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Garcetti, LADOT and Xerox Announce New GoLA Multi-Modal App

Mayor Garcetti announcing the GoLA app this morning. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Mayor Garcetti announcing the GoLA app this morning. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Los Angeles has a new transportation app that helps Angelenos choose ways to get around. The GoLA “Mobility Marketplace” App shows various transportation modes, including bicycling, transit, taxi, ride-hailing, driving, and parking and allows users to compare modes to see what is fastest, cheapest, or greenest. The app is a collaboration between Xerox and the city of Los Angeles, shepherded by the Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Chief Innovation Technology Officer, Peter Marx.

Mayor Garcetti demonstrated the new app this morning at a press event in the city’s Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) bunker, four floors below City Hall East. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield described the app as a “magic blender” combining transit schedules, Thomas Guide maps, traffic, and more.

 

Xerox Senior Vice President David Cummins stated that the app includes a broader spread of multimodal options than typical transportation apps, such as Google Maps. Cummins expressed enthusiasm about future features planned, including not just viewing multi-modal trips, but booking and paying for them via GoLA. Cummins also announced anticipated future features including gamification, “comparing your carbon footprint with your Facebook friends,” and possible Vision Zero features.

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Eyes on the Street: Parklet Underway on Motor Avenue

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Under-construction parklet spotted on Motor Avenue in Palms. Photos by Jonathan Weiss/Streetsblog L.A.

Last week, a new parklet opened in downtown L.A.’s South Park. The next People St parklet installation is already underway on Motor Avenue in Palms. The parklet pictured is in front of C&M Cafe at 3272 Motor Avenue, a block south of the Metro Expo Line Phase 2 and the Expo bikeway’s Northvale gap. Motor was improved with a road diet and bike lanes in 2012.

Motor Avenue will be receiving two parklets; the second (and larger) parklet will be at 3370 Motor Avenue.

More early construction photos after the jump.  Read more…

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Open House Showcases Expo Bike Path Gap Closure Options

Last night's Expo Bikeway meeting. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Last night’s Expo Bikeway meeting. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

An overflow crowd of more than one hundred people showed up to last night’s Expo Bike Path meeting at the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library. A representative from Councilmember Paul Koretz welcomed the boisterous crowd before turning the open house over to L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery.

The crowd appeared to be about half from L.A.’s bicycling community about half from the adjacent Cheviot Hills neighborhood. Many Cheviot Hills neighbors have actively opposed to both the Metro Expo rail line and the Expo bike path.

Mowery stressed that “no decisions have been made” about how to close the 0.7-mile “Northvale gap” in the Expo bikeway. She stated that the meeting would be just an open house, and requested that all concerns be submitted in writing. As Mowery directed attendees to speak with city staff at an array of poster stations, disparaging comments were uttered by attendees: “this is ridiculous” and “we’re like sitting ducks”  – apparently by neighbors opposed to the bikeway.

In mid-2016, when the completed portions of the Expo bike path open, LADOT plans an “interim detour” sharrowed bike route on Northvale Road from Overland Avenue to Motor Avenue. This route avoids nearby heavily-trafficked streets, but is not great for bicycling as it is rather hilly close to Motor Avenue.

The final gap closure bikeway will run in a relatively flat alignment, just north of the Metro Expo Line tracks. There were three design options presented, described after the jump below. Read more…

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Downtown L.A. Celebrates New Parklet On Hope Street

Ribbon Cutting

This morning’s Hope Street Parklet ribbon cutting. Left to right: Tony Chou of CoCo Fresh, Mack Urban CEO Paul Keller, L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds, and Jessica Lall Executive Director of the South Park BID. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

People Street meets Hope Street.

Just over a hundred people attended the grand opening of Los Angeles’ newest parklet, located on Hope Street just below 11th Street in the downtown L.A. neighborhood of South Park.

In case you are not familiar with the term, a parklet is a mini-park that replaces a parking space or two. Though it is an informal practice all around the world, the concept got its start in San Francisco. L.A. County’s first parklet was in Long Beach. Now they have spread to Huntington Park, East L.A., Northeast L.A., and other parts of downtown.

