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Refined Broadway Streetscape Plan Ready for Public Debut

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, November 23, 2009, at 11:09AM
Broadway Streetscape Design Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A rendering from the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan shows the roadway reduced to three lanes, with curb bump-outs, street trees, loading and parking space and a granite band design motif that runs along the street.

As they move forward on efforts to revitalize what was once Los Angeles' shopping and entertainment hub, Broadway planners are proposing something very un-L.A. -- taking lanes away from cars.

On Tuesday evening, the public will get the chance to comment on a Streetscape Master Plan that includes the removal of three traffic lanes, new space for parking and loading, a wider sidewalk and a unified motif for paving and fixtures.

Those who saw the very early plans presented by Melendrez in February will find the refined work to be much more toned down. Colorful paving flourishes have given way to a more stately design of granite and concrete, intended to allow the theatres and the existing stretches of colorful terrazzo to stand out.

The street itself would be reduced from three lanes in each direction to one lane traveling south and two going north. Sidewalk bump-outs at the corners and mid-block would frame new space for parking and loading on both sides of the street.

The western sidewalk would be widened eight feet, allowing a southbound streetcar track to run far enough toward the center of the street to clear existing utilities below.

Designs on tree grates and transit shelters would take their inspiration from the look of Broadway's original streetlights, replicas of which would be installed at half the spacing of the currently existing lights. Street trees would make an appearance, with a focus on vertical species that would not block views of the theaters. Planters in the bump-outs would provide stormwater filtration and greenery.

While the design is still being tweaked, traffic studies done for the project say that the lane configuration is doable, and both LADOT and Metro are said to be on-board.

Don't expect to see these changes any time soon, though. Environmental studies are likely to be done as part of the streetcar project, and installation would come in 2014. A demonstration project, using planters and paint to simulate the traffic changes, could take place in 2012 or 2013.

Both the streetscape plan and the streetcar are part of the Bringing Back Broadway effort being led by Councilman Jose Huizar's office.

A public presentation on the streetscape plan will take place on Tuesday, November 24, at The Exchange (114 W. 5th). Open house format from 5:30 to 7:30pm, with a presentation at 6:30pm.


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