A standing room only audience descended on the Fashion Institute of Design on South Grand Street to listen to a presentation from the embattled Community Redevelopment Agency for a ground breaking and popular proposal to transform the South Figueroa Corridor. When people discuss Los Angeles’ streets, they usually use terms such as “car-oriented” or “ugly.” The new South Figueroa, aka My Figueroa, would be a truly beautiful street designed for people to walk, bike wait for transit or just enjoy life outside as well as a way to shuffle cars from one area to another.
The South Figueroa Corridor Project covers three miles of South Figueroa from 41st Street to Seventh Street as well as a half mile of 11st Street between Figueroa and Broadway, a half mile of Martin Luther King (MLK) Boulevard just south of Exposition Park, and a half mile of Bill Robertson Boulevard from into Exposition Park starting at MLK Boulevard. While there are different proposals being studied for each part of the corridor, Oliver Schultze, from the world-renowned Gehl Architects in Copenhagen, promised that every part of the corridor would see some sort of improvement.
The project team offered three proposals for different sections of Figueroa, a “good,” “better,” and “best” options. Whether a segment qualifies for good, better, or best depends on the amount of funding available and the current level of street life in the segment. The good option consisted of an eight foot separated bike lane traveling the length of the corridor in each direction, an eighteen inch separator, car parking and bus bump outs, and a transit only lane for buses and streetcars. In addition to creating a safe place for cyclists, removing them from car traffic and the sidewalk, it also created a 22 foot buffer between the sidewalk and the first regular vehicle travel lane.
As Joe Linton noted from the audience, “I love that protected bike lanes are the base proposal.” Figueroa street would be the first street in Los Angeles to feature protected bike lanes. In fact, no city in Los Angeles County has these special bike lanes, although Long Beach is adding some as we speak. Read more…