Take Back The Boulevard

Eagle Rock, CA

November 9, 2015
by admin
Comments Off on TBTB – Phase II Announcing $2M Funding and Maybe More

TBTB – Phase II Announcing $2M Funding and Maybe More

Kudos to those who saw the glass as half full rather than half empty and went to work seeking further funding for Colorado Boulevard improvements. A huge thanks to all the optimists, listed below. Because of their efforts Take Back the Boulevard (TBTB) has received a $2M grant through the Metro Call for Projects program, dollars that will be used to further improve Colorado Boulevard and the quality of life in Eagle Rock. There is also reason for optimism regarding another grant alternative, the Active Transportation Program (ATP). If awarded to Eagle Rock, the ATP could provide an additional $9.5M, increasing the total to $11.5M for further Boulevard enhancements. More detail about that possibility below.

An important aspect of celebrating success is to recognize how it was achieved. The most crucial elements of TBTB’s success were the contributions made by the many Eagle Rockers who served on the TBTB Team, the unwavering support of Jose Huizar and his team, and the consultant expertise provided by Civic Enterprise. Other important contributions to this success are detailed next in the high level review of our process.

Successful community initiatives begin with community support, start-up funding, and people willing to do the work of pursuing a goal. In January 2011, the TERA Board voted to begin the pursuit of an initiative to improve the Colorado Boulevard experience, making it more consistent with the small-town nature of Eagle Rock. One month later TERA allocated $5,000 as start-up funding for TBTB. The Council Office enthusiastically signed on as a partner. In March 2011, community outreach began with a luncheon for Eagle Rock Community Leadership. In typical Eagle Rock fashion, people raised their hands to be part of the effort; and the TBTB Steering Committee was formed.

• Bob Gotham – Chair / TERA
• Bob Arranaga / ERCPR
• Brian Cawley / TERA
• Allen Compton / Consultant (pro bono)
• Nate Hayward / CD14
• Jeff Jacobberger / Civic Enterprise
• Kevin Ocubillo / CD14
• Mott Smith / Civic Enterprise
• Michael Tharp / Design Review Board
• Chloe Renee Ziegler / CERB.

Over time, as retiring members rotated off the team, the following individuals joined:

• Robert DePietro / Chamber of Commerce
• Matt Harrington / ERNC
• Marisa Spinella / ERNC
• Mark Vallianotos / Occidental College.

As chair of the TBTB Team, I hope that you will join me in thanking the extraordinary and generous group of people who worked to secure this Grant for Eagle Rock.

Over the next two years, over 40 community outreach meetings were held. The primary goals of the meetings were to encourage a community dialog on what residents liked, didn’t like, and more important, how they would like the Boulevard to be changed. Based on the two years of community feedback the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan was developed. This document, which may be viewed at this link, www.tera90041.org/colorado_blvd_vision_plan.aspx, reflects the ways in which the majority of the community felt the Boulevard could be changed to better serve Eagle Rock. Most of the changes related to safety.

The success of grant applications is often determined by how fully and how well the grant applicant details how funds would be spent should they be secured, as well as a demonstrated record of community outreach and participation. Civic Enterprise, the consultants engaged to support our efforts, provided excellent guidance and assistance in developing the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan. As they predicted, the existence of the Vision Plan was a key and decisive factor in acquiring the $2.5M grant.

The ability to move forward utilizing the Metro Call for Projects Grant funding is contingent on when the funds are released by Metro. The City has indicated a likely begin date for the project as January 2020. The specific enhancements that are implemented will be guided by the streetscape budget of $2.5M and the proposed enhancements included in the Grant Application.

In addition to TBTB’s Metro Call for Projects Grant Application, the City also applied for $9.5 million in funding under a State program called the Active Transportation Program (ATP), a program that often considers grant applications for larger dollar amounts. Under the ATP program, the State makes an initial round of awards, and then the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) recommends a second group of projects for funding. The TBTB application narrowly missed the cutoff for the initial awards. However early feedback indicates that in the second group, SCAG may recommend funding the TBTB project for an additional $9.5M, bringing the total funding for the Boulevard to $12M. A final decision regarding the ATP Grant will be announced by year end.

