A plan by the Mid-City West Community Council (MCWCC) to designate routes on residential streets that are more accommodating to cyclists is gaining momentum.
The project, known as the “Bicycle Friendly Streets Plan”, is one of 15 projects the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is considering for funding. The Metro Board of Directors will likely vote in September on whether to approve $2.1 million in funding for the project. The 15 projects are ranked by Metro staff based on merit – with the MCWCC plan ranked in 7th place – which has generated optimism among the plan’s chief architect, MCWCC chair Scott Epstein.
“We think it’s highly likely that it will be approved,” Epstein said. “It still has to go before the Metro board and we don’t have a date yet, but I think it will be approved.”
The plan took shape three years ago when Epstein was a member of the MCWCC’s transportation committee. He envisioned designating residential streets and bicycle corridors, and having traffic-calming fixtures such as crossing beacons, roundabouts, signage and special painted areas known as “bike boxes” for bicycles to wait at intersections along the routes.
Epstein selected Rosewood Avenue from La Cienega Boulevard to La Brea Avenue as a potential east-west route, and Formosa Street/Alta Vista Avenue from Romaine Street to 3rd Street as a north-south route.
He worked with staff from the office of Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, and representatives of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles Department of City Planning to create the plan that was submitted to Metro.
“It’s a great idea and I certainly support it as a way to make cycling safer in the community,” Koretz said. “Hopefully it moves forward as quickly as possible.”
If the Metro Board approves the project, the city would provide an additional $400,000. The MCWCC plan coincides with the city’s overall goal of making streets more bicycle-friendly, said David Sommers, a city planning assistant with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning.
The Los Angeles City Council approved the Mobility Plan 2035 on Tuesday, a policy that will serve as a guide for creating bike lanes and other amenities on major streets citywide.
The MCWCC plan coincides with the citywide mobility plan, which identifies streets that could be designated for cycling on residential streets and major corridors. Epstein said he hopes the plan will serve as a model moving forward, and perhaps the north-south route could be expanded farther south under the citywide mobility plan.
The citywide plan has generated some controversy over streets that are designated as bicycle corridors. Estevan Montemayor, a deputy to Councilman David Ryu, 4th District, said the councilman introduced a motion on Tuesday to exclude portions of Melrose Avenue and Lankershim Boulevard. Koretz introduced a motion to exclude Westwood Boulevard from the mobility plan. The councilmen are concerned about traffic congestion and restrictions to emergency access along the routes.
A Ryu motion stipulating that access for emergency vehicles be considered when major streets are evaluated for mobility plan changes was approved Tuesday by the council and included in the citywide plan. The motions to exclude specific streets will next be considered in council committees, and if ultimately approved by the council, the mobility plan would be ratified.
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