Northeast Los Angeles Placemaking Competition: Transportation Infrastructure
Project submitted by Anupama Mann
Project designed for entire NELA area
Project Summary and Scale
The strategy is neighborhood or NELA-wide and proposes a non-motorized transport plan -- bike, pedestrian, and other modes, that connect to public transit.
Why are you committed to this project?
We feel a reclaimed Los Angeles River provides an opportunity to return this geographic feature to the city as a scenic right, and to its adjacent neighborhoods. Providing easy access through transport infrastructure for non-polluting modes like walking and cycling is essential while maintaining the natural beauty of the riverside.
What are the most relevant characteristics of project site and scale?
Currently the NELA District is a transport heavy stretch with a good mix of different modes- rail, bus and private vehicles. These include the Metrolink line, Metro Rapid, and the L.A. River Bike Path. These are intersected at various points by other rail and rapid lines. However, the main bike path crossing the river is at Los Feliz Boulevard. On the east side is a short stretch of pedestrian/bike path going south from Fletcher Drive.
Describe how this project will reinforce a sense of place or enhance the built environment.
In order for NELA to be a riverside district, it is important to make strong connections between the two banks of the River and to the neighborhoods that lie on either side, integrate different modes to enhance the public transport system and encourage non-motorized traffic. There is potential of providing bike/pedestrian paths to connect these five neighborhoods in loops with crossovers at various points. These will then continue into the adjacent neighborhoods and beyond. The built environment will be enhanced through sustainable strategies -- pedestrian/bike paths of porous material to absorb ground water, bike share stations with solar panels, drought-resistant vegetation.
Provide a description of the project's necessary planning activities.
For the pedestrian/bike paths, implementation will require traffic studies, traffic calming measures, demarcation of bike lanes, improvement of sidewalks and lighting and in some strategic locations, provision of streetside parklets and benches. Interior and residential roads can get signages marking NELA RC as a NMT (non-motorized transport) district. Bike sharing facilities can be provided at various Metrolink and Metro Rapid stations. It will require cooperation among various transit, planning and public works agencies to implement a smooth flowing transit plan. It will also require a NELA RC transit authority to oversee the implementation and maintenance of the NMT district.
What is a rough estimate of your project budget?
At the moment it would be difficult to estimate the budget for the project. An approximate $50,000 would be required to research and give a proposal for the study area.
How does this project leverage existing resources and efforts?
The proposed Taylord Yard pedestrian/bike Bridge will soon connect the southern ends of Cypress Park and Elysian Valley. Most of the suggested bike and pedestrian paths have been proposed previously in various plans- the LA 2001 Bike Plan, LA 2010 Bike Plan, Metro Plan. The 2010 L.A. City Bicycle Plan shows Riverside Drive also has a proposed backbone bike lane along it that crosses over to the north at Figueroa Street. Backbone bike paths are proposed along all the above river crossings and there are existing/proposed bike crossings at Los Feliz and Colorado. A backbone bike path is also proposed on San Fernando Road connecting Atwater Village, Cypress Park and Glassell Park. The plan for a bike/pedestrian Bridge between Elysian Valley and Cypress Park is in the works. A recent study by Nathan Yau shows that the L.A. river and Elysian valley areas the most popular areas for running.
What community need is your project serving?
Connecting the two sides of the river through pedestrian and bike baths will help tie together the communities currently separated by the river and strengthen the integrity of the NELA Riverside District. By encouraging walking and cycling, it will help create a greener, cleaner environment that will have a positive health impact on the district. It will make the district more pedestrian friendly and lead to the realization of a safer district.
If your project is realized, what does success look like?
A district causing the impulse to stop, step out and walk, to hold hands, push a stroller, pedal slowly along a road that changes shape, with families enjoying their front lawns, coffee shops and restaurants, bridges that afford sweeping vistas of the newly rejuvenated Los Angeles River, paths that allow a close inspection of the riverside and big sheds displaying art, holding farmers markets and performances, till you enter again through a quiet stretch with just the sound of flowing water and the occasional cry of a water bird and soon come full circle, rejuvenated much like the river.