Take Back The Boulevard

Eagle Rock, CA

November 13, 2014
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Take Back the Boulevard Update – November 9, 2014

Although the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan document has been completed, many of the enhancements to the Boulevard included in the document, especially those between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Eagle Rock Plaza, have yet to be delivered.  The Steering Committee’s primary focus is now on the western segment of the Boulevard, continuing the work to make Colorado Boulevard a complete street – one that safe and accessible for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users.

Identifying funding sources to make further enhancements to the Boulevard will be the major goal of the Steering Committee for the immediate future.  Funding for enhancements, such as those listed below, will be our major focus.

  • Traffic Signals
  • Bus Stop Amenities (furniture, shade, trash cans, sidewalk cleaning, etc.)
  • Lighting, especially pedestrian-oriented
  • Pedestrian refuge islands in medians
  • Turn pockets in new and existing medians
  • New medians on Colorado Boulevard, west of Eagle Rock Boulevard
  • Bump-outs (curb extensions), especially where they would facilitate pedestrians in the area of bus stops.
  • New median treatment at Trader Joe’s which will force right turns with a u-turn opportunity further east on Colorado.
  • “Way to Signage” such as “Welcome to Eagle Rock” monuments
  • New cross-walks, especially in the area of bus stops.

“Activating” the Boulevard, making it safer and more welcoming to all types of traffic, especially pedestrians, is another goal of Take Back the Boulevard.  One of the techniques to activate a street is to highlight buildings of distinction, especially with night lighting.  The rehabilitation of Eagle Rock City Hall, including new landscaping and new night lighting, will be celebrated this month.  Attempts will be made to highlight other Colorado Boulevard Buildings of distinction in the future.

April 7, 2014
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Take Back the Boulevard Update – April 7, 2014

One of the hopes of this initiative was to further improve the pedestrian welcome to the Boulevard by installing parklets.  It was also hoped that municipal money and/or grants would be available to support the cost of the construction. It remains one of our hopes.  However, there is little available in public funds at this time.  The limited resources that do exist will more likely be secured by neighborhoods with a lower average income.  People Streets is an organization that provides consulting and guidance for those who are interested in moving forward with a parklet close to their business.  Links to Parklet Guides developed by People Streets are listed below.

Introducing People St

Parklet Application Manual

Kit of Parts for Parklets

 

 

 

March 6, 2014
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Take Back the Boulevard Update – March 5, 2014

Los Angeles – Great Streets Initiative
With these introductory words, Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the great Streets Initiative:

Los Angeles must carefully consider how to leverage and invest our scarce resources, and we must strategically coordinate our investments in a manner that has the most meaningful impact on the City and its residents.  Our street network stretches 6,500 centerline miles, making it the largest municipal street system in the United States.  As the City’s largest public space asset, covering approximately 13% of our land area, streets reflect and drive the economic and social vibrancy of our neighborhoods.  Accordingly, I am launching the City of Los Angeles Great Streets Initiative.  This Initiative will focus on developing Great Streets that activate the public realm, provide economic revitalization, and support great neighborhoods Goals.

TBTB’s long term goal to implement medians on Colorado Boulevard between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Sierra Villa Drive is fully in synch with the Mayor’s Great Streets city-wide program.  Over and over Eagle Rockers have understood the benefits of medians when they have campaigned for better maintenance of the existing Colorado Boulevard medians east of Eagle Rock Boulevard.  New medians west of Eagle Rock Boulevard will offer safety benefits including traffic calming and more pedestrian crossing refuge areas.  The varied and attractive shopping alternatives found east of Eagle Rock Boulevard is more likely to spread to the west as the Boulevard is made more pedestrian friendly.

The hope for new medians, which was included in José Huizar’s address at the recent State of the Town meeting, is an expensive goal.  The estimated cost of a new median is $1,000 per foot, well above $100,000 per block.  TBTB will send an appeal to the Great Streets Initiative requesting that our goal be included in those financially supported in 2015.  It is hoped that the comprehensive vision plan that is already developed will provide a compelling argument for including our community in the 2015 funding approvals.

August 18, 2013
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Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan Introduction – September 29, 2013

From the very beginning this initiative was focused on the larger vision of how Colorado Boulevard could be improved.  Although many often viewed TBTB as strictly a bike line oriented effort, the goal has always been to improve how Colorado Boulevard serves the community in a large variety of ways.  These goals and aspirations are now comprehensively documented in the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan, a new document that provides a long-term road map, beyond the reduction of travel lanes and the implementation of bike lanes, detailing how the Boulevard can continue to be improved.