The latest parklet is actually the first to come to completion under the official LADOT People St program where communities can request parklets, plazas, and bike corrals. People St projects require a community partner; this one was shepherded by South Park Business Improvement District.

South Park is changing dramatically, with a great deal of new high-rise residential development open, and more on the way. The parklet’s Hope Street block has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past couple years. What had been just an anonymous parking structure added ground floor retail. The BID repaired the sidewalks and replaced the street trees. Now the parklet extends the already walkable, inviting atmosphere.

Enjoy the photo essay of today’s opening celebration – after the jump.  Read more…

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Closing the Exposition Bikeway Northvale Gap, Meeting Next Week

LADOT is responsible for bike lanes and other road markings for this area connecting the Expo Bike Paths in Phase 1 and Phase 2. Recently, the city announced it has no timeline on when this bikeway will be completed.

The Expo Line bike path will soon extend east and west of this 0.7-mile “Northvale Gap.”

When Metro’s 6.6-mile Expo Line opens in mid-2016, the parallel Expo bikeway will open too.

Except where it won’t.

Two stretches of Expo bike path under construction are nearing completion. Unfortunately there is a 0.7-mile gap between them. Next week the city of L.A. will host a meeting to receive input on plans to close the gap, which parallels Northvale Road. Meeting details after the jump.

Here are the two sections of Expo Line bikeway nearing completion:

  1. Venice Boulevard to Motor Avenue: This 1.2-mile stretch includes two components. On the east end, located just south of the 10 Freeway, there will be a 0.7-mile bike path extending from Venice Boulevard (across the street from Culver City Station) to Palms Boulevard/National Boulevard (across from Palms Station). West of Palms Station, the bikeway is on the streets for a half mile. This includes National Boulevard (with a very short stretch of bike lanes) and Motor Avenue.
  2. Overland Avenue to Colorado Avenue: This 3.5-mile stretch is all off-street bike path, extending from Cheviot Hills to downtown Santa Monica. Like the Orange Line and other bike paths, there are a handful of places where cyclists cross perpendicular streets, but both bikes and trains run in the old rail right-of-way. The eastern terminus of the path is at Overland Avenue, near the Westwood Station. The western terminus is at 17th Street Station in Santa Monica, where cyclists can connect with the city of Santa Monica’s bike networks, including bike lanes on 17th Street, Broadway, and Arizona Avenue, and the Michigan Avenue Greenway.

Between those two segments – about 0.7 miles from Motor Avenue to Overland Avenue – is the Northvale Gap.  Read more…

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Hit-and-Run Claims Life of Beloved Nun. We Must Do Better, Los Angeles.

The success of Vision Zero hinges on us, as a society, pledging not to be the equivalent of this lady: someone who is too focused on her own needs (eating pizza) to care about the safety of others. Screenshot of video found at DNAinfo.com

The success of Vision Zero, while requiring better design and enforcement, also hinges on us, as a society, pledging not to be the equivalent of this pizza-eating New Yorker: too focused on our own needs to be concerned about the woman we saw crushed under an SUV (seen parked on the sidewalk at the top of the image). (Screenshot of video found at DNAinfo.com)

On Sunday, Raquel Diaz, a sister with the Los Angeles Archdiocese, succumbed to her injuries. She was seventy years old.

The beloved Boyle Heights nun was crossing Evergreen Avenue at Winter Street at 5:20 p.m. on December 13 when she was run down by a driver in a white, four-door Nissan or Toyota.

The loss of someone who had been such an integral member of the community for more than 30 years has devastated those who knew her.

But residents are angry, too.

The intersection where she was struck is one they have complained about for years. Drivers have long sped through that intersection, seemingly unconcerned that the street’s incline limits visibility precisely at Winter Street — a key crossing for families moving back and forth between the church and the school.

The road diet the street has had for some time (north of Cesar Chavez) seems to have done little to slow it down. Evergreen is one of the few streets that offers drivers a straight shot between Wabash and 4th Street, allowing them to connect more easily with City Terrace or the southern end of Boyle Heights. So, drivers of delivery trucks and private vehicles alike tend to run it like it is a gauntlet, doing their best to avoid having to stop for the lone stoplight at Malabar (halfway between Wabash and Cesar Chavez).

