Thanks to LA’s most progressive and responsive council member, José Huizar, we’re getting some actual commerce- and community-friendly streetscape changes in CD14.
The York Boulevard road diet, with its attendant bike lanes, is a grand success—at least, if you count the disappearance of empty storefronts, the refurbishment of existing establishments, and the crowding of sidewalks with shoppers and eaters to be a success. Some terminally crabby souls are still complaining about alleged “traffic jams” that seem to be so camera-shy that no one can photograph them, but those of us who live in the real world are mighty glad that York isn’t the gray and shabby speedway of the recent past.
Now it’s Broadway’s turn: in the heart of Downtown, but still in CD 14, the city’s old theater district is getting a makeover, starting with a road diet for its iconic boulevard. But not your everyday road diet: this one focusses on pedestrian space, in a district where sidewalks are jammed from early morning to the wee hours.
The four lanes of the old Broadway are now three, with one of them the essential two-way left-turn lane, but instead of bike lanes flanking them, we have, for much of the street, extended parklets! The travel lanes are sharrowed, inviting bicyclists to ride them and discouraging motorist bullying, and pedestrian plazas have been added, complete with planters, tables and chairs, umbrellas, and plenty of added bike racks. You can see some of this in the photo, taken in front of Grand Central Market.
In blocks that are more commercial than retail, painted loading zones keep trucks out of everyone’s way, facilitating both industry and mobility. But it’s the people-first bits of street that are the most interesting—and the most vibrant, in both the social and the economic sense. Grand Central Market is booming, as are independent stores and eateries all up and down the street, as folks crowd in to enjoy the park-like ambience of LA’s busiest blocks.
It’s a great project, and there are plenty of changes still to come. You can read about it all at the “Bringing Back Broadway” website….
Mr. Huizar deserves our thanks for pushing the envelope, because on LA’s Broadway…you’re the star!