Proyecto Pastoral Crowdfunds for Pico-Aliso Neighborhood Project

The residents living in the Pico Aliso neighborhood are squeezed in between busy corridors, freeways, the river, and now a growing series of art higher-end galleries. They are hoping to make the streets safer for the many families that walk there. (Google maps)
The advocates from Proyecto Pastoral living in the Pico-Aliso neighborhood are squeezed in between busy corridors, freeways, the river, and now a growing series of art higher-end galleries. They are hoping to make the streets safer for the many families that walk there. (Google maps)

Squeezed in between the major thoroughfares connecting Boyle Heights to downtown, the Pico-Aliso community has long been treated by the city as an area to be passed through, and as quickly as possible, at that.

With the demolition of the 6th Street Viaduct and the subsequent increase in commuter vehicle traffic during peak hours along 4th and 1st Streets, safety for lower-income families who must cross those thoroughfares to get to transit stops, school, or recreational opportunities has become even more of a concern.

This past January, a new stoplight was installed at 4th and Pecan Streets after the youth from the Boyle Heights Technical Center conducted a study that demonstrated the clear need for traffic calming there. And a new signal is planned for 4th and Clarence Streets (where one person was killed when a car slammed into a taco stand, recently) along with improvements to sidewalks and pedestrian lighting that will help Pico Gardens’ residents access the new park planned for underneath the 6th Street Viaduct (thanks to $5 million in funds secured in the second cycle of Active Transportation Program funding).

But members of Proyecto Pastoral’s Comunidad en Movimiento (CEM) seem to believe there is more to be done. And they would know best – volunteers from the group have been helping children navigate busy corridors as part of their Safe Passage/Camino Seguro program for almost 20 years now. The program began in 1999 as a way to help children move unscathed through a public space that was heavily impacted by gang activity.

The drop in violence in the neighborhood, thanks in part to their efforts, has allowed them the space to turn their attention to traffic safety over the last several years.

Recently, CEM was selected by ioby – a crowdfunding platform dedicated to helping communities make meaningful change “in our backyards” – to complete a project aimed at improving pedestrian safety around a transit stop in Pico Aliso. The project will combine data CEM members have collected from residents over the years with new community input to design pedestrian improvements to be tested at either 1st Street (near Mendez High School) or 4th Street (between Gless and Clarence).

The approximately $8,000 CEM is seeking in funding will allow them to pay small stipends to local staff and a local artist (to help with visuals), host a community event, and implement a temporary solution, as designed by the community.

Considering the significant neglect the community has endured over the years and the nearly half a billion dollars being spent to rebuild a shiny new bridge just a few blocks over, it does seem rather insane that the community has to ask for donations just so children can move safely across the street. And it is unfortunate that any project implemented will only be temporary.

But in their write-up on ioby, CEM anticipates the project will “serve as a model for a more permanent change to the unsafe conditions that our children and families face as they walk in the neighborhood.”

Those interested in learning more about the project or donating to the cause can visit their project web page, here. Every dollar donated before August 5 (up to $100 per person) will be matched by ioby.

7 thoughts on Proyecto Pastoral Crowdfunds for Pico-Aliso Neighborhood Project

  1. I like the direction of this project but it’s unclear to me if this will result in substantive changes. Signs and painted crosswalks will do little to have a lasting effect.I want to know more about solutions being considered.


    At least there have been some attempts in the neighborhood. But the curbs need to be extended considerably to make this a safe intersection.,-118.2240251,3a,75y,86.14h,70.64t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s8Ao7odzRrJAINldr5ipozQ!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656

    This image is truly bizarre. The bike lane is on the wrong side of the fence. There is no need for the marked off yellow area at all.,-118.2240504,3a,75y,338.83h,75.16t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_P8MxcRY0S7dC_Eg7EPYZg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    These red zones should be curb extensions.,-118.2241045,3a,75y,290.75h,59.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFQqzXQlxRsXqav5tVXILyw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    This lane is more than twice as wide as it needs to be.,-118.2241045,3a,75y,290.75h,59.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFQqzXQlxRsXqav5tVXILyw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Hard to guess what the planners were thinking when they designed this underpass.,-118.2190157,3a,75y,155.36h,61.79t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s8HqtB_G_-ckUwtIPKWviYQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    The red zone should be a curb extension all the up to the parked car. The bike path should be on curb. There should plant a tree in the lower right hand corner of the pic.,-118.2198348,3a,75y,286.7h,70.52t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCJWu29NwhLkc-P3qg0uHNA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Why not widen these sidewalks and plant trees? I just don’t get it. The right turn lane is abut 25 feet wide. There is no traffic planning going on at all here.