As one of the few connective streets on the eastern side of Boyle Heights, traffic along Evergreen can move quite fast. (Google maps)

As one of the few connective streets on the eastern side of Boyle Heights, traffic along Evergreen can move quite fast despite being rather narrow. (Google maps)

Potential fixes?

Street design and other amenities surely have a role to play in making this street safer. Pedestrian lighting would do much to improve visibility at night. Stop signs interspersed between Wabash and 4th would help slow the street down. So would flashing lights at Winter, Blanchard, and Boulder — three intersections with crosswalks linking pedestrians to a school, a church, and a local market. Flashing lights would be especially helpful at Winter, as the yellow crosswalk there is both awkwardly located (thanks to the hill) and harder to see at night than a white crosswalk.

Councilmember Jose Huizar issued a statement Monday afternoon that also suggested more lighting and better visibility could improve conditions at Winter, and stated that he would “advocate that those improvements be implemented as soon as possible.”

His support for such fixes is vital; without it, the likelihood of improvements coming to the street any time soon is probably not great. Read more…

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Eyes On the Street: Safer Striping At Silver Lake Blvd And Temple St

New striping and bollards makes the Silver Lake Boulevard at Temple Street a bit more livable. All photos: Joe Linton

New striping and bollards make the Silver Lake Boulevard at Temple Street a bit more livable. All photos: Joe Linton

Kudos to L.A. City Transportation Department’s (LADOT) for implementing another small livability and safety improvement. Last weekend, I came across a new striping configuration located at the intersection of Silver Lake Boulevard and Temple Street. These streets cross but do not quite intersect as Temple Street goes above on a 1934 grade-separation bridge, originally intended to reduce congestion on Silver Lake Blvd.

The area is immediately south of the 101 Freeway, so it suffers from the blight that tends to surround L.A. freeways: pollution, noise, speeding, homelessness. Drivers speed on their way on and off the freeway. Homeless people often occupy the neglected spaces.

It is not a heavy pedestrian usage area, but people do walk there, especially with an adjacent charter school, Camino Nuevo High School, recently opened. The Rampart Village Neighborhood Council worked with City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell to spruce up the space, adding the modest Historic Filipinotown Western Gateway project last year.

Drivers going east on Silver Lake tend to accelerate up the on-ramp type connector road, then whip around the corner onto eastbound Temple. This makes me look out when I frequently bicycle east staying on Silver Lake, watching out for cars merging onto Temple across my path. With the recent improvements, drivers must slow down a bit, and make nearly a full-on right turn to get on to Temple. The pedestrian crossing distance is reduced.

LADOT’s bollards there are already bruised, apparently inattentive drivers are still speeding dangerously.

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The view eastbound on Silver Lake Boulevard post-improvements. Drivers slow down to make the right turn onto the ramp street up to Temple Street.

Read more…

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Eyes On the Street: Scramble Crosswalks Debut At Hollywood And Highland

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A big X marks the spot: pedestrians scramble yesterday at the newly revamped intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

It may be one of those made-up statistics, but there is a repeated truism that millions of people visit Hollywood Boulevard every year, and they spend an average of about fifteen minutes there. Sure, there are the Walk of Fame, some beautiful historic theaters and other noble buildings, Metro Red Line subway stops, costumed performers, street musicians… but Hollywood Boulevard is mostly tacky souvenir shops, museums in name only, and sad restaurants one would never return to, all along a massive car-choked stroad.

Despite millions of tourists milling around on foot, there is no place to sit, or to hang out. There are hardly even places to shoot respectable selfies.

All that has not changed overnight, but the city implemented a pedestrian upgrade yesterday at Hollywood’s most prominent intersection: Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Department of Transportation (LADOT) General Manager Seleta Reynolds, a marching band, and tens of thousands of pedestrians (most of whom just happened to be passing through) opened the city’s latest pedestrian scramble crosswalks.

Similar to intersections in downtown Pasadena, fronting USC and UCLA, and elsewhere, Hollywood pedestrians can now cross diagonally during a phase when all cars are stopped. The upgrade is part of the city’s inter-departmental Vision Zero improvements program, in which L.A. has committed to ending all traffic fatalities over the next ten years.