Below is a high-level description of possible further enhancements to the Boulevard. The proposals should be understood with the following caveats:

1. Budget: The extent of enhancements to the Boulevard will be scoped based on the available funding, (at least $2M, possibly $11.5M).

2. Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan: This document, which reflects community feedback over two years, was utilized as the basis for completing the grant applications in the areas requiring a description of proposed changes.

3. Grant Criteria: Each grant defines specific criteria that must be met in order for the request for funding to be approved. Therefore, the enhancements included in TBTB’s request for funding included those aspects of the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan that met the grant criteria. There are some aspects of the Vision Plan that are not included since they did not comply with the grant criteria. The TBTB Team will attempt, as far as possible, to include some of those goals as a subset of a larger compliant goal.

Based on the success of acquiring the Grants, at a high level the following changes may be anticipated. Many, but not all of the enhancements will be located on the stretch of Colorado between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Eagle Rock Plaza.

• Reduce pedestrian crossing distances at key intersections.
• New mid-block crossing(s).
• Improved pedestrian lighting.
• New median safety islands.
• New / improved landscaping
• New medians
• Special emphasis on routes to school.
• Existing traffic signals – improve synchronization
• New traffic signals
• New left turn pockets

The Take Back the Boulevard effort has traveled a long distance since the beginning days in 2011. It is remarkable how much is possible when Eagle Rockers roll up their sleeves, create partnerships throughout the community, and work together to make our community be all that it can be. Hopefully, TBTB’s success will encourage more in our community to get involved and make a difference.

May 16, 2015
by admin
Comments Off on Update – May, 2015

Update – May, 2015

by Bob Gotham, Chair TBTB Steering Committee

The Take Back the Boulevard Initiative (TBTB) continues to pursue funding opportunities that will allow us to carry on the efforts of making Colorado Boulevard all that it can be for our community.  Typically, funding programs are based on pre-defined types of infrastructure changes and differing scoring criteria.  Consequently, TBTB will seek funding from multiple sources.  Following is a brief history of our actions to date and our most recent efforts.
Initial TBTB meetings were held in March 2011.  For the next couple of years, numerous community meetings were conducted.  Based on stakeholder feedback from those meetings, the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan was developed.  This important document can be viewed at http://www.tera90041.org/.
Overall goals for TBTB Phase II include the following:

  • New medians between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Sierra Villa.
  • Turn pockets in new and existing medians.
  • Additional crosswalks and pedestrian refuge areas.
  • Bump outs/curb extensions, especially in the areas of bus stops.
  • Better pedestrian lighting.
  • Enhanced bus stop amenities (furniture, shade, trash cans, etc.).
  • “Way finding” signage that may include a “Welcome to Eagle Rock” monument.

The initial attempt to secure funding for some of the desired changes to the Boulevard was included in our Grant Application to the Metro Call for Projects.  Under this program, Metro will allocate as much as $200 million in discretionary federal, state and local transportation funds to improve all modes of surface transportation.  Based on Councilmember Huizar’s strong support, and the initial evaluation by an interdisciplinary team, the TBTB application scored well and in January was forwarded to Metro for further consideration.  In September, 2015 the Metro Board will select the Applications and funding to be approved.  Should TBTB’s request for $7.5 million dollars be approved, funding will not be available until 2020.  A major request in this Application is for new medians to be installed on the western segment of the Boulevard, further strengthening the Main Street feeling and bringing more overall consistency to the Boulevard throughout Eagle Rock.
The most recent opportunity to gain funding is found in the state-based ATP (Active Transportation Program).  With strong support from the Council Office and Jeff Jacobberger – Civic Enterprise, also a consultant on the initial phase, the ATP Application, due by the end of this month, is almost complete.  As previously mentioned, although there may be some overlap, the guidelines and focus of each grant opportunity should be considered unique.  Consequently, the details of our ATP Application have been developed to coincide with improvements to the Boulevard that relate to the types of transportation / infrastructure changes found in the ATP Guidelines.    According to initial informal reaction by City Staff, our Application is considered to be a strong candidate.  

The high level time-line for the ATP process is for the TBTB submission to be made by the end of this month.  A final determination regarding the success of the TBTB Application will be known by mid-December.  Following is a summary of the Colorado Boulevard ATP Grant Application.

