Progress on My Figueroa: Institutions Drop Opposition to Protected Bikeways on FigueroaMarch 26, 2014 at 5:00 am | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 4 Comments
Tags: Campaigns, My Figueroa
A groundswell of support for the My Figueroa complete streets project was on display at the Los Angeles City Council PLUM Committee yesterday. All four neighborhood councils that touch the project have voted to support the project and urged the City to begin construction as soon as possible. Thanks to those who attended, wrote in and tweeted their support for moving ahead with the project as designed, a major obstacle has been cleared: the Figueroa/Flower couplet “alternative” is dead. Representatives from USC, the Shammas Auto Group and others voiced their intent to work with city staff to resolve all remaining issues and move the project forward on Figueroa.
How did we get here?
When Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled his Great Streets Initiative last October, it was in front of a rendering of the My Figueroa project. Earlier this year, he voiced his support at an event at Occidental College and two of his deputy mayors reiterated his position at an Urban Land Institute event. So when the project ran into trouble in the past few months, his staff started working diligently behind the scenes to keep this project moving. Those efforts bore fruit last Friday when his staff worked with Councilmember Curren Price’s office to host a meeting with stakeholders representing all sides and gain consensus on a path forward.
What happened at PLUM?
At yesterday’s hearing, project supporters showed up in force. Well over 60 people packed the room representing all of Los Angeles’s diversity: elementary students from Alexander Science Center School to grad students from across the street at USC, South LA families to downtown loft-dwelling millennials. So many people filled out speaker cards that committee member Mitch Englander polled the audience to allow people to raise their hands in support of the project and save their 60-seconds of public comment to keep the meeting moving. Commenters cited the project’s economic, health, safety and environmental benefits and urged the committee to move forward without delay.
The committee voted to receive and file the staff report and gave the following direction to staff:
- Report back on the project’s expected impact on traffic delays using more realistic assumptions than the conservative projections in the environmental impact report.
- Develop an education and marketing campaign to promote the project and businesses along the Figueroa corridor.
- Convene technical working groups to address remaining access and driveway concerns, including concerns about film permit restrictions during rush hour.
- Convene a technical committee to evaluate traffic plans for special events.
- Convene a technical committee to advise the before and after project evaluation.
What is next for My Figueroa?
The committee instructed staff to report back in three weeks on the progress they’ve made in resolving the remaining stakeholder concerns. We expect the project to come back to PLUM on Tuesday, April 15th at 2:30 PM.
Still to be addressed is the pending CEQA appeal by the Shammas Auto Group. If they are genuine in their recent position that the project should move forward, we expect this appeal to be withdrawn in the next three weeks. If not, it will likely be on the agenda at the PLUM meeting on April 15th so that the committee can dispense with it.
We are optimistic that My Figueroa is close to approval and anticipate that Shammas, the museums and other stakeholders along the corridor will continue to work with city staff on their remaining concerns. With this project, Los Angeles will join cities across the country in building protected bikeways that give community members of all ages and abilities the ability to ride in safety and comfort.
Special thanks to our partners TRUST South LA, Community Health Councils, Los Angeles Walks, the USC Bicycle Coalition and the many, many individuals that generated incredible grassroots support for this project. Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors Michael MacDonald and Bruce Chan went the extra mile to engage with neighborhood councils in the project area, while Melanie Freeland and others enlisted support of major employers along the Figueroa corridor. The success of My Figueroa continues to be a team effort by all who envision a new mobility paradigm in Los Angeles.