Hollywood and Highland

Lights. Camera. Scramble.

Read more…

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Variable-Priced L.A. Express Park Expands to Westwood

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Map of the L.A. Express Park system for Westwood. Image via L.A. Express Park

At a press event yesterday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Paul Koretz celebrated the expansion of L.A. Express Park to Westwood.

Westwood has long had a reputation for being a difficult area to park. Express Park should, over time, make finding a parking space there easier. This is good for number of reasons, including reducing traffic congestion exacerbated by drivers “cruising” for a parking space. A study that appears in Donald Shoup’s The High Cost of Free Parking found that, during peak hours, 68 percent of Westwood drivers were cruising for parking.

For readers unfamiliar with L.A. Express Park, it is a “performance-based parking” pricing program. These programs are also sometimes called “variable-price parking” or “demand-based parking.” The way it works is that the city monitors how full on-street parking spaces are, then adjusts parking meter prices with a goal of keeping between 70 and 90 percent of spaces occupied. On blocks where less than 70 percent of meters are occupied, hourly rates are made cheaper. On blocks where it is very difficult to find an open space, hourly rates are made more expensive. Meter rates also vary by the time of day and the day of the week.

Express Park was initially implemented in downtown Los Angeles in 2012. The program manages about 6,300 curb parking spaces there. Initial expansions include this week’s roughly 500 spaces in Westwood and about 900 spaces in Hollywood, expected around 2017. The Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee recently directed L.A.’s Transportation Department (LADOT) to look into accelerating Express Park implementation in Hollywood, Venice, the USC area, and eventually to all parking meters citywide.  Read more…

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Parking Reforms Advanced By L.A. City Council Transportation Committee

Parking reform will likely including citywide expansion of L.A. Express Park

Parking reform will likely including citywide expansion of L.A. Express Park

As expected, a suite of far-ranging parking reforms was heard by the Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The committee was broadly receptive to the reforms, directing the city’s Transportation Department (LADOT) and other departments to further investigate a number of key reforms. What was perhaps most revealing was individual city councilmember attention to specific parking issues.

As previewed earlier this week, the reforms were proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group in a report [PDF] entitled “Proposals for Parking Reform in the City of Los Angeles.” They include:

  1. Dedicate all parking revenue for mobility and parking purposes only
  2. Change zoning code to address problems created by minimum parking requirements
  3. End handicap placard abuse
  4. Expand use of performance-based pricing
  5. Charge drivers for only the amount of time parked
  6. Charge tiered fines for parking tickets
  7. Adopt a freight parking program
  8. Re-evaluate street cleaning parking restrictions
  9. Re-evaluate Preferential Parking Districts (PPDs)
  10. Use technology to improve parking

None of the proposals were at a point where the committee could just vote to put them into effect immediately. Instead, largely at the direction of Transportation Committee chair Mike Bonin, numerous items are moving forward with departments evaluating them and reporting back to future Transportation Committee meetings.

The committee moved forward with the following reforms, numbered as they are above:

1. Dedicate all parking revenue for mobility and parking purposes only

In city parlance, a dedicated fund is called an “Enterprise Fund” (as opposed to the General Fund.) Bonin and the committee directed LADOT and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to report on the benefits and costs of establishing a Parking Enterprise Fund, including a proposal for a pilot that would return a portion of local meter revenue to the locations where it was generated for transportation improvements.

Additionally on a separate but related item, the committee laid the groundwork for using city parking revenue to finance expansion of Express Park, a “Code the Curb” inventory (see 10 below), and a pilot enterprise fund.

Councilmember Jose Huizar asked a couple of questions on how a Parking Enterprise Fund could be targeted toward improvements specifically in the areas that generate the revenues.

4. Expand use of performance-based pricing

L.A. already does variable or performanced-based pricing as part of L.A. Express Park, which has been in effect for most of downtown Los Angeles for a few years, and is expanding to Westwood later this year. Bonin and the committee directed LADOT to report back on what is needed to accelerate Express Park implementation for Venice, Expo/USC, Hollywood, and to expand it to all parking metered streets “citywide.”

7. Adopt a freight parking program Read more…