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Monday, April 14, 2014

A new angle on Figueroa Street parking


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When it comes to attracting new businesses and buzz, Figueroa Street in Highland Park has been upstaged by York Boulevard, where new shops and cafes seem to open every week.  What can be done to give Figueroa and other lagging Highland Park streets a boost?  How about angled street parking?  That was the idea proposed by City Council District 1 candidate Jose Gardea during a  forum held earlier this week at Franklin High. Gardea, who also supports adding bike lanes to the historic street, said adding angled or diagonal street parking on a yet-to-be determined section of Figueroa would likely slow down traffic but would also make it easier to patronize local businesses. “I want it to be a destination boulevard–not a drive thru boulevard,” Gardea said during the forum.

But  not everyone, including motorists and adjacent cities, might like the idea of angled parking and a slower-moving Figueroa.

Gardea said he does not know if diagonal parking would mean eliminating traffic lanes on Figueroa, a major north-south thoroughfare. “That would be a question for the engineers to look at,” said Gardea, 44, who currently serves as Chief of Staff for current First District Councilman, Ed Reyes, who is termed out of office.

Angled parking, which can be found along Brand Boulevard in Glendale and Larchmont Avenue in Larchmont, can boost the supply of  parking spaces but has also raised concern about the safety of cars backing up in to traffic. Despite reservations, the addition of angled parking has been among the ideas proposed for stretches of Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake and Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, where some have advocated for “reverse angled parking” in which vehicles back into the parking spaces.

Gardea, who appeared at the forum along with candidates Gil Cedillo, William Morrison and Jesse Rosas, warned that his proposal would likely be challenged by neighboring Pasadena and South Pasadena over concerns that slowing traffic on Figueroa would increase congestion in their communities.  “In fact they are going to  try and sue us. We will have to fight back,” said Gardea at the forum, sponsored by the Highland Park Neighborhood Council and Highland Park Heritage Trust.

“The objective is to really make Figueroa less of a drive-through [corridor] and much more of a local destination street,” Gardea said in an interview following the forum. “It’s an opportunity to support local business.”

19 comments

  1. This will not work, angled parking means reducing the street to one lane in addition to the bike lanes. Way too dangerous in such a busy street…

    • You’re assuming it would remain as busy or “a drive-through [corridor]“.

    • Might calm traffic and create more of a walking environment too… why should those passing through be prioritized over those living and spending money in the neighborhood?

      There’s already a freeway and a light rail line paralleling much of the corridor, for commuters to use.

  2. York Blvd. doesn’t have angled parking, but it does have a bike lane…

  3. Jose Gardea sounds like an idiot. Giving Figueroa a road diet is a really stupid idea.

    • Thanks for contributing with your highly valuable and constructive opinion.

    • Disagree! Fig is a great place for a road diet. Put the bike lane next to the side walk and have it be protected by the angled parking. Traffic will be nice and slow and watch as that neighborhood explodes with stuff going on.

  4. Keep up the good work Jose – and don’t be dissuaded by blog commenters who think it’s cool/clever to throw out insults. Had internet blogs been around when some Pasadena locals envisioned something better for the then downtrodden Old Town Colorado Blvd they would also have had names thrown at them. Figueroa is a vibrant street with a lot of potential as is Highland Park.

  5. Larchmont shopping district has angled parking. I don’t know about the bike lane.

  6. Bike lanes are coming to Figueroa this year, according to the just-released draft EIR on the bike plan. Changing parking configuration should be done in concert with that – perhaps the candidate should talk to the people in ladot who are working right now.

    Also, I believe this diagonal parking exists also on Heliotrope by lacc.

  7. If angled parking is to be, then synchronize the street lights. As it is with two-lanes each way, Fig is so slow and congested as the lights are NOT synchronized….which leads to stop and go traffic. If we reduce Fig to one-lane each way & the lights are synchronized, then the traffic will flow in each direction.

    Whether people want Fig to be a local street or a commuter street or a bicycle through-way, it is only going to get more and more crowded with cars, so we do need to address traffic congestion.

    Another way to improve Fig is to remove all of the terrible & tacky stucco and plastic signs and bring out the original brick & cement details on the charming buildings.

    Maintain the current trees and plant new trees along the boulevard.

    Fig has the potential to be a thriving commercial area with foot traffic supporting local & independent business.
    GO FIG! GO HIGHLAND PARK!

  8. Especially heading Northbound away from the business district, there is no effective way to change the lights synchronization and improve flow because of the bottleneck created by the metro train near Avenue 61. That is on a unpredictable schedule and takes 1-3 minutes per crossing.

  9. Seems like Highland Park is going backwards instead of forward. Lets all go back to the 19th century. Lets all dump our cars and go back to bikes. We can even brink back the horses and buggy’s. Since we can’t go too far to work, we’ll start hunting and slaughtering our own food. Great Idea.

  10. Funny, the Dutch and the Japanese cycle much more than us in LA, yet they don’t seem backwards.

    The only backwards thing I see here is you unwilling to face the reality that we can’t solve our transportation problems using the automobile- the most inefficient mode of transportation we have. If we assume a rising population, the automobile will only cause more problems if we leave it to be our only viable means of transport.

    Given the density and character of North Figueroa (remember the historic streetcar line?) making cycling a viable option doesn’t seem to crazy to accommodate local traffic.

  11. Really? If Fig is not a drive-through corridor, what will replace it? What other street in HLP runs all the way north/south from Colorado to Elysian Park. NONE. Fig is the ONLY way to get downtown, to Silverlake/Echo Park, to Pasadena … The only other alternative is the 110. LOL

    All of these proposed changes on Fig are going to be disasterous. Traffic will not just be slowed a little. It will be glacial. Between bike lanes, cars backing into traffic, all the buses, and one lane? I drive this street every day, and every day there’s some guy in a truck going 18 mph with everyone passing him, trying to get to work or take their kids to school on time, not speeding, just driving the speed limit! With one lane and angled parking? I can’t even envision the gridlock. It will be the 110 writ small.

  12. The underlying assumption in this comment is just so totally wrong. Do you think that everyone driving on Fig is from out of the neighborhood? Do you think there are other alternatives? See my comment above. The 110 is a parking lot, virtually undrivable most of the time. The Gold Line goes to Union Station, I’d have to then take the Red Line to work, and moreover, I genuinely need my car for work most days. Also, with the new “transit village” being built by the Gold Line, all commuter parking will be eliminated. Bottom line – I’m not “passing through” when I drive on Figueroa. I’m going home to my house in HLP.

  13. Having lived in Japan, I can tell you for sure that the reason bikes are so popular is because there is a massive, cheap and incredibly effective public transportation system. People do NOT depend on their bikes to go everywhere – the ride them between buses, subways, light rail, trains, etc. We don’t have that in L.A. Not even close. I rode a bike in Kyoto to get to work (to/from the train station); it was easy. Here – impossible.

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