  3. they’ve been active on street safety as a group for a few years, but this was my question as well. the 6th St. bridge won’t be accessible for a few years, so they need more than a temporary fix, given the crunch of traffic there now. the new light installed in January helps, but it needs more. i will say that, having attended a Vision Zero community engagement meeting last night, it became clear to me that VZ needed to be tapping into folks like Proyecto Pastoral more. they know what’s not captured in collision data and what kinds of fixes will best fit their needs… so, if nothing more, their mobilization can offer the city a window into what it takes do engagement around safety issues, how folks define safety in different communities, and where the data we do have falls short. which is not that satisfying, but can be valuable if leveraged properly. community activism after a hit-and-run in Boyle Heights did get folks the infrastructure they had been demanding for years…

  4. Actually a lot of what you posted is all new stuff along 1st St – the sidewalks and the trees – as part of the Eastside Access project. They ripped out 90+ trees and replaced them with twiggy ones, repaved the sidewalks (without extending any of them), put decorative bike racks no one ever uses in car door zones, and recently repaved a section of 1st St. The corridor along the above-ground rail is also poorly managed. I’m not an engineer by any stretch, but from a user’s perspective, it’s awfully narrow and can get very congested when school lets out. The fencing should be along the tracks not taking up space on the sidewalks (and making it hard for families to walk back and forth to school). And the signaling should be more responsive to all users. I am guessing a lot of the issues originally stem from the fact that the city previously wanted limited connection to the community and the Metro line placement was not necessarily done in a way that jived with how people move around in the community now… The Mariachi Plaza stops sees some of the fewest boardings.

  5. Well that’s pretty depressing. Look at this scene in Düsseldorf.,6.8071283,3a,35.3y,185.15h,83.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJqk3iaIdl4vdRg_FyWP4DQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

    The trees are planted in the parking lane, not on the sidewalk. The bike lane (in red brick with white zigzag border) is on the curb next to the sidewalk.

    The trains are at street level and do not need an elevated platform, so it is short. These happen to be subway cars and have the same arrangement when they go underground.

    The bus stops in the driving lane, and the bus loading area extends across the parking lane. cars have to wait, or use the tracks. The bus stop is clearly marked with signs, a detailed schedule and checkerboard pavement, and includes a bench, a roof and three walls. (And ads. They are maintained by a billboard company.)

    Signs and street lamps are in the parking lanes where there is one. The driving lanes are kept to a minimum necessary size to allow for other stuff, and curve fairly sharply around the train stop. This is safe thanks to short pedestrian crossing distances and automatic speed reduction without signals.,6.8082013,3a,75y,178.93h,71.16t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1snYTfMXp_H8EWX5p8bv5ajw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

    Here you can see that the parking lanes end in curb extensions at the corners instead of the ubiquitous and pointless red zones. The tracks are marked with white stripes but not physically separated from the other lanes. (This is debatable and not always the case.)

    Also all the utilities are underground.

    Here’s another tip: Don’t chop down trees, build around them.,6.8283747,3a,60y,309.43h,66.24t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1saixzYHDoEQW_Bugzg4ja5A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Nobody in his right mind will complain about having to squeeze by a beautiful old tree.

  6. Also, if anyone donates their $100 allotment and feels like they want to keep on giving, the San Bernardino Bicycle Hubitat is also fundraising for tools and the like through the same grant.

  7. Through my own experience of seeing the work of CEM, I know that the longer-term goal of this project is to cultivate resident leadership, grow CEM’s base of supporters and volunteers and, in the process, set the stage for addressing the systemic issues that are impacting pedestrian safety in the area. Even before launching the Pico Aliso Neighborhood Project, CEM leaders have prioritized building/leveraging relationships with other community orgs and local leaders. The temporary installation that is slated to go up in November will be a sign of bigger and better things to come!

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