I have to be honest. If the My Figueroa project ends up fulfilling its mission of designing a people-friendly Figueroa Street from the southwest corner of Exposition Park to Downtown Los Angeles only by adding a couple of trees and repainting the crosswalks, I'll be extremely disappointed.
The project team raised expectations by encouraging participants to last September's community meetings to consider improvements to the corridor such as separated bike lanes and scramble crosswalks. Then, in addition to partnering with Streetsblog Board Member Deborah Murphy, they announced that the architects for the project were the world renowned Gehl Architects out of Copenhagen.
Now, via a flier announcing February's outreach meetings, they've released their first proposed sketches for the corridor. Instead of five through traffic lanes, a planted median and some street parking, let's look at the street that's proposed in the picture above. Instead of five lanes of yuck and some trees, I see two lanes of through traffic, a dedicated transit lane, a pedestrian plaza, a lane for local and bicycle traffic and then restaurant seating. What a change that would be...
In short, this is a street that would serve people regardless of their favored mode of transportation. If this plan comes through, South Figueroa will be Los Angeles' first true complete street. Generally, once cities get one street that looks like the one pictured above, residents from the rest of the city start asking "what about us?"
Streetsblog spent a lot of time in 2010 discussing how the culture of the city was starting to change. If this project ever becomes a reality, then the change isn't just coming. It will have arrived.