* * * * * * *

Goals of the ATP (Active Transportation Program)


the Application (Colorado Boulevard Application for Funding)

The ATP and the Colorado Boulevard Application focus  on improving conditions for those who walk or bicycle to Eagle Rock’s major commercial, educational, recreational, governmental, cultural and religious activity centers, as well as major transit stops. One of the primary barriers to walking to destinations along the Colorado Boulevard corridor is the difficulty crossing this wide street with fast-moving traffic. Most of the project’s proposed improvements are designed to improve conditions for pedestrians crossing Colorado Boulevard.

Recommended Improvements Included in the Application

Pedestrian refuge islands provide a safe place to wait for people who cannot cross the entire width of Colorado on a single green light cycle; this includes some seniors, young children and people with mobility impairments. Curb extensions extend the sidewalk into the parking lane: they reduce the pedestrian crossing distance, make it easier for pedestrians and motorists to see each other, and reduce speeds of cars making right turns across crosswalks.

  1. Colorado/College View (north leg):  Pedestrian Refuge Island and Curb Extensions: Key considerations:  Adjacent to Colorado Terrace senior housing, where curve and slope of street reduce visibility.  The prospect of medians between Sierra Villa and El Rio can help reduce speeding by visually narrowing roadway.
  2. Additional Curb Extensions: The Application includes several curb extensions at other key intersections.
    • Eagle Rock Blvd – Key Considerations:  High pedestrian traffic, high traffic volume, considerable bus rider activity, wide crossing distances; high speed of right turns from northbound Eagle Rock to eastbound Colorado.
    • Maywood – Key Considerations:    Adjacent to Eagle Rock City Hall, a place of numerous community meetings, location of Eagle Rock Farmers Market, parking lot use by Colorado Businesses after business hours at City Hall, an important pedestrian route, especially to schools in the area.
    • Glen Iris: As part of Phase I of this project, the City installed a marked crosswalk with RRFB signals at Colorado/Glen Iris. Curb extensions will improve safety of this crosswalk at an unsignalized intersection.
    • Hermosa: – Key Considerations:  A this highly used crossing at a poorly lighted area, often used by members and patrons of the 20th Century Women’s Club. Curb extensions will improve safety of this crosswalk at an unsignalized intersection.
    • Argus: NW and SE corners – Key considerations:   Adjacent to RenArts Charter School and Alma House special-needs housing.
    • Townsend: – Key Considerations:  Adjacent to several pedestrian-oriented businesses, Trader Joe’s, high number of bus boardings, community stakeholders identified crossing Colorado Boulevard at this intersection as particularly unsafe.
    • Loleta: – Key Considerations: This location is the closest signalized crosswalk to Dahlia Heights Elementary School.
    • Merton and Eagle Rock Boulevard: – Key Considerations:  This crossing is recognized as an extremely dangerous crossing due to drivers’ limited visibility of the presence of pedestrians.
  3. Pedestrian Lighting: Some sidewalks along Colorado Boulevard are fairly dark at night, which discourages active transportation. The project includes pedestrian lighting as follows:
    • Between Sierra Villa and El Rio – Key Considerations:   Sidewalks quite dark due to absence of pedestrian oriented buildings.  The community identified this segment as the highest priority for improved lighting.  Lighting will improve pedestrian access to the Eagle Rock Plaza Shopping Center.
    • El Rio to Hermosa – Key Considerations:  This area represents the most pedestrian-oriented commercial core of Eagle Rock.  In addition to numerous businesses it contains  a concentration of civic, educational and cultural activity centers.
  4. Improved Bus Stop Lighting:  Lighting improvements at the 16 busiest Colorado Boulevard bus stops located in the areas of Broadway, Sierra Villa, Eagle Rock Boulevard, Townsend, Argus, and Ellenwood are included in the Application.
  5. Street Furniture:  Street furniture will be included, particularly benches and trash cans. The benches will especially benefit senior citizens, who need more places to rest. The need for benches was a high priority during our outreach, particularly by the Solheim Lutheran Home and Colorado Terrace senior housing facilities.  Additional street furniture will encourage more pedestrian activity.
  6. Bicycle Improvements: 
These improvements are targeted at the least-comfortable segments of the new bike lanes. Because bicyclists’ willingness to ride is often determined by the least comfortable segment of their ride, these improvements can be expected to promote bicycling.
    • Colorado/Broadway: The westbound bike lanes end between Sierra Villa and Broadway, and those riding west on Colorado must merge across two lanes of traffic and share a travel lane with cars. The Application  includes a protected waiting area, or “bike box,” to enable bicyclists to cross Broadway at the existing crosswalk.
    • Adjacent to the 134 Freeway Ramps:
      • Cycle track, or protected bike lanes, on the south side of Colorado
      • Widen north side adjacent to ramp to provide room for buffered bike lane
    • Throughout Eagle Rock: Green    painted lanes at “conflict zones” where many motor vehicles make turning movements across bike lanes, e.g., at Eagle Rock Blvd, at Trader Joe’s, at 134 off-ramp.
    • Bike box at Eagle Vista, to make it easier for cyclists to ride to Eagle Rock Recreation Center.

