Metro has some pretty big plans on what to do with the federal funds they’re receiving to pilot a congestion pricing plan on two Los Angeles freeways. But one plan for Adams Boulevard in South Los Angeles has some locals scratching their heads. At the same time that the CRA is proposing a pedestrian makeover to Figueroa Street, Metro is proposing to remove sidewalks along a nearby stretch of Adams Boulevard a block from the My Figueroa Project.
The carrot to experiment with the controversial Express Lanes was a federal grant for other mobility improvements such as better bus service and, in this case, a road widening at the terminus of the Express Lanes project that will require the taking of a part of the sidewalk on the north of Adams Boulevard. To provide connectivity for pedestrians, Metro proposes to steer pedestrians north to a pedestrian bridge crossing the 110. The bridge drops off the pedestrian north of Adams where they’ll cross south on Flower Street to return to their original route on Adams.
While the plan clearly provides a quicker trip for cars, the wider Adams Boulevard feeds into Figueroa Way which will be re-striped from one lane to two, allowing cars to travel north towards 23rd Street.
For their part, Metro is upbeat about the proposed changes. Speaking for Metro, Stephanie Wiggins gives her outlook for the project, ” “My sense of that community is that there’s a high importance for walking and of taking transit.” Wiggins noted that there is no physical overlap between Metro’s plans for Adams and the MyFigueroa project andthat plans for a pedestrian plaza will make the connection to the bridge a pleasant experience. In addition, their plans will not impact MyFigueroa’s proposal for a cap-park over the 110 Freeway.
However, the improvement creates concerns for those walking in the area. Pedestrians moving east are faced with the choice of taking the pedestrian bridge, crossing the street to the south of the street sidewalks, or walking on the streets. Pedestrians moving west, would have to know to cross the street blocks before the pedestrian bridge, take the bridge, or walk in the street for the length of the freeway. In addition, even the most-traveled pedestrian bridges can be imposing at night or other off-peak hours. Especially because they tend to attract graffiti and sometimes more serious crimes because they can be secluded.
At a community outreach meeting held for the Express Lanes project over a year ago, Deborah Murphy, a consultant for My Figueroa and a member of the L.A. Streetsblog Board, and residents expressed concern about the east west connection from the freeway and connections between neighborhoods and retail destinations and schools.
There’s still plenty of public outreach to be completed before any changes come to Adams Boulevard. Metro has yet to select a contractor for the project, but they are looking at another design-build contract, where the same firm oversees the design and construction of the new Adams Boulevard.