Community Plan for Boyle Heights a Test of Planning’s Promise

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When Gail Goldberg took over the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, she promised that the city would help create better community plans, ones that took into account the charecter of the community and what the residents say that they want.

Well, the upcoming community plan for Boyle Heights, a largely Hispanic community located east of Downtown and the L.A. River.  will be a great test of that promise.

The city will hold two more public meetings next week to share its recommendations with the community on the future of their community plan based on comments received between November of 2006 and February of 2007.  If the city follows the recommendations of the community, Boyle Heights is in for the kind of new projects that can transform and upgrade a community.

While traffic congestion and truck traffic are listed as problems, the Boyle Heights community seemed more interested in making transportation more equitable for users of non motorized transportation.  The list of transportation improvements desired by the community doesn't mention one improvement for auto users:

  • Sidewalks need repairs and better lighting along Boyle Avenue from 1st Street to 6th Street.
    Boyle Heights suffers from a lack of street trees.
  • Alleys need to be paved, lit and otherwise improved to enhance mobility, safety and aesthetics.
  • Highway underpasses need to be improved to enhance pedestrian mobility and sense of safety as well as aesthetics.
  • Freeway guard rails, fences, retaining walls and guard walls need repair and upgrade (e.g. entrance ramp from State St onto I-10 Eastbound).

There's also some encouraging suggestions about increasing open space by creating parks along the shores of the river and converting some industrial areas, but the real issue is how ingrained will these suggestions be in the final plan?

I'll be at one of the presentations next week, but if someone was at one of the ones that already happened and want to fill us in, either drop a comment below or email me at damien@streetsblog.org.

Photo: Francisco Cendejas/Flickr