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East L.A. bike improvements shifting into high gear

Some of the bike- and pedestrian-improvement projects underway

By NESTOR CASTIGLIONE

EAST LOS ANGELES — Unlike the neighboring City of Los Angeles, bike lanes, routes and markings remain pretty rare in unincorporated East L.A. But cyclists take heart: numerous bike — as well as pedestrian-friendly improvements– are in the works.

The Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Works is breaking ground this month on a project along 6th and Hubbard streets to calm and slow down motor vehicle traffic and increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians. This and future projects will make use of dedicated bike lanes, shared bike routes, bulb-out intersections, traffic circles and those controversial road diets.

In addition to changes on 6th Street, there will be more bike and pedestrian-friendly changes on 1st Street, Ford Boulevard, Mednik Avenue,  Rowan Avenue and other streets. An East LA. bike share system is also expected to be rolled out in the fall of next year.

The goal is to improve connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists making their way to neighborhood schools, Gold Line stations and surrounding cities, said Precious Crosby, Project Manager for Public Works in East Los Angeles.

The safety enhancements also assist the young and vulnerable and come after residents had expressed concerns about traffic, she said. The $1.5 million project along 6th Street is part of the federal “Safer Routes to School” program, which provides funding to states for pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements near campuses.

“There were reports of children having been hit in the area in the past,” Crosby said. “So once we secured the funding for this project in October 2015 and went through the federal process, we got to work.”

Other planned improvements are funded through programs intended to improve connections to Gold Line Stations.

Here’s a rundown of some of the projects:

New Bike Lanes, Routes and Boulevards:

  • 1st Street
  • Ford Bl (3rd St to Olympic Bl) – 1.0 miles
  • Woods Av (1st St to Olympic Bl) – 1.48 miles
  • Rowan Av (Floral Dr to Whittier Bl) – 1.35 miles
  • Mednik/Arizona Av (Floral Dr to Telegraph Rd) – 2.1 miles

Road Diet (traffic lanes reduced from 2 to 1 in each direction)

  • Mednik Av (Floral Dr to 1st St) – 0.5 miles

Traffic Circles

  • 3 on Woods Av, 3 on Rowan Ave

Bulb-Out Intersections (sidewalk is extended into street corners to improve pedestrian safety)

  • 2 on Woods Av, 3 on Rowan Ave

Traffic Diverters

  • Both on Woods Ave

New Traffic Signal

  • Whittier Bl and Woods Ave

Work on some of these projects will take place at different times through 2019.

Néstor Castiglione is a journalist born and raised in Los Angeles who also writes and lectures on classical music and the popular music of Japan, 1925 – 1945.

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