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Eyes on the Street: North Hollywood Station Underpass Nears Completion

North Hollywood Station's new above-ground structures, as viewed from the Red Line Station. The new North Hollywood tunnel is due to open August 2016. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

North Hollywood Station’s new above-ground structures, as viewed from across Lankershim Boulevard last week. The new North Hollywood underpass is due to open this August. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro’s new tunnel connecting North Hollywood’s Red Line and Orange Line stations is looking nearly complete. According to Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero, the project is anticipated to open next month. Per Metro [PDF] the tunnel will save riders approximately 44 seconds on transfers between the Red and Orange Lines.

The Red Line station’s fare gates and fences have been reconfigured. The above-ground structures for the escalators and elevator seem nearly done. Riders who poke their heads around the construction fence can see that the tunnel itself, while still a construction site, appears almost ready for pedestrian traffic.

More photos after the jump.  Read more…

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Pacoima’s Van Nuys Blvd To Receive Upgrade, Protected Bike Lane This Summer

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Before and after cross-sections for Van Nuys Boulevard. Source: Great Streets concept proposal [PDF]

A stretch of Van Nuys Boulevard in Pacoima will receive an extensive safety upgrade this summer. Under the leadership of Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative, and the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT), the 0.8-miles of Van Nuys Blvd. between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and San Fernando Road will receive a road diet. Traffic will be reduced by one lane; bike lanes will be added, including a southbound parking-protected bike lane.

Councilmember Fuentes expects that the project “not only help address safety concerns for all users of the corridor but will hopefully bring new energy to the boulevard where people can come together to enjoy the food, art and culture that Van Nuys Blvd has to offer.”

The Van Nuys Blvd Safety Improvement Project concept proposal [PDF] was presented at a mid-April community forum. The proposal makes the case for safety improvements on Van Nuys Blvd, which is on the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network: 6 percent of L.A. streets where 65 percent of all deaths and severe injuries take place.

According to statistics cited in the proposal, a city speed survey found 19 percent of drivers speeding. This contributes to higher rates of vehicle crashes resulting in death and severe injury to drivers and others. Since 2011, this stretch of Van Nuys Blvd. has experienced 57 crashes that injured pedestrians and/or cyclists, which is four times the citywide average.

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Van Nuys Boulevard experiences unsafe levels of car collisions leading to deaths and injuries to drivers. Source: Great Streets concept proposal [PDF]

Max Podemski, Planning Director for Pacoima Beautiful, expects that the project “will go a long way in humanizing Van Nuys Boulevard.” Podemski echoes the safety issues highlighted by the city, stating “Many residents have been hit by cars trying to cross the street or know people who have. Most residents walk and wait for the bus along it. The changes proposed by the city will make the street more responsive to the ways people are currently using it.”
Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: Universal City Ped Bridge Nearly Ready For Its Close-Up

Metro's new Universal City bridge is nearly complete. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro’s new Universal City bridge will be finished in a month. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Universal Studios is a month away from the April 7 grand opening for their new Harry Potter attraction “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” CEO Phil Washington has pledged that Metro will serve Harry Potter fans by completing its $27 million pedestrian bridge connecting the Metro Red Line Universal City Station with Universal Studios.

The project, officially the Universal City/Studio City Station Pedestrian Bridge Project, crosses Lankershim Boulevard. It “[f]acilitates access to all 3 corners of Lankershim and Campo de Cahuenga intersection.” That intersection, of course, has four intersections. The one corner that the bridge misses just happens to serve a half dozen bus lines. The bridge may make pedestrian crossings a little safer, but, by doing away with streetside foot traffic, it signals a wholesale surrender from making street-level Lankershim anything other than a car-choked stroad.

Last week, the overall structure of the bridge was looking nearly complete, but a lot of final construction tasks were still underway. More pictures after the jump.  Read more…

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CicLAvia XVI Open Thread: CicLAvia in Panorama City, Arleta, Pacoima

Kids take to the streets in Pacoima, during yesterday's CicLAvia. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Kids take to the streets in Pacoima during yesterday’s CicLAvia. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Each open streets event is excellent, and each has its own variations. Yesterday, L.A.’s 16th CicLAvia touched down in the north San Fernando Valley communities of Pacoima, Arleta, and Panorama City.

As I mentioned in a preview, this was the first CicLAvia without a Metro rail station on the route, though there were still plenty of ways to get there, including special Metrolink service.

I would guesstimate that this “CicLAvia – The Valley” route looked perhaps 30 to 40 percent less crowded than a “Heart of Los Angeles” downtown L.A. CicLAvia. There were tens of thousands of people out enjoying themselves, but with a less central location combined with wider roadways, the crowds looked a bit thinner.

