Metro Plans to Remove Adams Blvd. Sidewalks Near My Figueroa

For a full size of this slide from Metro's Powerpoint slide, click ##http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2011/02/Screen-shot-2011-02-21-at-8.33.03-PM.png##here.##

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.

  • Joe

    I don’t understand. Where is this “pedestrian plaza”? It looks like the bridge dumps you out onto the sidewalk on Flower street. If they are installing an extra pedestrian bridge anyways, why do they have it go so far North; why not just run it parallel to Adams? Requiring pedestrians to do extra walking in order to speed the passage of cars is wrong thinking for a pedestrian-friendly area.

    Also, I must be reading the diagram wrong, because as shown, the #3 right-only lane on the off ramp is to the left of the #4 and #5 lanes which allow left turns. While this would no doubt be interesting to watch, I expect some might object to the carnage.

  • The right turn lane to the left of the left turn lanes is because the lanes to the left are the exit ramps from the Express Lanes. The Express Lanes and regular lanes have different exit ramps.

    The plaza is on the other side of the bridge. That was my mistake. The story has been fixed.

  • Chris L

    Pedestrian bridges never work as intended – especially when they force people to walk out of their way to use them. People have places they need to be. Many would rather take a risk and run dart across a street, or walk in the shoulder along a busy road rather than waste 5 minutes taking the safer long way.

    You can’t beat human nature with engineering. Why do they keep trying?

  • Why don’t we just electrify the sidewalks? It would be a more effective deterrent to people walking.

    There should also be a reverse toll booth on this street, so that anyone in a car that passes through gets paid.

    That way, we’ll have the free market decide which modes will dominate the streets of our city.

  • Erik G.

    These Express Lanes are going to be interesting.

    On I-10 the Metrolink San Bernardino Line could have been double-tracked where it runs down the middle of the freeway, but no, we “must move more cars”.

    Now we will get to witness the spectacle of current HOV-3+ (and 2+ at certain times) users driving up one day soon and being told that they need an account and a transponder to access the lanes that they have been using without any restriction or cost since 1976.

  • I think that a pedestrian catapult would be more fitting.

  • One take-away from the graphic above: there is not enough asphalt in that picture! Whatever the outcome, I hope that we can all agree that more asphalt should be pored over the area and more space be given over to cars.

    Another idea for pedestrians: get a job!

  • I think that, before any plans are approved, the designers of this street should be forced to bring their families (young, old, and everything in between) and try to individually cross the street with no outside help or interference. Survival of the fittest!

  • Look, I live in the area and this intersection sucks for all users. The 37 bunches up passing through the area, buses from the Harbor Transitway are held up, motorists are stuck in gridlock and pedestrians face a hostile environment. My mode of choice for this intersection is cycling, and let me tell you, it’s even worse for me.

    Metro should use a chunk of the ExpressLanes money for this intersection, but as is proved all the time, widening streets and freeways induces more demand and eventually will just return to the same congested status-quo. Metro seems to be taking the easy way out. There are many more creative ways to improve this intersection – traffic circle, modified light timing, traffic calming, or even forcing all motorists off the Transitway at 39th Street and making this exit bus-only.

    A traditional approach to improving this intersection will likely fail. Metro’s engineers should take a leaf out of the City of Berkeley’s plan for the Gilman Street freeway offramp or Richmond’s plan for the Central Avenue-I-80 project in Northern California. Both of these plans use untraditional methods to drastically improve chronically congested freeway-arterial junctions.

  • The pedestrian bridge could work, it just needs to be more ambitious.

    http://www.google.com/images?q=pedestrian+bridge&biw=1277&bih=650

    Have it go up and over the freeway AND over the Expo Line (how come nobody’s mentioned that there will be light rail in the middle of all of this asphalt?), with stairs down to Flower and stairs down to Figueroa.

    Los Angeles doesn’t have much experience with pedestrian bridges done the right way, but they don’t have to be dull, ugly contraptions.

  • I like the pedestrian walkway between the 110 freeway:
    http://tinyurl.com/4qmd2mb

    The walkway over the 10 freeway at Marengo and City Terrace Dr:
    http://tinyurl.com/4eubvtd

    Or the Santa Fe Springs bridge to nowhere:
    http://tinyurl.com/4ua9u6b

    They all have this magic power … to leave you isolated and afraid, weaving between puddles of piss, human excrement, and trash; deafened by the roar of traffic and choked by the blasts of exhaust. I once saw a dog get smashed to death on the 110 freeway while taking a picture from the walkway:

    http://ubrayj02.blogspot.com/2005/08/one-night-in-july.html

    Yes, there is a “right way” to make a pedestrian bridge – by eliminating the cars from the equation or installing a raised crosswalk.

  • This is complete BS. As pointed out above, the picture is 95% filled with asphalt for cars, and thats not enough?

  • Roadblock

    “MyFigueroa” don’t they know that Myspace is dead? They should be calling this Figueroabook and make it a little more with the times.

  • dave

    +1 roadblock

    figueroabook, indeed!

    or maybe iFig?

  • And here I thought they were going for a My Sharona reference…we should ask.

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