On Sunday, September 29 at 2PM, Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock / 2250 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, the TBTB Team invites the community to join us as we roll-out the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan, a long-range document that details a broad range of improvements to the Boulevard that were identified by Eagle Rockers in the many community meetings held for the last two years.

May 28, 2013
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Take Back the Boulevard – Update May 27, 2013

Help Make it Safer:

Early on in the Take Back the Boulevard Initiative process the community identified making Colorado a safer boulevard as a primary goal.  Abundant evidence exists indicating that slowing down or “calming” traffic is a well-proven technique to make a street safer.  Removing a traffic lane and installing a bike lane are two of the strategies that are being considered to slow down the Boulevard.  Many prior meeting participants have rightly pointed out that if this change is not done correctly, new safety concerns could be introduced.  Responding to those and other similar concerns, on June 3, our Councilmember, José Huizar is hosting a community meeting at which there will be an opportunity to participate in a dialog on how to optimize the future design of Colorado Boulevard.  More details regarding the meeting are provided below.  Please participate and be part of the effort to make Colorado the best Main Street it can be for Eagle Rock.

 

Council District 14

Community Meeting – Colorado Blvd. Bike and Traffic Improvement Plan – June 3, 7PM at Center for the Arts,

2225 Colorado Boulevard. LA 90041

 

Residents and neighbors,
It has been two months since Council District 14, in partnership with the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, The Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce and The Eagle Rock Association, hosted the Colorado Boulevard Bike Town Hall Meeting at Occidental College. Since then, the proposal for bike lanes on Colorado has been the topic of many conversations.

After listening to many comments and points of view, one of the biggest concerns of people from all perspectives is the safety of those who live, work and visit Eagle Rock. For this reason, CD 14 asked LADOT to address some of the specific safety and traffic flow concerns community members have suggested to improve Colorado Boulevard for all those who use it.

We do believe community input is critical and want to set up one more meeting to hear your thoughts and concerns on LADOT’s latest plan.

LADOT will present their findings with adjusted designs for your perusal at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 3, 2013, at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts.

Your input is critical to this process and we invite you to view and comment on LADOT’s revised Colorado Boulevard Bike Lane proposal.

LADOT and Councilmember Huizar will be present to answer any questions you have. If you need further information, please call the CD 14 Northeast office at (323) 254-5295.

May 14, 2013
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TBTB Update – May 10, 2013

Occidental College, CERB and Boulevard Merchants Say Yes to a New Colorado Boulevard: Take Back the Boulevard is focused on the broad agenda of making Colorado Boulevard work better for everyone including businesses.  A more equitable sharing of the Boulevard by motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists is an important goal.  Making the Boulevard feel and function more like a small-town main street is an aspiration that benefits everyone.  Improving the safety of the street, which currently has a concerning safety record, is something that virtually all of the community wants to see accomplished.  Promoting an attractive business environment is definitely part of the plan.

Recently letters of support for the reduction of travel lanes and the introduction of bike lanes were received from Occidental College, Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful and over 40 supportive Colorado Boulevard merchants.  More support is still coming in.  Supportive merchants understand the advantages of traffic moving more slowly by their establishments rather than whizzing by with no awareness of the businesses located on the Boulevard.  Naturally, there are merchants who want no changes to be made to the Boulevard, they like it just the way it is.

Some business benefits have already been implemented.  Improved signage was installed making the availability of the Caspar / Merton municipal lot more visible.  Many under-utilized parking meters on the north side of the Boulevard have been changed to allow two hour parking, enough time for a haircut or a lunch.  Once the traffic lanes have been reduced to two lanes in each direction, it will be easier to cross the boulevard, further facilitating the use of parking on both sides of the boulevard.  It will also be much easier and safer to back into a parking space on Colorado through a bike lane rather than a traffic lane.  Too often today, honking horns begin the minute a driver stops to back into a space, encouraging the driver to abandon the space.  Because of the greater distance between the sidewalk and the traffic lanes, the pedestrian experience and sidewalk dining will be more pleasant.  Many Occidental College students rely on the bike-share program at the college.  We can expect them to be more present as customers as a result of the new bike lanes.