January 1, 2015
by admin
Comments Off on Phase II Moving Forward

Phase II Moving Forward

Take Back the Boulevard has moved one step closer toward securing funding to continue making Colorado Boulevard all that it can be for our community. On December 16, the Los Angeles City Council directed the Department of Transportation to prepare and submit a multi-million dollar application under Metro’s Call for Projects program.

TBTB efforts kicked off in March, 2011. Between then and now, numerous community meetings were conducted, the results of which were documented in the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan. This plan can be viewed at http://www.tera90041.org/colorado_blvd_vision_plan.aspx.

Many of the improvements detailed in the Vision Plan have been implemented, but there are still numerous improvements that remain outstanding. Outstanding goals are located primarily but not exclusively along the western segment (Eagle Rock Boulevard to Sierra Villa). Goals for Phase II of TBTB include the following:

  • New medians between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Sierra Villa.
  • Turn pockets in new and existing medians.
  • Additional crosswalks and pedestrian refuge areas.
  • Bump outs/curb extensions, especially in the areas of bus stops.
  • Better pedestrian lighting.
  • Enhanced bus stop amenities (furniture, shade, trash cans, etc.).
  • “Way finding” signage that may include a “Welcome to Eagle Rock” monument.

Acquiring funding to address outstanding Boulevard improvements is TBTB’s primary goal at this time. Once every two years, there is an opportunity to apply for funding through a program known as the “Metro Call for Projects.” Under this program, Metro will allocate as much as $200 million in discretionary federal, state and local transportation funds to improve all modes of surface transportation. Recently, the TBTB Team, in cooperation with the Office of Councilmember José Huizar, nominated this project for inclusion among the City’s funding applications. Applications from across the City were evaluated by an interdisciplinary team including representatives of the Mayor, the City Council, LADOT, Public Works, and other City departments and agencies. ….. Based upon the scoring criteria, the TBTB application scored very well. The city task force stated that the Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan, developed in the initial phase of TBTB, was a crucial element in the strong scoring of the application. Especially important was that the document depicted extensive community outreach and feedback in developing the overall vision for the Boulevard.

The City will submit the TBTB application to Metro at the end of January 2015.

From February to August Metro will follow a process for all submissions that includes ranking and scoring the requests. Metro’s Technical Advisory Committee and the Metro Board of Directors review the strongest applications. In September, the Metro Board finalizes the funding to be approved and forwards formal funding requests to the appropriate state and regional transportation funding agencies. Should TBTB’s request for $7.5 million dollars prevail and be approved, funding will not be available until 2020.

Additional opportunities for funding applications are available in the spring of 2015. Especially promising may be the “ATP” (Active Transportation Program) for which the TBTB goals would be appropriate. The TBTB team will continue to seek funding opportunities wherever they may be found. Once funding is acquired, additional community meetings will be held to finalize the changes to the Boulevard at the most detailed level. Stay tuned as TBTB moves forward in efforts to optimize the contributions that our Main Street, Colorado Boulevard, makes to the community. Periodic updates to the Initiative may be found at TakeBacktheBlvd.org.

November 13, 2014
by admin
Comments Off on Take Back the Boulevard Update – November 9, 2014

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
by admin
Comments Off on Take Back the Boulevard Update – April 7, 2014

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
by admin
Comments Off on Take Back the Boulevard Update – March 5, 2014

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
by admin
Comments Off on Colorado Boulevard Vision Plan Introduction – September 29, 2013

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.