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Four miles of Figueroa Corridor to become more pedestrian, cyclist friendly

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at 10:15AM
via MyFigueroa

A rendering of what will be the new intersection of 11th and Hope streets in downtown L.A.

The Figueroa Corridor project, or MyFigueroa, aims to transform miles of heavily trafficked roadway into more pedestrian, cyclist and public transit-friendly streets.

This $20 million project connects Downtown to South L.A. and is intended to make Figueroa, as well as a few streets that intersect it, "complete streets"; meaning everyone — not just cars — has easy and safe access to the street.

Advocates of the project liken the changes on Figueroa to advancements made in other city centers including Long Beach, San Francisco and Portland, which have worked to better balance the needs of pedestrians and motorists.

The Figueroa project will include new trees, bus platforms, continental crosswalks, public art and sidewalk repairs. A major part of the plan includes a new bike path that will cross 27 intersections and help riders connect to bike lanes in South L.A., as well as to bus and rail lines throughout the city.

And these won't be typical painted bike lanes — they will be the city's first "cycle tracks" that help protect riders and pedestrians from fast moving traffic. These tracks are created by placing the bike lane along the curb where the parking lane is typically found, and then relocating parking spaces to the area between the bike lane and the first lane of traffic.

According to the project's website: "In the cycle track solution, the pedestrian on the sidewalk is further buffered from moving traffic by slower moving cyclists along the curb, who are protected by on-street parking and transit platforms for boarding buses as well as the coming-soon streetcar service on Figueroa north of 11th Street."

Along 11th Street from Broadway to Figueroa, the existing two car lanes will be reduced to one lane to make room for a bike path as well as widened sidewalks, dotted with seating and plants.

The Figueroa project is being overseen by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and was funded in 2010 by a Proposition 1C grant. The grant requires construction on the project to be finished by the end of 2014, so that is the estimated completion date.

The team behind the project includes urban planners and designers, consultants, engineers and outreach groups.

Updated designs for the new Figueroa Corridor will be presented at a community meeting on April 9 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Andrew Norman Hall Orthopaedic Hospital.

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