What was fun, though, was that it looked like lots of neighbors made their way out into the streets. People hung out in front of apartment buildings, some on narrow lawns, some sitting on the curb. Families walked, strollered, scootered, and bicycled; there were lots of small girls and boys on bikes with training wheels, with parents walking behind. From tax preparers to restaurants, local businesses spilled out into the streets.

How was your CicLAvia day, readers? How did you get to yesterday’s CicLAvia? Let us know in the comments below.

More photos (and upcoming open streets dates) after the jump.  Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: New Green Bike Lane Merge Zones on Vineland Avenue

New green bike lane merge zones on Vineland Avenue just south of the 134 Freeway. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

New green merge zones on Vineland Avenue at the 134/170 Freeways. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The Vineland Avenue bike lanes got a little greener this week. The L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT) gave several merge zones a coat of “fresh Kermit.”

The Vineland Avenue bike lanes run from Ventura Boulevard to Burbank Boulevard in the southeast San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of Studio City, North Hollywood, and Toluca Lake – just east of the North Hollywood Red Line Station. There have been some issues with these lanes in the past, especially in the freeway-infested area where the 101, 134, and 170 Freeways intersect. In a 6-block stretch, between Aqua Vista Street and Hortense Street, the Vineland lanes cross two freeway on-ramps and two freeway off-ramps, with three additional freeway ramps just a block or two away on Moorpark Street and Riverside Drive. Drivers merge into the bike lane and drive in it for blocks before turning; this results in clogging the bike lane, generally at commute hours.

According to Streetsblog reader Melissa Federowicz, LADOT had recently experimented, apparently unsuccessfully, with installing plastic bollards. This week the bollards came out and green paint went in.  Read more…

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Metro Saddles NoHo Station Redevelopment With $48M Parking Expansion

Metro's North Hollywood parcels, now up for possible redevelopment. Image via Metro

Metro’s North Hollywood parcels, now up for possible redevelopment. Image via Metro

In a recent post at The Source, Metro announced a new call for joint development at four large parcels of land at and adjacent to its North Hollywood Red and Orange Line Stations. Curbed L.A. reports that the NoHo parcels could include an estimated 750 to 1,500 units of housing, up to 12 stories tall. Hopefully, plenty of that housing will be affordable, based on Metro’s recently adopted joint development policies.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) will be a good thing for North Hollywood, for Metro, for Los Angeles. But is this truly TOD?

The issue here is parking.

Lots and lots and lots of parking.

The Source article completely misuses the term “replacement parking.”

The current NoHo lot has 957 spaces and another 194 spaces are in the process of being added on the north side of Chandler Avenue east of the current lot. Parking at NoHo Station is heavily used with most sites taken each morning and many NoHo riders say the parking makes it possible for them to take transit. If the current lots are developed, Metro plans to ask for 2,000 replacement spaces for transit riders in parking lots and/or garages to be constructed in addition to parking needed for residents and retail. That would almost double the current parking available at the station for Red Line and Orange Line riders.

What is “replacement parking”? When a development takes away existing parking, the developer may be required to replace parking spaces that have been taken away. Is asking for 2,000 spaces to replace 1,151 spaces credibly “replacement parking”? No. It’s a massive expansion. Cities and transit agencies (for example, BART [PDF]) generally require 1 to 1 replacement parking. Even 1 to 1 replacement hurts walkability, livability, and affordability.

Metro isn’t asking for replacement parking. It is asking for a massive parking expansion. A massively expensive parking expansion.

At an estimated cost of $24,000 per parking space in an elevated structure (amount from Don Shoup – and it will likely be upwards of $34,000 per space for any underground parking) then Metro is saddling this redevelopment with an up-front cost of $48 million, just for parking for Metro. As The Source mentions, that’s not counting additional parking for people who will live or shop there.  Read more…

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Filed Under: O Valley Bike Lane, Thou Art but a Vehicular Temptress

New bike infrastructure appears on Vineland in the Valley. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

New bike infrastructure appears on Vineland in the Valley. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

When the driver pulled in behind me in the new buffered bike lane along Vineland, I thought, OK, it’s a little weird, but he’s probably going to turn right or park.

A block and a half later I turned around again.

Nope, he’s still there and now he is waving at me like this is perfectly normal.

A block later, he finally turned right.

I would have chalked this up to the guy being lost or perhaps disoriented by the new stripes, except that this turned out to be a frequent occurrence on both of my visits to Vineland.

