USC Gets a Village, Jefferson Boulevard Gets a Bike Lane

A look at the current (top) and planned (bottom) Jefferson Boulevard from a presentation prepared by Fehr & Pehrs

The Village at USC, a 5.23 million square foot mixed use development being programmed by the University of Southern California, is back in the news. Yesterday, Blog Downtown examined how the retail plans for the project could impact the Downtown. But the project could also have a major impact on the car parking in the area both in the garages that will be developed and on Jefferson Boulevard.

As you can see on the design above, a ten foot sidewalk and twelve foot parking lane will be replaced with a seventeen foot sidewalk and six foot bicycle lane. The new configuration would run for about a mile on Jefferson between Figueroa Street and Vermont Avenue. There are now bike lanes in the area, the new Expo Bike Lanes just south of Jefferson on Exposition Boulevard.  The Jefferson lanes promise improvement.  They are planned to be both wider and better placed on the street.

There is a benefit to pedestrians in the project area as well. The current road configuration has 80′ of asphalt between the sidewalks creating a wide barrier for anyone looking to cross the street. By widening the sidewalk, the crossing distance by fourteen feet and twelve of the remaining 66 feet are bike lanes which are a lot easier to cross and have much lower crash rates than mixed use travel lanes.

Hearings for the project are tentatively scheduled for the end of the year and Streetsblog will announce them when they’re scheduled. There’s a lot of issues that need to be addressed beyond transportation such as affordable housing, impacts on the existing community and other issues related to construction. But for now, The Village also brings promise of a more Livable Jefferson Boulevard.

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