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Earlier this morning, Council President Eric Garcetti, department heads from the Department of Public Works, CALTRANS, LADOT and Metro joined the community surrounding Bimini Place and the Los Angeles Eco-Village to celebrate the completion of the East Hollywood Shared Street Project at a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The goal of the project, funded by Metro, was to improve access to transit centers on Vermont Street. The project met that goal and more. Bimini is now a street redesigned to give pedestrians and residents equal status with the cars, trucks and buses that rumble down this small throughway. Colorful street art marks the crosswalks, new macadamia saplings separate the street from the sidewalk, and pedestrians walk comfortably on new sidewalks.

The project, or as Eco-Village founder Lois Arkin calls it "Phase 1 of making Bimini a car-free street," runs on Bimini Place between 1st Street and 2nd Street. To redesign the street, DPW installed bump-outs at intersections, replaced concrete with a permeable surface on sidewalks on the west side of the street, planted new trees and landscape plantings, and relocated a street light. Garcetti's office has secured funding to replace the sidewalks on the east side of Bimini Pl. and the Eco-Village earned a separate grant for maintenance of the sidewalks.

The ceremony commenced across the street from the Eco-Village with Garcetti giving a history of the project and urban design before declaring that "today we make sidewalks sexy again!" A parade of public officials and advocates followed Garcetti to the podium, each promising that Bimini Pl. would not be a shared street island in a sea of asphalt, but a model for other streets around the city.

Not coincidently, the next street to receive the "shared street" treatment will be Heliotrope Avenue between Oakwood and Rosewood Avenues. This part of Heliotrope is just south of the Bicycle Kitchen and the rest of Heliotropes bike attractions and is also in Garcetti's district. If you want a shared street in your community, there are two things you should do. First, contact your councilmember and tell them your vision for your local street. Second, contact Metro and tell them that you imagine shared streets in Los Angeles County and they should increase funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the Long Range Plan. The draft plan allocates less than 1% of the budget for the next 30 years for non-motorized travel.

For more information on the Eco-Village of the East Hollywood Shared Street Project, check back with L.A. Streetsblog next week, when Bimini Place is the focus of the first L.A. Street Film.

Photo: Damien Newton

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