Drivers, impatient to get into the right lane, regularly drove several blocks to a quarter-mile in the bike lane all along the avenue. Where they were jumping the line of traffic to get to Riverside Dr. (below), they tended to do so at a very fast clip.

Even Prius drivers can't wait to get into the right lane. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Even Prius drivers can’t wait to get into the right lane. This driver entered the bike lane at about where the first tree shadow hits the road (bottom right). Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Turning right onto Riverside Dr. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

No car lane, no problem! Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

The eagerness of drivers to make use of the bike lanes may be somewhat puzzling to those that have followed the Valley striping saga. Read more…

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Photo Essay: Pacoima’s Opening Celebration For Bradley Plaza

Ribbon-cutting

L.A. City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes (left in light blue shirt) along with many others, including LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds, cut the ribbon to open Bradley Plaza. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Yesterday, the community of Pacoima celebrated the opening of the city of L.A.’s latest car-free space: Bradley Plaza. The plaza closes to cars one block of Bradley Avenue immediately east of Van Nuys Boulevard in the north San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Pacoima. The plaza is a product of the city Transportation Department’s (LADOT) innovative community-driven People St program. Through the People St program, community groups can apply for and receive local plazas, parklets, and bike corrals.

And, as with Leimert Park Village’s plaza, community groups are key in siting, designing, programming, and generally making these projects a success. The non-profit Pacoima Beautiful has been key in making Bradley Plaza happen, in raising funds for street furniture there, and is already looking toward additional seating and shading for the site.

Enjoy these photos that tell the story of yesterday’s celebrations, and give a small sense of how the plaza is already being embraced by the surrounding community.

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Two young girls share the durable lounge furniture.

Read more…

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City of L.A.’s First Parking-Protected Bike Lanes: Reseda Boulevard

New parking-protected bike lanes on Reseda Boulevard. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

New parking-protected bike lanes on Reseda Boulevard. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Yesterday, the city of Los Angeles installed its first ever parking-protected bike lanes. They’re on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge, part of the mayor’s Great Streets Initiative.

As of this morning, the project is roughly one-quarter complete. The new protected lanes, also known as cycletracks, are mostly complete on the west side of Reseda Blvd from Plummer Street to Prairie Street. The full one-mile protected lanes will go from Plummer to Parthenia Street.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-April.

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Standard bike lanes put cyclists between parked cars and moving cars. These protected lanes flip the parking and the bike lane, so cyclists are next to the curb, and parked cars and next to moving cars.

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Nearly every other pole along Reseda Boulevard features this sign explaining the new striping.

Read more…

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Reseda Boulevard Getting Its Great Street Improvements (Updated 5:30pm)

Reseda Boulevard now has parking-protected bike lanes! A Los Angeles first! Photo via @LADOTBikeProg Twitter

Reseda Boulevard now has parking-protected bike lanes! A Los Angeles first! Photo via @LADOTBikeProg Twitter

Update: LADOT Bicycle Program just tweeted photos of the Reseda Boulevard protected bike lanes! Woot! Wooooot! 

LA-Más crews spiffing up Reseda Boulevard sidewalks yesterday. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

LA-Más crews spiffing up Reseda Boulevard sidewalks yesterday. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Great Streets improvements are underway on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge.

Streetsblog previewed Reseda Blvd’s exciting upgrades last week. It is just one of fifteen priority streets identified for makeovers under Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative. The upgrades will extend one mile from Parthenia Street to Plummer Street. Kudos to Garcetti, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander, and the city’s Transportation Department (LADOT) for taking advantage of street resurfacing and the upcoming State of the City address to pilot some innovative new street designs in Reseda.

The big big big exciting news is that Reseda Blvd will, very very very soon, have the city of Los Angeles’ very first parking-protected bike lanes.

I took the train-BRT-bike trip to Northridge yesterday, hoping to witness and tweet the tectonic shift of parking spaces from sidewalk-smooching to sidewalk-arm’s-length. Unfortunately the parking-protected bike lane has not been striped. Yet.

Reseda's regular bike lanes are missing after re-surfacing, as LADOT converts them into protected bike lanes. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Reseda’s regular bike lanes are missing after re-surfacing, as LADOT converts them into protected bike lanes. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

I did notice that Reseda Boulevard’s striped median and inner travel lanes do appear a little narrower. So even if L.A.’s first mile of protected bike lanes is not there yet, it is clear that LADOT is making room for them.

This is your parents two-way turn median. Narrower median and turns preliminary striping on Reseda Boulevard. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This is not your parents two-way center turn median. Narrowed median and inner lanes preliminary striping on Reseda Boulevard. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Reseda Boulevard does have groovy new sidewalk patterns.  Read more…