under threat of development. One of the hillsides, known as Walnut Canyon, may be obliterated to make way for 32, car-dependent single family homes. The Glassell Park Improvement Association (GPIA) is attempting to save the hillside by negotiating a purchase of the land from the developer. At this stage the hillside is on track to be developed, but according to EastsiderLA:
“A spokesman for the developer confirmed that discussions about selling the land to the neighborhood are ongoing.”
Hopefully this is a good sign for preserving open space in the neighborhood. If you would like to support the GPIA’s efforts, get involved with or support their Friends of Walnut Canyon committee.
Mohawk Bend Gets Traffic Signal
A notorious curve along Sunset Boulevard at the intersection of Mohawk Street finally received a traffic signal on January 31, thanks to the efforts of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. The EastsiderLA reports:
It’s been nearly three years since the Department of Transportation approved installing a traffic signal at the intersection along a curving stretch of Sunset dubbed the Mohawk Bend. An estimated 36,000 vehicles a day pass through this section of Sunset, a traffic study found at the time.
While traffic signals are a costly solution to getting pedestrians safely across the street, no alternative would be as effective in this situation without removing a travel lane (which essentially is a political non-starter given the volume of traffic on Sunset).
Silver Lake Walking Path Debuts, A Catalyst for Master Plan Update?
The Silver Lake reservoir and its surrounding greenspace is a popular destination for walking, running, and other forms of recreation. The large body of water at the center, however, is largely inaccessible due to a fence surrounding it. Earlier in February, 33 trees were planted along Silver Lake Drive and the southern portion of the reservoir opened a new walking path, allowing people to get closer to the water and admire new scenic views. The new path brings the reservoir one step closer toward a grander vision some advocates have of creating a full-fledged 96 acre park. Shortly the path debuted, CurbedLA reported the Los Angeles Board of Public Works approved an agreement between the DWP and the city’s engineering bureau to update a master plan for the Silver Lake Reservoir and Ivanhoe Reservoir. A new master plan could help advance the concept converting the reservoirs into a major park destination like Echo Park Lake.
Will Hyperion Bridge Get “Protected Bike Lanes”?
Perhaps the most significant campaign from the #BikeLA advocacy world in recent memory was the fight to transform the Hyperion Bridge into a multi-modal corridor serving all modes of travel. The group “Vision Hyperion” campaigned admirably and tirelessly to win support for a proposal that would reduce the Hyperion bridge from 4 lanes to 3, add widened sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, and new protected bike lanes. Ultimately, city staff and local elected officials decided 4 lanes were more desirable than contiguous sidewalks and protected bike lanes on both sides of the bridge.
Now, nearly 3 years since the battle over street space concluded, the City recently unveiled its current proposal for the bridge which includes a continuous sidewalk on one side of the bridge, a crossing from Glendale Boulevard to Hyperion Avenue, and striped bike lanes across the bridge. During the unveiling and update, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell stated the Hyperion Bridge would receive “protected bike lanes.” This comment was echoed by a representative from the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) and made it to the headline of CurbedLA’s coverage. Renderings present at the City’s community meeting did not show any protected bike lane renderings. Perhaps the Councilmember and City staff were too proud or embarrassed to correct themselves. Or maybe the design of the bridge will be further tweaked to include protected bike lanes? Time will tell.
Atwater City-Owned Lot Could Incorporate Park
A City owned lot adjacent to the LA River may be reconfigured to incorporate a public park. This is good news, unfortunately this type of creative, forward-think approach is not always the default approach to maintenance and rebuild projects.
Pasadena Updates Galore!
A lot happened in the Pasadena area in February! Metro Board approved an ambitious plan to complete 28 transportation projects by the year 2028. Among the projects included is a proposed Bus Rapid Transit line connecting North Hollywood and Pasadena (which could include stations in Eagle Rock), scheduled to be completed in the year 2022. Pasadena’s Transportation Advisory Committee was shown exciting plans for a new bike path link, called Arroyo Link, which would connect downtown Pasadena to the Arroyo Seco by way of a dedicated bike path. Pasadena sent its wishlist for transportation projects to replace funding that had been earmarked for the now dead 710 Freeway expansion. The list includes several bicycle and pedestrian improvements. The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition is campaigning to bring safety improvements to Orange Grove Boulevard, using some creative tactics. They are facing some inevitable backlash.
Livability in Burbank and Beyond
CiclaValley Checks out Verdugo Avenue Bike Lanes: The verdict? Bike lanes are good but City made some sloppy mistakes and people leave their trash bins in the bike lane.
LADOT Speed Hump Request Program is Back: If you are willing to jump through several loops, you and your neighbors could benefit from speed humps.
LA Walks Fundraiser on March 4th: One of the City’s biggest champions for change and promoting safer, more multi-modal streets is hosting a FREE block party in Historic Filipinotown followed by a fundraiser. Come for the block-party, stay to support LA Walks!