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Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

$20 million Figueroa Corridor project to make busy roadway more pedestrian, cyclist friendly

A rendering of the intersection at Figueroa and 11th streets. These new bike lanes will be the first of their kind in L.A.
A rendering of the intersection at Figueroa and 11th streets. These new bike lanes will be the first of their kind in L.A.

The Figueroa Corridor Streetscape project, or MyFigueroa, aims to transform miles of heavily trafficked roadway into more pedestrian, cyclist and public transit friendly streets. One of the central goals is to connect downtown L.A. to South L.A.—and highlight landmarks and popular stops along the way.

Four miles will be affected by the $20 million, grant-funded Figueroa project. In addition to a long stretch of Figueroa Street, the project calls for fixes to 11th Street between Figueroa and Broadway and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Figueroa to Vermont Avenue.

The project will include new trees, public art, improved bus platforms and sidewalk repairs, making the trip from DTLA's L.A. Live or the Convention Center to Exposition Park's Coliseum or Natural History Museum a much more picturesque commute. 

A major part of the plan includes a new bike path that will cross 27 intersections and help riders connect to existing bike lanes in South L.A., as well as to bus and rail lines throughout the city. It's expected to help "expand the City’s bicycle network" and implement L.A.'s Bicycle Master Plan.

The new lanes won't be run-of-the-mill bike paths. They'll be the City's first "cycle tracks" that help protect riders and pedestrians from fast-moving traffic. These tracks put the bike lane next to the curb where the parking lane is typically found. Parking spaces will be moved to the left in between the bike lane and the first lane of traffic.

According to the Figueroa 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."

Improvements specific to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd include pavement repairs, increased lighting, more trees and improved waiting areas at bus stops. 

The project was funded in 2010 with a $20 million Proposition 1C grant, intended to make streets and sidewalks more accessible to residents of affordable housing. After the CRA/LA dissolved in 2011, the project was transitioned over to the Los Angeles Department Of Transportation (LADOT).

Under the conditions of the grant, construction must be completed by the end of 2014 so the project is expected to be finished by December of next year. Updated designs for the new Figueroa Corridor  project will be presented at a community meeting on April 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Andrew Norman Hall Orthopaedic Hospital.

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