A natural concern is what will happen to traffic?  Colorado currently experiences less traffic than the six lanes were supposed to support.  This fact will moderate the traffic impact.  An important safety goal is to reduce the speed on the Boulevard – we do want it to move slower.  But fears that block long traffic jams throughout the day are unfounded.  Making a left turn is another concern that has been voiced.  The good news is that, although early in the design process, the Department of Transportation indicates, because bike lanes are not as wide as a traffic lane, the center turn lane will be made wider to making it easier for a turning vehicle to exit the traffic lane as it waits to make the turn.

The support for the initiative at the recent Department of Transportation and the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council meetings provided further proof that there is considerable backing for transforming the Boulevard.  Kudos to all those in Eagle Rock who have the vision and are looking to the future, ready to help prepare our great community for the next generations of Eagle Rockers.

May 14, 2013
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TBTB Update – April 15, 2013

Bike Lanes are coming: From when I began writing this newsletter a recurring theme has been that you can make a difference. I am so happy to report that once again Eagle Rockers did get involved, they made their opinions known, and they made a difference. I applaud all, including those who did not share my passion for bike lanes, for getting involved, attending meetings, sending emails, sharing your views in blogs on Patch, etc. You made a difference, supporting a change that will transform downtown Eagle Rock.

A few days ago, at an Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Meeting (ERNC), the vast majority of attendees (mostly Eagle Rockers) said “yes” to bike lanes and the Council listened. As a result of the strong support the Council voted to send a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) in support of buffered bike lanes for Colorado Boulevard. Again at the DOT meeting held the previous week, attended by more than 100, a strong majority of the attendees expressed support for bike lanes on Colorado. Finally, for more than two years Take Back the Boulevard sponsored a series community meetings attended by more than 300 attendees. The need to slow traffic down on Colorado and doing that by changing one traffic lane in each direction to a bike lane again and again was affirmed by both meeting participants and 280 respondents to an on-line survey. If you attended a meeting, contributed to a blog, wrote emails in support or opposition, or in any other active way joined the conversation, pat yourself on the back. You got on the playing field and you made your voice heard and you made a difference!

When are the bike lanes going to happen is the obvious next question. The Department of Transportation has hinted that they may be implemented by June, 2013. However, I would not consider that a firm commitment. Like most things, it is more complicated than simply changing the stripes on the road; the stripes need to go in the right places. Engineering studies will need to be completed, detailing how bike lanes can be optimally implemented on the Boulevard. Some of the things the plans will need to consider are pedestrian crossings, the responsibility to support traffic movement, and to place the bikers at the lowest level of risk possible. Below you will find more information on what’s next after bike lanes.

The Road We Have Traveled

Re-purposing a traffic lane to a buffered bike lane on Colorado Boulevard is a key component of the plan to make Colorado Boulevard the Main Street that better serves the entire community. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) plan to consider for bike lanes on Colorado is part of a city-wide master plan, developed before Take Back the Boulevard’s (TBTB’s) existence. However, had there been strong community resistance to the plan, bike lanes in Eagle Rock could have been in jeopardy. TBTB’s key contribution is best represented by extensive community outreach for the last couple of years. Those meetings were not based on “pro” or “con” positions for bike lanes or anything else, but encouraged a collegial discussion of all possibilities. As a result of TBTB’s extensive community dialog, when the DOT came to our neighborhood there were many stakeholders who had participated in the TBTB discussions, they understood the benefits that fewer traffic lanes and new bike lanes would bring to Eagle Rock, and they spoke in support of the DOT plan at both the DOT and the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council meetings. It is true and logical that many who spoke in support were bikers who live in and around Eagle Rock. They are stakeholders as much as anyone else. After all, if the meetings were about dog parks, wouldn’t you expect dog owners to be well represented?

The focus of the initiative now moves on to other changes to the Boulevard that will further contribute to the goals of safety, greater pedestrian appeal, and create a Main Street atmosphere that is attracts businesses and patrons. Additional cross walks are being pursued with the DOT. Bumpouts, parklets, and other streetscape amenities will also be pursued. Whereas funding already existed for the bike lanes, TBTB will be required to secure funding to support further Boulevard improvements. An important part of the process of seeking funding is the ability to provide an overall vision of the goals for the Boulevard. Albeit not as quickly as I had hoped, preparation of the Master Vision Document, which provides that vision, is progressing and should be ready for distribution soon.